‘Tis the time of the year for holiday PPC. Pay-per-click advertising is actually the perfect match for these upcoming months, when search queries grow endless, heavy, and even a little desperate! To gather a bit of yuletide attention to your website or ecommerce site fast, PPC could be the best solution for you, if set up and optimized correctly.

To be at the top of your game this holiday season, we’ve created a mini guide on how to build the merriest and brightest PPC campaign yet. 

What is PPC?

PPC ads are paid advertising in search engines displayed as the links you see at the top of a SERP (search engine results page) and look something like this: 

A Quick Guide for Building Successful Holiday PPC Campaigns | Small Screen Producer Digital and Inbound Marketing Agency Houston

PPC is set up in Google through AdWords. AdWords works on a bidding system and allows advertisers to bid on certain keywords. If you’re the highest bidder at some point, your ad gets shown on the results page when a user searches for those keywords.

Keep in mind that Enhanced Campaigns replaced Google AdWords to perform for multiple devices. User context is now taken into account. Since users are now on several different devices typing in searches, a user who searches for “toy store” on a desktop in the morning will get slightly different results than a user who searches for “toy store” on mobile in the afternoon during peak shopping time.

This allows your business to bid smarter on clicks and to narrow down your focus by time, location, and device. Google’s made it easier and more user-friendly, which is a plus and vital just in time for holiday since nearly half of customers will be researching and buying online. Here’s Google’s mini run-through of Enhanced Campaigns.

When Will I See Results From PPC?

The great thing about PPC is that it starts working right away and provides you with immediate results. And it only takes a few hours to set up a campaign and get traffic sent to your site. Since your ads will appear in different ways depending on what type of keyword the user types in, you’ll need to make sure you’re as relevant as possible.

How Do I Optimize for the Holidays?

Holiday buyers are looking for specific things and solutions to problems, like gifting. Consider your personal buyer personas, think when a buyer is most likely to search for your products or services.Make sure your copy is relevant and provides a solution to their holiday problems. HINT: get creative and think of words that might not receive many bids. Long-tail keywords are great because they’re relevant, specific, and are most likely not to be bid on. For example, instead of searching for “gifts for coworkers,” try “last minute gifts for female co-workers”.

In addition, if you include links in your ad, be sure to link to a landing page with an offer or a way to capture a user’s information. Users want things to be quick and easy, especially during these next seven weeks.

Will PPC Do Anything for My SEO?

Yes, but in an indirect way. Analytics from your PPC ads can be used to see what keywords are being typed in so you can adjust your content for SEO. Ever since the recent Google keyword encryption that plucked all the keyword data from the hands of marketers everywhere in July, this is the best way we’ve seen to know what users are searching for.

How Do I Improve My PPC Campaigns?

You might not have as much time to test and re-test during the holidays compared to other times of the year, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be working to improve them throughout the season. To get the most out of your PPC campaigns requires constant attention finding out which keywords get the most clicks, which allow you to adjust your plan accordingly and make the most out of your advertising dollars.

Should I Consider PPC on Other Search Engines?

Possibly. If you have extra cash this season, we’re currently rooting for Bing, which has stepped up their game in recent months with a handful of new feature add-ons. Bing allows businesses to add a single PPC marketing campaign to their business listing. This will target searchers based on locality and enable businesses to connect their Facebook page or other business pages to the ad. You can learn more about Bing Ads here. Pretty cool.

Both Google and Bing are currently testing new display style ads. Bing’s is called “Hero Ads,” and can be found in Bing Smart Search for Windows 8.1. These ads integrate call-to-action links and navigational site links with a huge, high-res brand graphic.

Stay tuned for more updates on the new graphic display ads rolling out on these two search engine typhoons. And if you have any questions about setting up holidays PPC campaigns or improving your overall SEO, we’re happy to help!