As we prepare to “Say hello to summer,” I can’t help but be excited for flip-flops and, most importantly, vacation! For many paid advertisers, there will also be a shift in tasks that take priority in the summer months.
Many retailers are entering a low-demand (or slow) season between holiday rushes. But it’s always important not to take a vacation from marketing. Below are some paid advertising tips to prioritize your AdWords account optimization during the sunniest time of the year.
1) The tans will fade, but the memories will last forever
Take advantage of a slower season by tying up any loose ends in your account and refining things with:
- Negative Additions – Use shared negative lists as well as campaign and ad group-specific negatives to combat matching to unqualified queries and proactively funnel traffic across all campaigns.
- Keyword Expands – Look for keywords and themes that convert well and build out long-tail variations in existing campaigns. Brainstorm new themes to expand into, and test them.
- Bid Modifier Adjustments – Make sure to deep dive into each dimension in your account and make appropriate changes. Make sure to optimize mobile modifiers at the Ad Group level and get granular with geographic and time of day modifiers.
Spend time in your SQR to really see what changes to make. Make sure to hit every campaign, no matter how little it spends. You will reap the benefits of these tasks when entering the next busy season and be able to be more aggressive because you will eliminate the risks associated with missing these smaller details.
2) You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf
Competition is inevitable in search advertising, and there is little that can be done to remove competitors from the market. Take time this summer to dissect your competitors and their strategies. Use what you learn to create a strategic game plan for the next upswing in demand. To create an aggressive plan of attack, consider the following:
- Ad Copy by Theme – Do your competitors focus on certain selling points or use promotions? Analyze how your ad copy compares to competitors on the same keyword themes. Look for strategic ways to stand out in a crowded marketplace.
- Landing Page Experience – Find out what happens after a user clicks on a competitor ad in market. Evaluate copy, design and offers on each landing page. Compare your landing page experience and determine if users are more likely to convert on your page or each competitors’. Use what you learn to create strategic tests. Just because your competitors are doing something doesn’t mean it’s the right way. However, if you are seeing similarities across multiple competitors in content, design or strategic approach, it might be worth testing on your page. Challenge yourself to take what you learn to the next level so that you stand out, not just copy.
- Keyword Coverage – Investigate where your competitors are spending the most time and effort. Look at each keyword theme in your account and evaluate the number of competitors, aggressiveness of each competitor and focus of each competitor by theme. Do you notice that a competitor is very specific in their ad copy and has a dedicated landing page for a specific theme? Knowing where they are focused can help to enhance your existing strategy for going to market. It might be worth getting more aggressive in places that have a decent amount of traffic but less aggressive competition. You can tell if a competitor is less aggressive if they are using generic ad copy and broad matching to a query with high volume, and do not have a dedicated landing page.
3) Endless Summer Testing
Speaking of testing… always be testing!
This tip applies year round, but any time that you find yourself in a low-demand season, challenge yourself and put on your thinking cap! Testing should be a top priority in any less risky, slower season, and you should not be afraid to be aggressive. A paid advertising account without effective ad copy is just like a year without summer.
Overhaul each campaign in your account and analyze ad copy themes to understand what is working and what needs to be reconsidered and tested. Make sure that all ad copy is up to date and on brand. Don’t be afraid to test new concepts and give your campaigns the love and attention they need during a typically slow summer season.
Look to test ad copy, keyword themes, new landing pages — the sky is the limit! The lessons that you learn from these tests will exponentially make your account stronger, and while the lifts may be smaller in the slow season, they will be key when entering more competitive retail months. Some examples of different angles for testing are:
- Promotional vs. non-promotional landing page or ad copy
- Landing page element adjustments including: CTA design or color, product placement and form field adjustments. Make sure to only test one element at a time so that you can have a clear understanding of what caused a lift or softness in conversion rate when the test is over.
- User intent keywords. What types of problems does your product or service solve? Test keywords that someone might type in before they know what solution they need.
Looking for more seasonal insights? Check out our infographic, Conquering the Paid Advertising Life Cycle, to better learn about the different paid life cycle stages and how different seasonal events can affect your accounts across industries.