Continuing our Holiday Advertising Series, we’re walking you through each week of the holiday season and how to adjust your advertising strategy accordingly. From budgets to messaging, learn what to keep in mind this holiday season.
Cyber 5 is here! That magical shopping period from Black Friday to Cyber Monday. Like we mentioned last week, Amazon reports that 41% of holiday purchases will happen in this five-day period called Cyber 5 or Turkey 5.
From an advertising perspective, this significant increase in purchases means an increase in traffic and competition. So, it’s important to plan your strategy ahead of time and be prepared to spend heavily on your most important terms and products.
Hopefully, in the weeks leading up to Cyber 5, you’ve been focused on top-of-funnel strategies so new customers and browsers have your products top of mind. Now, you can get serious about bottom-of-funnel strategies and convincing browsers to convert. Let’s dive into the strategies and optimizations you should use and make to maximize your sales during Cyber 5.
Not every product needs promotion during the holiday shopping period. Categories such as supplements or groceries benefit from the increase in traffic, as customers will likely add their usual purchases to their carts, but there’s not necessarily a lift in sales. If your product is not a seasonal item and will not have a discount running, it’s not recommended to drastically change your advertising strategy. Remain mindful of rising traffic & CPCs but don’t plan for significant increases. If advertising isn’t your best move, check out other best practices for the holiday season to continue driving sales.
If your product is not seasonal but will have a discount running, consider increasing your bids so your offer is at the top of search for the most relevant keywords. This is a great way to drive awareness of your brand with an initial purchase at a lower price point. Just remember, your keyword bids will need to be higher to maintain top of search and page 1 placements. We’ll dive into this more later on.
If your product is seasonal and/or will have a discount running this is your time to shine! Consider which products you need to move through and which are most relevant to holiday shopping, evaluate the top terms for those products, and be prepared to spend, spend, spend.
The next thing to consider during this time-period is your budget capabilities. With the surge in traffic and clicks, you’ll need to spend more than usual to cover all the extra customers browsing their options. Amazon reports that 44% of holiday shoppers are highly likely to make a purchase from an ad on Amazon during Cyber 5—consider how this influx will impact your click through rate.
In addition to more clicks, there is more competition, meaning your bids need to be higher to win on the most important terms. Over the last 30 days, we’ve seen CPCs increase up to 45% for seasonal brands during building up to holiday traffic. This trend will only continue through Turkey Day and Cyber 5. Take the time, each day, to review your bids and impressions. If impressions are not growing, test a higher bid to win placements.
Amazon recommends adjusting bids & daily campaign budgets 200-500% higher than your usual inputs. At Pattern, we set daily budgets to at least 3x the usual needed budget. For some products and budgets, this is a drastic increase, so carefully consider what you can afford to spend based on your catalog and your inventory availability—you’ll want to avoid common holiday stockouts.
Something else to consider during Cyber 5 is the need to keep your campaigns live all day. As other advertisers run out of budget due to the traffic, CPCs decrease. This also lines up with peak shopping time—the golden hours of 7-11 pm. This period is especially profitable as shoppers are rushing to take advantage of deals before they run out. Capitalize on this daily shift by advertising heavily the last half of the day when the competition is offline and customers are scrambling for deals.
Like I mentioned before, it’s critical to get your product in the top of search placements. You want the most visibility for your offer as possible, and this is the prime spot for impressions from qualified audiences. Be strategic about which terms you want to win; Cyber Weekend is not the time for learning. Use a search term report from the last 3+ months to determine your most profitable, relevant terms. Once you have narrowed down the list of terms, consider increasing each of their bids by 100%+.
Once your bids are set, manually search the term yourself and ensure that the right product is in the number one placement. If you are not appearing as high as you would like, go back to your bids and increase slightly, repeating until you are satisfied with your position. It might sound intense, but repeating this exercise hourly (or at least several times) throughout Black Friday or Cyber Monday can help you ensure your budget is spent well and your product is positioned for maximum purchases. This is the most thorough way to make sure your product is being seen by the right customers at the right time.
Top-of-search placements are great for top-of-funnel audiences but there is so much more happening on Amazon during this time period. It’s most ideal if you’ve been generating brand awareness through Sponsored Product campaigns in the weeks prior, and you can now utilize mid- and bottom-of-funnel strategies.
Customers who have viewed your detail pages or brand store in the 30-day window prior to Black Friday are considered mid-funnel. Set up Sponsored Display views remarketing campaigns on your top ASINs with a 30-day lookback window. This will place your products back in front of these audiences who have not yet converted but are now ready to buy. At Pattern, this would be labeled a consideration strategy, right in between true awareness and full brand defense.
