13 . 11 . 18

5 top tips to drive online sales for peak

We are fast approaching what is for many businesses the peak trading period.  With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of fairly easy to implement tactics, across channels that will help ensure you maximise your exposure.


Some of our clients increase their media spend by over 500% more in the months of November and December than they do during any other months in the year. Our top tip for ensuring maximum return for these PPC accounts when volume increases is to ensure the basics are all adhered to. With such a significant increase in volume, the smallest changes can make a huge impact. Here are the top checks to make:

Utilise all Ad extensions – This helps make ads more prominent, further qualifies traffic and ensures google show your ad for each auction. Each Ad extension can increase CTR by up to 10%

• Text ads – Include 3 or more text ads in each ad group. Google says: having 3 ETAs instead of 2 could increase clicks by 15%.

• Use Ad rotation – Update your campaign settings, including changing ad rotation to optimise. This will ensure poor performing ads stop showing and CvR and CTR are maximised. By changing ad rotation to optimise, you should see a 5% uplift in Clicks

• Utilise bid management technologies – Since the launch of AdWords, the features and tools have become so much more advanced. You cannot maximise peak unless you are using bid strategies. Smart Bidding uses advanced machine learning to help achieve KPI by tailoring the bid at auction level. Not only is the bid of keyword taken into consideration but there are other key signals such as device, location, time of day, audience, operating system and language.

Quality score – Run a quality score report and address any issues. Don’t pay for poor quality work. You can significantly reduce average cost by improving your quality score, therefore allowing you to push for more volume at a better ROI. Remember – Mobile site speed now has a direct impact on the Quality Score. Do Not Pay more for poor site speed.

Attribution – update your attribution modelling to ensure you are targeting the areas of your account that are making the real impact. Gone are the days where you plough money into the areas that only convert on the last click basis. You should be focusing on the areas that are providing real growth. Take a look at the data driven attribution model (if eligible). This model uses conversion data to understand the actual contribution of each keyword so that you can make informed decisions on how to improve performance. There are other attribution models available if data driven isn’t available. Consider using the position based or Time decay model.


• Make sure your display ads will be seen – This sounds like the most obvious statement for advertisers, however there are 3 key things to watch out for during the Christmas period to ensure your campaigns don’t go dark:

Make sure you’re prepared for an increase in bid prices – Based on Google data display CPM’s rose by an average of 23% over the Christmas period last year. Due to increasing competition you need to prepare for an increase in CPM’s during the festive period and makes sure you’re not missing out on inventory due to low bids.

Upload your creatives well in advance – Creative disapprovals were the largest contributors to display campaigns not running over Q4 last year. Depending on the platform you are using there is usually a creative approval time of 48 hours with most ad exchanges with a part manual and automated review process. With the large amount of people expected to change creatives around key dates such as Black Friday, Christmas Day and Boxing day, make sure you upload your creatives in advance. This will ensure they’ve gone through review and you don’t risk campaigns not going live due to disapproved creatives.

Make sure you’re properly optimised for mobile – During the festive period consumer patterns change and historically we’ve seen surges in traffic for many clients across mobile devices. Make sure your mobile bidding is setup to capitalise on the surge in mobile traffic.


• Plan ahead – It’s an obvious statement but from an affiliate perspective with hundreds of different websites to work with and each affiliate with different marketing plans, it’s important to secure increased exposure slots in advance to ensure planned increased exposure campaigns go ahead. With that in mind there are a few things you should focus on to ensure you’re planning correctly to maximise against your KPIs.

Review your top performing affiliates that reach your target traffic – There are affiliates that drive volume and there are affiliates that drive a combination of volume but also the correct type of traffic. It’s important to be aware of what your goal is and draw up a list of affiliates that currently perform for your campaign and meet your goals.

• Review marketing plans of targeted affiliates – From your target list of affiliates that you want to work with during peak, assess their marketing plans to review if there is any synergy with the marketing campaigns they are running versus your own marketing plans.

• Review the opportunity cost – The commission increase / tenancy required to secure that exposure versus the potential increased revenue and brand awareness as a result, review and ensure you have a calculated idea on what potentially this will deliver.


People searching using long tail phrases are generally further down the buying cycle and in-market as they know specifically what they want e.g. if someone searches for “black nike air 97” they are looking for a specific model of shoe. It’s a transactional phrase, therefore as you would expect the organic listings are dominated by specific product pages. Contrast this with “nike shoes” where the user in still browsing and the SERPs will reflect that behavior by displaying product category pages.

So, we know when people are in-market to purchase, but how are do we attract users directly to our products?

Consider optimising your product pages using the following:

• Title tag/H1 – In most CMSs they are the same. They are among the most important elements on the page. Be descriptive as possible. Use the right keywords but don’t keyword-stuff.

Meta description – Use this area to push your key sales messaging and attract the initial click.

• Unique content (where possible) – one of the biggest issues with product pages it is the commonality of product descriptions. If you are using a manufacturer’s feed then you are at risk of having to directly compete with multiple stores (and the manufacturer), with duplicate content. This often means that the site with the most authority wins out.  You can negate this and create a competitive advantage by craft unique and compelling description of your products. ASOS do a great job of writing concise descriptions that are great for search.

Use Schema – Reviews, price, and product availability are just three options that will help you stand out from the crowd.

• Imagery – Images are super important. Make sure you offer the best quality product imagery related products, ensure they are balanced with performance.

• Internal links – Products need to be well linked to be crawled and indexed. Create links additional links to popular products via the homepage (popular product carousel) or via blog post to give search engines quicker access.

• Inbound links – Where you can, try and earn direct links to product pages. This gives them a direct line of authority and can be a shot in the arm for rankings.

• Go the extra mile – Offer 360-images, short videos, product images insitu, review mechanics (UGC), related products, related products, ‘shop the look’ etc.

Speed – balance all your bells and whistles with site speed considerations. Key offenders on product pages are images in the wrong formats, site-wide JavaScript that isn’t required and 3rd party plugins and tracking.

• Test Test Test – which brings up to our next point…..

Conversion Optimisation

Sometimes, even the smallest elements can make the biggest improvements. The trick is to be able to pull this out from analysis of available data and test it.

In a conversion optimisation exercise for an international luxury hotel aggregator, we found that optimising site search interactions on mobile generated significant results with transactions improving by 85% and ecommerce conversion rate increasing by 83%.

Analytics Page Statistics – Are plenty of people landing on your crucial pages, and do these pages suffer from high bounce rates?

• Site Search Data – Observe the queries your users are using to search on your website. What are the popular terms used? Site search queries provide a good idea of the products or services customers are looking for. During site search analysis for an ecommerce client, we found that most of their users’ search using the product brand names – yet the inventory on the website’s category pages and navigation only used generic terms and made no reference to brand names. This presents a great opportunity for optimisation.

• Device usage statistics – what is the conversion rate like for mobile vs desktop? For a financial services client we found that mobile was the biggest traffic driver but converts lower than desktop. By improving conversion rates even by a small margin, this would yield more value than when compared to desktop.

conversion optimisation process

• User flow and navigation summary – observe how most visitors flow through the site. Are there big retention problems in pages with high drop off rates? Are there major patterns (such as repeated back and forth movements) that can indicate user confusion? Supplement with session experience visualisation to validate some of these findings.

• Primary research – Sometimes all it takes is to ask customers directly. Through surveys and questionnaires that can be analysed later, we can find out more about user expectations and needs directly. Understand what works, what doesn’t, what annoys them and what delights them. Then, test and learn!

Image by Annie Spratt, Unsplash

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