The holiday shopping frenzy is fast-approaching as retailers stock their shelves with great gift ideas and holiday decor. Of course, things won’t really be in full swing until the Black Friday official kickoff, but there are plenty of shoppers trying to make a dent in their lists already for this year.

In case you missed it, in late October Google shared some 2015 data on holiday trends that offers some excellent insights into buyer behavior and how mobile is influencing purchases more than ever before. And with the major retail shopping days getting smaller, the climate is ripe for taking advantage of online shoppers and even those who are conducting online research but will ultimately complete their purchase in a brick-and-mortar location.

As we enter mid-November, the holiday shopping season is a major topic of discussion among PPC advertisers and digital marketers. This week’s PPC roundup is full of great, last-minute advice to get the most out of the holiday shopping season this year.

 

Google, what’s new? 

Google is launching a few new features for Shopping campaigns, just in time for you to take advantage of them for the holiday shopping season. When you’re planning your holiday PPC campaigns, you’ll now be able to take advantage of:

  • A product groups tab view at the campaign and account levels. This feature makes it easy to compare performance and implement changes to optimize your campaigns across all product groups.
  • Product groups filtering, to allow you to select specific groups to optimize. For instance, you might choose to optimize product groups with the best cost-to-conversion, and you can now do so easily without manually reviewing all the product groups in your account.
  • Mobile bid adjustment simulator. This feature is now available at the campaign level, allowing you to evaluate your mobile opportunity as you adjust your mobile bid modifier.
  • Conversion estimates are included in bid simulator, providing key insights on how many conversions your ads could receive with a different bid.
  • Performance metrics have been added to the subdivision dialog, such as clicks and cost-per-conversion, which is helpful for structuring your product groups based on performance.

These features could save you hours of time on campaign optimization over the holidays, enabling you to quickly gain the insights that matter and easily filter and optimize the right product groups to maximize results. For more details and a walk-through on how to access and use each of these new features, check out this post.

Want to turn more searchers into customers this holiday season? Of course you do. Lucky for you, the AdWords Agency Blog has put together a five-step checklist to accomplishing just that, including:

  1. Prepare
  2. Automate
  3. Measure
  4. Optimize
  5. Plan Ahead

These steps are based on the steps outlined in detail in the DoubleClick Search Guide to the Holidays, and if you want more valuable, actionable tips you can put to use to boost profits this holiday season, check out Google’s recent Hangout on Air with Henry Tappen, Product Manager at DoubleClick Search. Or, you can check out the simplified version in this post on the AdWords Agency Blog.

Active View also has some new updates, including improved cross-screen options for brands and publishers. Active View bid optimization in DoubleClick Bid Manager is now available for clients globally, providing a better way to programmatically buy viewable impressions. Get all the details here.

Love case studies? This one discusses how Jellyfish drives more online university students using DoubleClick Search. Read it here.

 

What’s up, Bing? 

The most effective advertisers have PPC campaigns that are closely interwoven with organic search, content, and social media marketing. The sheer craziness of the holiday season makes it challenging to just keep track of yourself, let alone an entire cross-channel promotional campaign. Bing aims to make your life a little simpler this season with a 2015 interactive calendar, complete with important dates of interest for advertisers. The calendar includes:

  • Critical shopping dates to plan around
  • See spending trends, many of which are exclusive to Bing Ads user data
  • Coordinate your advertising strategy down to the most critical times of day
  • Watch a second-by-second ticker of last year’s searches and revenue (nothing like a little motivation to get your plans in action, eh?)

Get more details in this post and then head on over to the interactive infographic here.

Bing is also on the case study bandwagon with a compelling case study of its own: Pet insurance company PetInsuranceQuotes.com grew its ROI by 25% in one month with Bing Ads. Get the full story in this post.

 

Thought leaders, what say you? 

We’ve previously discussed the value of the plethora of data that is Facebook in gaining intelligence about your audience. This guide from PPC Hero takes it a step further, providing an in-depth tutorial on using Facebook Audience Insights to create personas. Read it here.

Also from PPC Hero, this tutorial on using Excel’s “What-if” analysis to make better projections may prove a valuable tool for you this holiday season Check it out.

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ve heard about ad blocking. But what does it mean, and now that it’s on the rise, how might you be impacted as an advertiser? This post from 3Q Digital examines the issue.

Did you know that your ad group name can exceed 200 characters? Actually, it can be up to 255 characters. It turns out there’s a myth perpetuating in some circles that basically stuffing keywords in your ad group names can improve your Quality Score. Certified Knowledge debunks this myth and offers a few suggestions for legit ways to improve your Quality Score in this post.

Clix Marketing offers some advice on cleaning up your Google Analytics goals and funnels in this post. You should also check out this post, which explains how to use segments to fully understand ad test performance.

Here’s a cold, hard truth: Your customers don’t necessarily know the best way to search for what they’re looking for. Merkle|RKG provides some helpful advice for working around this fact – and helping your customers find what they’re looking for more easily (your business, of course) – by combining audience and intent in search with Customer Match. Read it here.

WordStream shares news of some other new features from Google just in time for the holiday shopping season, including text message remarketing and Black Friday structured snippets, in this post.

There’s an emotional science behind PPC ads. Find out how it works and how to use it to your strategic advantage in this post from WordStream.

 

And that wraps up this week’s PPC update. You’ll be busy enough toying around with the new toys Google and Bing have gifted advertisers with for the next week. Next Friday will be here before you know it, and then the real madness begins. See ya on the flip!