So, how’s that holiday shopping coming? If you emerged from your turkey coma long enough to venture into the wild last Friday, out into the crowded shopping centers with stampeding crowds busting down the doors, you might have found the brick-and-mortar outlets to be a bit less crowded on Black Friday, which is traditionally recognized as the most insane shopping day of the holiday season.

In the past few years, we’ve seen the emergence of Cyber Monday as the busiest online shopping day of the year, but this year could mark the beginning of a critical shift. It turns out that instead of avoiding Black Friday altogether, more shoppers are turning to the ‘net on Black Friday instead of braving the crowded stores. Brick-and-mortar sales for the Thanksgiving weekend this year are “generally down across the board,” TIME magazine reports, but online sales are up by 15% over last year, to the tune of $11 billion.

That means, of course, tremendous opportunity for online retailers, especially when you use PPC strategically to drive traffic to your best deals and attract holiday shoppers with money to spend this season. As always, I’ve got the best PPC news, tips, and tidbits from the week to help you do just that. Let’s see what’s happening in the world of PPC during this busy holiday season.

 

Checkin’ in with Google…

The AdWords Agency Blog is recognizing the best YouTube ads in 2015 through a partnership with The Webby Awards. They’ve selected 25 nominees based on this year’s YouTube Ads Leaderboard for the most iconic ads of 2015 and through December 8th, you can vote for your picks in the following categories:

  • #TheYouTubeAd You Wish You Were In
  • #TheYouTubeAd That Gets You Going
  • #TheYouTubeAd That’s Your Guilty Pleasure
  • #TheYouTubeAd That Gives You Feels
  • #TheYouTubeAd That Restores Your Faith in Humanity

Check out this year’s nominees and get your vote on here.

Google’s DoubleClick is focused on combating fraudulent activities in the online advertising space, and one current focus is the false representation of domains in ad inventory. This happens when publishers make it seem like their traffic is coming from another website — usually a premium, well-known site — in order to charge more for ads. Branded ads can thus end up on sketchy websites and pay more for placements than they should be paying, which ultimately harms both the advertiser and legitimate publishers who are being denied ad revenue for ads being sold in their name.

Now, a new feature in DoubleClick Bid Manager blocks many instances of domain misrepresentation, which in some cases could account for up to 40% of inventory for a given exchange. A new, highly effective filter will filter out invalid inventory, resulting in more effective campaigns for advertisers and a better experience for publishers. Read more about DoubleClick’s latest efforts to combat fraud in this post.

If you’re looking for some valuable holiday shopping data, Think with Google is the place to be. This post reveals three predictions for retailers for the 2015 holiday shopping season, and this post digs into store traffic data and what it reveals about Black Friday shopping. Finally, if you’re still learning the ins and outs of micro-moments and how to identify them throughout the buyer’s journey, this post is for you.

 

What’s happening, Bing? 

How does a cashmere retailer heat up holiday sales? That’s the question Bing answers in its latest #BingAdsStories post, which reveals how retailers can use Product Ads to showcase their products in a larger format, including images, pricing, and promotional text.

“In the latest Bing Ads Customer Success Story, digital marketing agency ECommerce Partners uses Bing Shopping Campaigns to create and manage Product Ads for long-term client White + Warren, a high-end clothing company specializing in cashmere,” Stephanie Worley explains in a post on the Bing Ads Blog. Not only do Product Ads help retailers create demand during the holiday season, but they’re an effective way to promote products all year long.

ECommerce Partners helped their client, White + Warren, achieve some pretty tremendous results using Product Ads during the period from September 2014 to April 2015, including:

  • 6.61% higher click-through rate with Bing Ads than with Google AdWords.
  • 35.33% higher conversion rate at the same cost per click as AdWords.
  • 7.22% more profitable return on ad spend.

Check out this post for more or catch the full Customer Success Story here.

 

A quick stroll around the web…

PPC Hero just released a new white paper, with tips for supercharging your PPC success with YouTube advertising. Check it out and download your copy here.

Did you know you can improve your ad extensions working at the ad group level? PPC Hero explains how in this post. And, if velocity is your goal, this post shows you how to optimize for speed.

Are you marketing on Reddit? Maybe you should be. 3Q Digital takes a look at the opportunities that might be awaiting you on Reddit in this post. And, if you’re ready to get in on native ads, check out this post.

Why do you PPC? This inspiring post from John Lee at Clix Marketing reveals the reasons why he PPCs…what are yours? Check it out here. You should also check out this post, which shares a handy roundup of eight posts that can help save you time this holiday season.

Merkle|RKG analyzes the data from the cyber shopping weekend this holiday season. Find out what the data reveals in this post.

Finally, WordStream shares eight super creative, crazy effective display ad ideas. If you’re looking to ramp up your creative display ads just in time to capture more holiday shoppers, this is the post to read.

 

Well, as we get closer and closer to the end of the 2015 holiday season — let’s face it, it’s gonna be over before we even know it — it’s certainly shaping up to be a very interesting year. Overall, spending seems to be on the up, which is great news for the economy, but will this year mark a historical turning point with shoppers making a key shift to shopping online instead of in the stores? We can only wait and see what the rest of the season brings when the data rolls in. Enjoy your weekend, all!