Posted to Ben Finklea's blog on November 23rd, 2009

Is Your Paid Search Ready for Cyber Monday?

During the 2005 holiday season, the term “Cyber Monday” was coined by, in reference to the e-commerce shopping surge on the Monday following Black Friday. According to a New York Times article that year, “the name Cyber Monday grew out of an observation that millions of otherwise productive working Americans, fresh off Thanksgiving weekend of window shopping, were returning to high-speed Internet connections at work Monday and buying what they liked.”

Whether you believe “Cyber Monday” is a marketing ploy or not, the reality is that the holiday shopping season is upon us, and we need to be properly prepared for the e-commerce rush. The main focus of your holiday marketing blitz will most likely be your paid search, which will need to be tweaked, or at least reviewed, in preparation for the Cyber Monday surge. This preparation can be confusing, but very necessary in order for your holiday season to be as lucrative as possible. Let’s take a look at how we can ensure that your online efforts will pay off during this online holiday shopping season.

Delayed Conversions

Studies have shown that over half of online shoppers began researching gifts before Thanksgiving, but the majority aren’t purchasing yet. Make sure you take this into account with your PPC. Set your tracking cookies to 30 days or more to capture any delayed conversions.

Expanded Keywords and Terms

Also, expand your keywords to include holiday terms as well. There are some numbers that say 69 percent of shoppers plan on buying gift cards this year, so don’t forget to promote gift cards in your campaign. Examples of potentially efficient terms to add include: “electronics gift cards”, “best gift for book lovers”, and “great gifts for under $50”.

Holiday Bidding Strategies

Historically, online shoppers are more likely to convert during the holiday season. You should experience increased conversion rates so use any insight you gain from this to bid accordingly. Consider using year-over-year data from the last few holiday seasons to grasp how online shoppers are engaging with your ads, sites, and keywords. Always keep a close eye on your account early on so that you can make educated, informed decisions throughout the holidays.

Always keep in mind that amazing sales always start on December 26th, so make sure you have all your sale-specific keywords, copy, and creative lined up and ready to launch the minute Santa gets home. Take advantage of any positive trends you pick up during the pre-Christmas surge and apply it to the post-Christmas sales bonanza. For many online retailers, the next six weeks will make or break their year. It is important that your PPC campaigns are ready to compete for your site.