The holiday shopping season is well underway, and so far, it’s turning out to be a banner year. Cyber Monday was the largest ever, generating more than $2 billion in sales. That’s incredible, especially considering predictions for Cyber Monday this year were rather bleak.

So, that means there’s a huge opportunity to net some serious cash if you play your cards right through the rest of the holiday shopping season. There are plenty of tips for doing so in today’s roundup, along with some predictions for 2015. If you’re over the holiday planning stuff already, it’s never too early to start thinking about how you’re going to make 2015 your most kick-a## year yet!

So, given that you’re busy trying  to keep up with the holiday rush along with your regular workload, let’s get on with it so you can get busy tweaking your holiday PPC campaigns.

 

Checking in with Google…

Interest category marketing has been possible within the Google Display Network since 2009, but more powerful interest-based capabilities have been added since, including:

Because these more sophisticated options are better for advertisers, offering greater flexibility and control, the “other interests” option is going away on January 15, 2015.

But, if you currently have a campaign using the “other interests” option, it will continue to run as such until June 2015. After that, it will be upgraded to affinity, custom affinity, or in-market audience targeting, each of which targets prospects at a specific stage in the buying cycle (or the sales funnel, depending on how you like to think about the buying process). For more details, check out this post on the AdWords Blog.

Want to know how many of your ads are actually seen? New benchmarks for viewability will offer some much-desired insights. A major revamp, including eight updates to DoubleClick Verification (check out this post for more on this), now provides marketers with “a robust solution to understand and control where their campaigns appear, including if they were viewable.”

Why is this so critical? A recent study of ActiveView data (more on that here) finds that 56.1% of all ads served are “not measured viewable.” Ouch. That’s more than half! But, the average advertiser’s viewability comes in at 50.2%, meaning that a small number of publishers are serving up most of the non-viewable impressions, which drives down the overall average viewability score by a whopping six percent. With the shift towards advertisers paying for viewable impressions – rather than merely served impressions, understanding what contributes to viewability is key. For more details, hit up this post on the Agency Blog.

Find out how one of the U.K.’s major clothing retailers, Matalan, boosted its conversion rates by 28% with DoubleClick in this mini case-study.

 

Moving on to Bing…

Bing wants you to know that the Yahoo Bing Network is where it’s at when it comes to mobile advertising spend. Gartner predicts that the mobile advertising industry will hit $42 billion by 2017 (in just two short years), and the Yahoo Bing Network is experiencing growth in mobile search volume accordingly.

In fact, search and click volumes on smartphones have more than doubled year-over-year on the Yahoo Bing Network, and Bing Ads is constantly evolving and improving to create a better, more robust, and flexible platform for advertisers to reach their audiences across the multitude of devices in the modern search environment. But most importantly, click volume growth is actually outpacing search volume growth, “demonstrating the high degree of consumer engagement and relevance of mobile ads on the Yahoo Bing Network.” More stats and compelling evidence for why you should consider Bing as part of your advertising mix in this post.

There’s a new version of the Bing Ads Campaign Planner in town, and it’s here just in time for the holidays. The goal of the new release is to combine three core capabilities in a single interface:

  • Vertical & Product Trends
  • Keyword Research
  • Competitive Insight

Get a full rundown of the latest release, new powerful features, and tips on leveraging the new Bing Ads Campaign Planner to maximize your impact and get better results this holiday season here.

Each month, Bing highlights how it’s taking advertiser feedback to heart and using it to drive decision-making and improve the Bing Ads interface and the larger advertiser experience on the platform. In the December 2014 edition, find out about improvements to location targeting and ad scheduling, improvements to the Bing Ad editor, and more.

 

What’s new and exciting from elsewhere on the web?

Exit overlays are a useful tactic for re-capturing the attention of abandoning visitors. PPCHero ran a post about this previously, and they’re revisiting the topic to talk about specific exit overlay strategies that can boost your results. Check it out.

Clix Marketing is in the midst of a fun holiday series, The Ghost of PPC Past, Present, and Future. Check out the first two installments: A PPC Carol: The Ghost of PPC Past, and A PPC Carol: The Ghost of PPC Present. And, stay tuned, of course, for The Ghost of PPC Future. Should be an intriguing one!

Position bidding vs. CPC bidding…what’s the difference? And which is better? Check out PPCHero’s comparison and calculations to figure out the right bid optimization strategy for you.

RKG reports that retail paid search sales grew 23% between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday. Get the scoop.

Amazon is increasing its paid search presence, a rather intimidating prospect for retail PPC advertisers. But don’t stick a fork in it; it’s not done yet. RKG offers some tips for beating the e-commerce giant – in particular, PLAs. Read it here.

If there’s a fantastic post to end this week’s roundup with, it’s this one: WordStream has rounded up 15 expert predictions for PPC and search marketing in 2015. For your reading enjoyment, get it here.

 

Whether you’re spending the rest of the day fine-tuning your holiday advertising campaigns or prepping for something absolutely amazing to kick off 2015, you’re now armed with some fantastic tools, so put ‘em to good use! Make it a great one, everyone!