It’s October 17th, and that means Halloween is precisely two weeks away. And after Halloween, the pumpkin frenzy you thought couldn’t permeate your daily existence any further literally surrounds every moment of your life – and it doesn’t really die until Thanksgiving. Well, unless you count the sad jack-o-lanterns that melt into a rotted heap on front porches all around the neighborhood.

The point is that the holiday ruckus is about to launch in full force. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: You should be planning your holiday campaigns already. Some advertisers already have their holiday promos all planned out, with creative in the works or approved and ready to roll.

The retail world keeps pushing the launch of the holiday season earlier and earlier, and you know what they say: If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. So all you online retailers need to get your buttocks in gear and get with the holiday program. On that note, there’s plenty of holiday advice for PPC-ers in today’s roundup. Enjoy.

 

Checking in on Google…

Not only does the holiday shopping rush begin earlier and earlier each year, but the spending frenzy continues even after the holidays. Google even says it’s time to plan your holiday strategy, like, now. They’ve analyzed transaction behavior from a portion of the 2013 season to figure out what worked for advertisers last year and what fell short, with a nice summary of tips and tricks that can give your campaigns a boost for the 2014 shopping season.

A few key takeaways:

  • Cyber Monday is obviously the biggest opportunity for advertisers. Last year, advertisers saw a transaction rate 170% above average on Cyber Monday.
  • Black Friday comes in second, with a transaction rate 114% above average in 2013.
  • Beyond the major shopping days, Mondays and Tuesdays in December before Christmas show the highest transaction volume.
  • Don’t make the mistake of associating sessions (visits to your site) as being the best for transactions. Google’s data shows there’s no correlation.

For more details and some tips on how to adjust your bids for auction-based media, check out this post on the AdWords Blog.

This holiday shopping season, buyers will be more connected than ever with consumers using their devices to conduct some, most, or all of their holiday shopping. One reason for this is that unlike the mall, which even during extended hours closes at some point, online shopping literally never sleeps.

Interestingly, one-third of Google shopping searches occur between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m. That means there are a lot of people with insomnia who like to spend money, and ideally, they’re going to spend it with you. So Google conducted its annual Holiday Shopper Intentions research with Ipsos MediaCT to survey consumers about their shopping behavior in order to pinpoint potential opportunities for advertisers. A few things to know:

  • People are shopping earlier (duh)
  • Consumers are turning to online video to research products (coolness)
  • Smartphones are becoming personal shopping assistants (more coolness)

More stuff you should know:

  • More than half of consumers start holiday shopping before Thanksgiving.
  • 26% start before Halloween (yep…Halloween).
  • Black Friday has essentially become a month-long event, with promotions running far beyond the 24 hours designated as Black Friday.

Basically, you need to kick it into high gear and do it now. Prime time for holiday promotions runs through October and November these days. There’s a whole lot more to learn from this study – check out Google’s summary of the research here.

 

Ring a ding ding…checking in on Bing…

Oh, stop. I’m a cheeseball and you love it. Lots of valuable info coming from the Bing-ster this week. First up, the use of trademarks and copyrights in your advertising campaigns. For instance, in some markets, you can bid on competitor brand names – but others not.

Where to find the specifics for your industry? Bing’s intellectual property guidelines. But there’s more, relating to the use of product names, brand names, trademarks, and the like on your landing pages and elsewhere. Get the scoop on the Bing Ads Blog.

Check out this podcast from Allen Klein, Sharon Hunter, and Gwendolyn Kestrel on how you can tap into the mobile opportunity to cash in big this holiday season.

Omni-channel retail is a reality in the digital world. While many consumers are making purchases straight from their devices, there are also a good portion that research on their smartphones, purchase or further their research on a desktop (or vice-versa), and ultimately end up making the actual purchase in-store. Bing has some insights on how to use your PPC advertising campaigns to influence shoppers no matter where they finally hand over their hard-earned cash. Check it out.

Bing Ads is helping small businesses by encouraging consumers to “Shop Small” on Small Business Saturday on November 29th. More details here.

Bing has discussed its commitment to listening to its advertisers a time or two before, but this time it’s talking not only about the things it has improved to create a better experience for its advertisers, but the advertisers that have taken note and offered praise for the continued improvement. Read this post to find out what Bing Ads users have to say.

 

And let’s see what’s on the agenda around the web…

News flash: Users don’t search for keywords. They perform search queries. Umm. If that just shook your whole world, this post from PPCHero is a must-read. It’s fantastic stuff and will change the way you think about keywords forever. Read it here.

Have you ever been tempted to swap out all your high-quality, carefully crafted, evergreen copy for promotional copy? After all, why not hit ‘em hard with all the good stuff they can’t refuse, right? If the thought has ever crossed your mind, 3Q Digital has a pretty intriguing story that will change your mind. Check it out.

Another valuable post from 3Q Digital, this article offers some tips for getting your Google Shopping campaigns back on track – quickly.

Clix Marketing offers some details on the AdWords rollout of local call extensions, and the benefits. Read it.

Are you missing out on conversions by not fully embracing mobile? WordStream has some excellent advice on tapping into the full potential. Read the full post.

 

That’s all she wrote for another week, my faithful PPC-ers. Get started on that holiday PPC advertising campaign already, will ya? Catch you all on the flip.