Next to consider are your existing customers who already know your brand. It’s important to keep other competitors from disrupting their brand loyalty. I recommend launching Sponsored Product brand defense campaigns that safeguard your most important branded terms. You can also use this as a way to build awareness of the products in your catalog that have discounts running.
And finally, retarget those loyal customers who have purchased from you in the past. It’s likely they are willing to repurchase or gift the same item that they love, as a gift for someone else (especially if they see a great deal). Use a Sponsored Display purchaser retargeting campaign to target customers who have purchased your discounted or top products in the last 30-days. Amazon will serve them ads on-platform that will drive them back to the detail pages of your products.
There are countless other ways to creatively use Amazon’s Sponsored Ads during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. My recommendations today are the most critical but consider using Sponsored Product product targeting or Sponsored Display cross selling or a multitude of other creative strategies to win the most ad real estate for your products. Not sure you have the time to dedicate? Consider working with an advertising partner to handle the workload.
While Amazon has minimal options when it comes to messaging and creative, it’s important to capitalize on the levers you do have. Sponsored Brand and Sponsored Display ads now have the option to include lifestyle imagery. It’s been rumored that Amazon is more likely to serve these ads as the image option is in beta and they want to push the new feature. Consider adding relevant product or lifestyle shots for these campaigns. In the ad copy, use headlines that refer to the season or giftability of the product.
This is also the time, if you haven’t already, to launch seasonal Sponsored Brand Videos. This ad type is a great way to earn more ad real estate on critical terms and educate customers on your product. Bonus points if you have creative that showcases the product as a gift!
Cyber 5 is a conversion heavy time period. Customers have sought out the products they want and they are ready to convert on the best deals. But that’s not the end of the shopping period. In fact, 3 in 4 holiday shoppers will continue their holiday shopping after Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It’s important to maintain your holiday advertising strategies all the way through to Christmas Day. Check back for the next installment of our Holiday Advertising Series for more insights on how to drive traffic post Cyber 5.
Interested in more immediate expert strategy for holiday advertising on marketplaces? When you partner with Pattern you work with experienced advertisers who can tailor your advertising approach to your industry, category, and budget. Get in touch today.
Check out the rest our our Holiday Advertising Series:
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Peak season is almost upon us and with all signs pointing to it starting earlier than ever, with Christmas gifting searches now ramping up in August and September, it’s time to start preparing for peak. In this article, we’re sharing our top five tips for planning and preparing for peak season with Google Ads and the strategies required to get your Paid Search ready so you can drive success over this crucial period.
In 2021, gifting search terms started increasing in popularity in August. The general trend is that people are looking, researching and weighing their options early, so it’s best to start your Paid activity early to ensure that you’re capturing that early research traffic. This will help drive revenue alongside aiding those consumers who are in their research phase.
From 2020 to 2021, spend during Cyber Week actually only rose 2% but in the weeks leading up to it, it increased by 16%. However, Cyber Week is still the biggest period during the latter half of the year, accounting for 23% of all online spend by consumers over peak. Being prepared and starting early will help you to maximise your time during this period.
According to Google, 48% of global consumers have stopped buying or using a service due to privacy concerns. Privacy is front of mind when consumers are shopping online and we know that Google is phasing out 3rd party cookies in 2023. This is going to make it much harder to track users online and it’s something that brands need to think about this now – waiting isn’t an option.
From a Google Ads point of view, you want to ensure you have set up the Google Ads tag across your site and have enabled ‘Enhanced Conversions’, which ensures all conversions are tracked and allows you to monitor other actions such as ‘Add to Cart.’ This is relatively easy to set up, especially if you use ‘Google Tag Manager’.
It’s also vitally important that you build up your first-party data during this time as this is data you own and it can be used when targeting consumers that have provided your brand with their email address. Pattern’s own experience shows that by segmenting and using first-party data, you can see a 10% improvement in revenue and ROI.
A full-funnel approach is now more important than ever as consumers become more discerning and have more choices than ever of where to shop.
Pattern has seen success with Google Ads’ ‘Discovery Campaigns’ (image-based ads that appear on Google platforms such as Gmail and the Google app), which have driven success both from a traffic and revenue perspective.
