The secret to running a smash hit Christmas ad campaign - in six steps

It’s time to think laterally, act local and keep on going until the party’s over.

By Fionnuala Meehan Google Ireland

‘TIS THE SEASON to be jolly. Oh, and to get your festive ads up and running in time.

But being first to advertise won’t guarantee you success. It’s time to think laterally, act local and keep on going until the party’s over.

If you were wondering whether it’s too soon to start your seasonal ad campaign, wonder no more: it definitely isn’t.

In fact, over half of seasonal shoppers started researching their purchases in October or earlier. And almost one in three of Europe’s internet shoppers plan to make their pre-Christmas purchases in November, if not sooner.

More than two thirds of shoppers seeking inspiration start with Google, so getting your festive ads live is a great first step. But with so much competition out there for new shoppers, the most successful retailers are often the ones who predict demand, understand shopper mindsets and think laterally.

With that in mind, here are six ways to improve your chances of connecting with this year’s shoppers and make it a season to remember.

1. Put yourself in shoppers’ shoes

While searches for essentials like wrapping paper undoubtedly spike in the run up to the festive season, it’s often the less obvious products that slip under many a retailer’s radar.

For example, searches for indigestion tablets rise on 3 December before peaking (just in time) three weeks later.

Likewise, searches for batteries increase from December onwards, then spike between 24 to 30 December.

Action: Take another look at your keywords and tailor your ads on dates when demand for certain products is higher.

2. Start early, finish late

Starting your seasonal ads early is a must, but the shopping season is more of a marathon than a sprint.

Some 20% of December shop traffic happens in the six days after peak season. And searches for ‘where to buy’ peak between 18 to 23 December, right after the posting deadline.

Action: Consider keeping your ads running throughout December and ensure you have enough stock in to meet the extra demand.

3. This season, give the gift of a second chance

Around 40% of mobile shoppers leave sites without converting, but that doesn’t mean you can’t entice them back again.

Action: Try remarketing ads, which show shoppers a photo of the product they browsed or abandoned last time they visited. It’s a quick and informal way to remind folks you’re still around and that you have what they need.

4. Show people what’s in store. Literally

You know that feeling when you’re about to click ‘buy’ but you don’t know for sure if the product’s in stock and whether it’ll arrive in time?

Well, it’s a frustration shared by many holiday shoppers too. So much so that 41% of them say shops should do a better job of sharing inventory levels.

Action: Add stock levels to your website and refresh them regularly, so customers can order with confidence.

5. Customers are closer than you imagine

It’s easy to think big when it comes to marketing campaigns, but sometimes the quick wins are closer to home. For example, three in four people who do a local search on Google end up visiting a related business within 24 hours.

Action: Try running ads that target your local area. Also, check you’ve signed up to Google My Business, so people can find your store when they search for you online.

6. Treat yourself with something new

Last year, 61% of consumers were open to buying from new retailers, and almost 50% actually did. In other words, customer loyalty can have a short life – and it’s all to play for. Why not get noticed by trying something new this year?

Action: Consider using shopping ads, which include a photo of the exact product people are searching for, plus the price, store rating and more.

Fionnuala Meehan is head of Google Ireland and VP of EMEA Google Marketing Solutions.

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