Christmas is less than a month away, and with the chaos of Black Friday and Cyber Monday now out of the way, it’s time to take a fresh look at your PPC strategy to maximise ROI throughout the rest of December.

Analyse your visitors’ behaviour

1.Use demographic data

If you have Universal Analytics and a Remarketing Tag on your site, lucky you, as you’ll get lots of lovely demographic data to analyse.

Think about what messages are most important to each demographic. Don’t write the same boring, generic ad copy for every campaign, and don’t create GDN image ads and stick them all over the display network where they’ll be shown to people who couldn’t give a toss.

2. What days/times are people most likely to convert

Using either the Dimensions report in AdWords, or by adding day of week/hour of day as a secondary dimension in Google Analytics, look back over a few months to identify the times of day or days of the week when conversions happened most often.You can use this data to set an ad schedule, so you can save your budget during the quieter periods, and reinvest it when it really matters.

It’s also worth taking a look at your year on year data in Google Analytics to determine whether there’s a trend in which days of the month have historically been most profitable – from there you may be able to project when it will be beneficial to increase your daily budgets.

Day Index

3. Where are these people coming from?

If you offer Worldwide delivery up until a certain date, make sure you’re making the most of it by targeting all of the relevant locations and languages.

Using the location reports in AdWords, you can bid more aggressively on those locations where your visitors have a higher conversion rate. If you want to drive footfall, it’s also worth increasing bids in any locations where you have bricks and mortar.

Location Report

4. What devices are they using?

If you don’t have a mobile optimised site, you’ll be missing out. If you’re yet to make the leap though, you may as well reserve your budget for desktop and tablet, reducing bids on mobile.

Similarly, if you take a look in Google Analytics and find that there’s significantly less traffic from mobile, you might want to drop those bids. Bear in mind that an average ad position of 2.5 or less is going to be fairly useless on a mobile device, as few users will scroll to the bottom of the page – meaning the chances of your ad even being seen is slim.

Don’t necessarily base your mobile bid adjustments on mobile vs desktop/tablet conversions. Remember that users are multi-device, and may return to convert later on.

Mobile is also great for converting users that are more spontaneous with their Christmas shopping (or those, like me, that do it all in a last minute panic). Make the most of these shoppers and present them with tempting, mobile preferred ads.

5. How long does it take people to convert?

You may find that you don’t get a huge number of direct conversions from PPC – but consider the interactions that precede the last click. The assisted conversions report in Google Analytics can help you to identify all the different touchpoints through multiple channels that lead up to that conversion.

The time lag report can also help you to identify remarketing opportunities. If you have remarketing set up in AdWords, maybe a RLSA ad or well placed GDN image ad will entice them back?

Check out your competition

1. Find out who you’re bidding against

Using the auction insights report in AdWords, you can get a good idea of who you are up against (even at keyword level), so you can make informed decisions about what to bid on.

If you know a competitor has a much bigger range, or a better price point, you might want to consider reining in your bids on those products, and reserve that budget for a campaign that yields more opportunities to convert.

2. What offers/USPs/pricing are they using – and are you using it too?

Check out what the competition are offering. If you have a great USP, you should be shouting about it – your competitors certainly will. Free delivery, next day delivery, worldwide shipping and free returns in your ad copy will all help alleviate buyer anxiety.

Test which of your USPs appeals the most with ad copy for each one, and use labels for each to easily see which USP is performing best. Keep reviewing, and testing, the best variations.

3. Why might a user be more compelled to click their ads?

Star ratings and the huge expanse of sitelinks that come with top of page may not be the only reason that you need to make sure it’s worthwhile bidding on certain keywords.

If your stock is full price, and theirs is 50% off, which ad do you think the majority of users would click? Keep a close eye on this, as I’ve found even small discounts by competitors have impacted CTR and conversions. Maybe even consider offering a cheeky discount too – if it’s not going to mess with ROI.

Maximise reach through Google Shopping and Remarketing

1. Improve your feeds

If you are already using Google Shopping, this is a good time to check your feeds for errors in the Merchant Centre. The better quality your data is, the better ad positions you’ll get.

I still wouldn’t go too nuts on slapping mega high bids on Google Shopping ads. Most shoppers are savvy enough to explore all of Google Shopping, using the filters to find the best deal, or to drill down to find exactly the product they are looking for.

Use the Google Shopping ad extension to promote offers and USPs too!

2. Try remarketing

If you have already implemented the Remarketing Tag on your site, you can begin building remarketing lists, and set a number of different rules to determine who you want to show your ads to.

New Remarketing List

3. Update your code to take advantage of dynamic Google Shopping remarketing

This one will definitely require a developer to implement, as you will have to make changes to the code throughout the site. You’ll also need a Google Shopping feed.

The added benefit of doing so will result in you being able to serve ads through the GDN which show the exact products a user was viewing on your site. As this is remarketing, you can tailor the ads to entice the user back to buy from you – perhaps using a promo code or discount?

One thing to bear in mind is that you will need to work within the constraints of the ‘Ad Gallery’. Some of the layouts are real ugly, so have a good old test of these ads prior to launch.

Don’t limit yourself to AdWords

1. Try Bing

Typically, an older demographic will be using Bing as their preferred search engine. While Google does have the vast majority of market share in the UK, there’s no harm in investing a small amount of ad spend – perhaps just 10-15% on Bing ads.

2. Use your mailing list to try Facebook custom audiences

If your business is using Facebook, and has a reasonable size mailing list (and especially if Mailchimp is your ESP of choice) you should be making the most of targeted advertising through Facebook Custom Audiences. Mailchimp has an API for this, so importing this data is easy peasy.

It’s not hugely difficult for anyone to do this with an opted-in mailing list though, you can upload a .csv file to Facebook Ads Manager, and off you go!

Beyond Christmas Day

The majority of online retailers will begin discounting products like crazy as soon as the last delivery date before Christmas Day comes around – so prepare yourself to follow suit and begin rolling out new season stock, or discounts ahead of the January sales.

Boxing Day is also typically a huge day for online retailers. With families beginning to grow tired of spending time together, people disperse and browse like Billy-O on their brand spanking new devices, with Christmas money and vouchers burning a hole in their pockets.

It’s a good idea to have some exclusive offers and discounts reserved for Boxing Day – and then go nuts for final reductions for the New Year.