The performance of these campaigns is significantly enhanced by adopting a segmented and nuanced approach to first-party data and incorporating these into your campaigns. Other options for a full-funnel approach include YouTube and testing bidding on keywords that are more representative of the research phase. (e.g. ‘best baby clothes’ for a baby clothes brand)
Earlier this year, Google announced that they were moving away from Smart Shopping and launched Performance Max. This is a new campaign type that incorporates features and placements from Smart Shopping but expands them onto other platforms such as Gmail but also alternative creative options, such as images and videos.
Since Google has already started automatically upgrading Smart Shopping campaigns to Performance Max, expect to see some fluctuations in the first 2 weeks following the switch over but results generally seem positive. We recommend upgrading sooner rather than later to limit any potential impact to peak period.
Peak period will be even more competitive than in 2021 and you’ll need your budgets to support this period, we recommend boosting budgets in October to start capturing that early peak traffic. As we enter November and the Cyber Period, start early and make sure you are capturing those consumers looking for early bargains, ensuring you are being nimble in your optimisations and reacting to the data that you are seeing.
Overall, peak period is vital to help drive your sales and by preparing early, you will see strong results and drive success for your brand. If you want to discuss how your brand can navigate this next peak period, contact us to discuss your options with our performance team now.
Entering the ecommerce landscape is a huge undertaking for any brand—it usually requires a large investment in resources and expertise to really be successful. Any brand can quickly get in over their heads trying to navigate the nuances of SEO, fulfillment and logistics, distribution control, listing optimization, and meeting the numerous other requirements and administrative tasks to show up well on marketplaces.
Unfortunately, because it’s so easy for third party, gray market, and unauthorized sellers to obtain and sell products online, many brands find themselves pressured to execute an ecommerce plan without the right resources to succeed on marketplaces and their other channels.
So, for brands looking to enter the ecommerce space or improve their current and future performance, it makes sense to partner with an ecommerce consultant.
Pattern’s global presence and proven success with hundreds of brands has allowed us to develop highly effective ecommerce consulting services. We can guide your brand to navigate issues both large and small in marketplaces worldwide. To maximize your ecommerce efforts, you’ll need to understand what an ecommerce consultant does and how to select one who drives the right value for your brand and products.
An ecommerce consultant is a specialist in the ecommerce space who can give you personalized guidance on how to market your products and grow their presence on digital marketplaces.
An ecommerce consultant should be able to analyze your brand, audience, category, opportunity, and current roadblocks and help you understand how to utilize your resources (or what resources are missing) to be most effective in capturing your opportunities in the ecommerce space.
Not sure how to evaluate a consultant? Here are 4 key attributes to look for as you make your choice.
At Pattern, we prioritize brand obsession for a reason—we know that a brand-centered mindset makes a crucial difference in the outcomes and results our partners achieve. So in our experience, when you begin your search for an ecommerce consultant, it’s important to look for a partner who is specialized in ecommerce, invested in the product, and passionate about helping brands build and improve their strategies. Typically, this means finding someone that consults exclusively for ecommerce marketplaces, rather than choosing a consultant who offers many different services.
It’s also important to avoid choosing a consulting partner who can’t deliver the right experience for your brand. The best indication of whether your potential consultant can do that is to review their history, data, and results with other brands. Ask if they’ve helped others in your selling category, if they’ve solved specific issues your brand is facing, and why they feel you are a good fit. The key is to leave the conversation feeling confident that you understand your consultants’ capabilities and whether or not they match up with your needs.
It’s best to pick a consultant who knows how to guide a brand onto and through multiple marketplaces worldwide. You’ll want to take a look at your long-term strategy and think about the regions and platforms you’re currently on and where you might want to take your brand in the future. If your consultant is truly great at what they do, they’ll be able to help you perform well enough with your current product roadmap that it’ll be a no-brainer to expand your presence at the right time.
The most effective partnership with an ecommerce consultant will be able to give you both recommendations and point you to solutions for making those changes in your planning, processes, and execution. Your time and money is valuable, so you want to make sure that you’re spending it as efficiently as possible as you follow your consultant’s advice. So, before you commit to an ecommerce consultant, ask about the resources and concrete solutions they typically recommend to the brands they work with.
Finding an ecommerce consultant that checks the boxes can be a difficult task. At Pattern, our entire focus and drive centers around giving brands the tools and resources they need to succeed on domestic and international ecommerce marketplaces.
With over 100 global ecommerce consultants across 10 global offices, we have the right tools to partner with brands across the world to achieve better ecommerce success. We give specialized advice, then make sure our partners have all the adequate SEO, social media, CRM, Amazon multi-channel fulfillment services, and ecommerce outsourcing services they need.
Interested in ecommerce consulting services? Set up a call here to learn what Pattern can do for your brand on global marketplaces.