Hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving yesterday. I know I’ll be recovering from that for weeks…and by the time I do, it’ll be time for another enormous holiday feast. So yeah, I’m pretty much doomed until after the New Year.

While everyone was busy gearing up for the holiday this week, you might think it’s been a slow week in the PPC news stream, but slow it was not. Remember, PPC never sleeps, so the news must go on. Plenty of fun and informative tidbits to share with you this week.

If there’s one key takeaway to be garnered from the PPC news flow this week, it’s that mobile advertising is a must to capture holiday shoppers this year. The data is pretty clear that more people are using mobile devices to shop than ever. If you aren’t already catering to the growing mobile audience with your campaigns, it’s not too late. It might be Black Friday, but there are two days left before Cyber Monday so there’s still time to make some tweaks to your campaigns and capture the growing flock of mobile shoppers.

Several articles in this week’s roundup will offer compelling evidence that supports this claim, as well as tips and advice for getting the most out of the mobile audience. Since there’s no time to waste, let’s get to it.

 

Let’s see what’s new and exciting from Google…

Mobile continues its quest for world domination, as more consumers will be doing some or all of their holiday shopping on their mobile devices this year than ever before. It’s not just the holiday season that makes people want to shop using their devices; in fact, Google is seeing a 3.5X increase year-over-year in mobile shopping searches conducted on smartphones, overall.  And, Google is currently sending more consumers to retailers’ websites every week than it was during the peak of the holiday shopping season in 2013. That’s some pretty substantial growth.

Natch, Google wants to create the richest, most engaging experience possible, so they’re doing a few things to make it easier for shoppers to find the information they need to make informed buying decisions:

  • Expandable product cards with rich product content, like reviews and product details, now show when consumers search for a specific product.
  • Local inventory ads are coming to searches conducted via tablets for holiday-shopping procrastinators who wait until the very last second (like Christmas Eve) to make purchases. In other words, you’ll be able to find out which store closest to you has the necklace your wife has been wanting (on any device), so you can stay out of the dog house. Who knew Google was getting into the business of saving marriages? For advertisers, this means you can promote your products to local shoppers even after holiday cutoffs have passed.
  • Shopping online is getting more visual with better image experiences for consumers. Now, shoppers can view product images from multiple sources and explore images from multiple angles for select products, resulting in an experience that’s the next best thing to actually holding a product in your hands.

To get the most out of your holiday shopping PPC campaigns, Google suggests making use of Auction Insights. And, this post covers some new insights now available in Shopping campaigns. For the full details on Google’s new-and-improved mobile shopping experience, check out this post on the AdWords Blog.

Well, now that the holiday shopping season is in full swing and most (hopefully, ahem, ALL) PPC advertisers have kicked their paid advertising campaigns into high gear, it’s time to start thinking beyond the end of the year and into 2015. Crazy, right? Literally, it’s going to be 2015 in, like, the blink of an eye. So in order to help advertisers launch into 2015 like a freight train, Google is hosting a webinar with a look back at new advertising features launched within the past year and insights and tips on best practices moving into 2015 and beyond. It’s on December 10th at 3:30 Eastern Time, so be sure to check it out. Details and sign-up info here.

A couple of intriguing posts over at Think with Google are worth checking out. First, this piece talks about the importance of location in marketing as four in five people now use search to find local information. But this post, perfectly suited for Black Friday, offers some data on the ever-increasing tribe of consumers who are shopping directly from their mobile devices, as well as some insights on the must-have items for this year. If search queries are any indication, it seems that there are a few interesting products topping the hot-item list for 2014:

  • Ouija boards (Searches up 300% since October, when the movie Ouija hit theaters. But kind of creepy for a Christmas gift, don’t you think?)
  • Game consoles, tablets, and mobile health tech like the Fitbit (Time to start thinking about burning off that pie…)
  • Barbie Dream House and My Little Pony (Gifts are going retro in 2014, it seems.)
  • “Hunter boots,” “Canada goose jackets,” and “jogger pants” (Trying desperately to come up with something snarky to say here, but I just can’t. I’m at a loss on this one – now that’s something that doesn’t happen too often.)

Check out the full post for more interesting search insights from the gear-up to the holiday shopping season.

 

And checking in with Bing…

It’s Black Friday, so we’re smack-dab in the middle of what often amounts to the most profitable week for many retailers out of the whole year. Most definitely, this marks the beginning of the month in which many retailers finally move from the red to the black, just in time. Bing did a little data analysis and came up with some intriguing visualizations illustrating some interesting facts about Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. For instance:

  • Half of the top shopping days occur in the same week. (And as many fall near the end of the month, advertisers should be sure to allocate advertising budgets accordingly so there’s ample spend left to accommodate these high-traffic days.)
  • Online sales on Thanksgiving grew 20% from 2012 to 2013.
  • Likewise, online sales on Black Friday grew 19% from 2012 to 2013.
  • Cyber Monday? Grew 21%. And sales peak later in the evening on this day, so, again, budget accordingly.

Check out Bing’s post for all the details, and be sure to scroll all the way to the end to watch the video from Bing Evangelist, John Gagnon, who offers some tips for making the most of the holiday shopping frenzy. For even more data and insights, you can check out the full presentation on SlideShare.

Bing is pushing the Broad Match option with some “comic relief” offering an example of an advertiser who ends up saving time, getting more exposure, more clicks, and a lower CPC by using the Broad Match modifiers option in the Opportunities tab. Check it out.

 

What’s the Word from the Web?

There’s no procrastinating any longer; you can no longer deny that the holiday season is rapidly approaching. In fact, it’s not approaching, it’s here. That means killer deals, packed retail stores, and boatloads of traffic crashing your servers in a rush to snag a fantastic deal before a must-have item sells out. In order to generate said boatload of traffic, you need a killer holiday ad campaign. PPCHero sets out to help you achieve just that with these tips on using and testing holiday ads for maximum results.

Here’s a fantastic tutorial on finding keywords with hidden value in AdWords, also from PPCHero.

This post from 3Q Digital addresses the Exact Match/Close Variant situation, reveals how it’s impacted some of 3Q’s campaigns, and strategies for addressing it to maximize your ad spend.

Robert Brady reflects on a presentation from Marcus Sheridan (@TheSalesLion on Twitter) on content marketing, in which he revealed the top five things people are looking for online:

  1. Cost
  2. Problems
  3. Versus
  4. Reviews
  5. Best

Brady’s analysis, which you can find over at the Clix Marketing blog, spins these five triggers from the perspective of PPC, with insights on how each can be used as an ad trigger to boost results. Great stuff.

Keeping your Shopping campaigns up-to-date during these busy holiday shopping weeks is no simple feat, but RKG has some tips on using Google’s automatic item update tool to keep your Shopping campaigns accurate. Read it here.

I know I’ve hit you with loads of content this week, so I’ll leave you with one final useful post: WordStream’s informative piece covering nine reasons why your AdWords ad may have been disapproved, and how to fix it. Definitely one you’ll need for your arsenal as you work to optimize those holiday shopping campaigns. Find it here.

 

So that said, you’ve got a lot of reading to do! Or shopping…or optimizing your campaigns so more consumers can shop with you. Whatever the case, you’ve got things to do in the next few days and weeks. I’ll leave you with this wonderful plethora of reading material. Until next week, my loyal PPC readers!