With the holiday season closer than you think (yes, really), it’s probably a good time to prep your account to knock this year’s Q4 out of the park.

Determining where to start can be tricky given the amount of data marketers have access to, so I’m going to outline 3 areas you should focus on:

  • Audience Analysis
  • Ad Copy Strategy
  • Funnel Analysis Using SQRs

I previously covered the first topic: audience analysis – you can read that post here.

In this post, we’ll tackle the second topic: ad copy strategy.

To get this process started, we’ll be looking at:

  • Utilizing Ad-Level Data from Your Last Holiday Season
  • Ideas for Testing Prior to the Holiday

Utilizing Ad-Level Data from Your Last Holiday Season

We all have heard the quote:

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” – George Santayana

You could take this quote one of two ways: 1) ignoring previous failures or shortcomings will only lead to them happening again, or happening even more consequentially than before; or 2) ignoring previous success stories and learnings, you’re setting yourself up to match those successes – we want to one-up performance, not stay flat year-over-year.

Start by taking a download of ad level data from the previous holiday season (roughly the latter part of October through December, depending on your product offering). Be sure to include your normal KPIs (clicks, impressions, CTR, avg. pos., cost, conversions, conversion rate, and conversion value; and if you have Google Analytics data within AdWords, include bounce rate). Also ensure that you either segment the data by week, if your fiscal week matches up with the default in AdWords, or segment by day and group it all together within Excel later.

Once you have the data to work with, pull up your promotional calendar to determine whether peaks in the data are related to a sale or promotion. If you look at each element (headlines 1 & 2, descriptions, paths 1 & 2, etc.) of your ads and run an analysis, you can see what performed the best during given points throughout the season. This should allow you to quickly determine what to refine and test again prior to Holiday 2018, and what you should probably pass on. Note: performing this same task on ad performance in a non-holiday season should give you a good idea on the CTAs and language that works with your evergreen customers.

Ideas for Testing Prior to Holiday

Tying into the utilization of ad level data from outside of the holiday season, you can test and gain insights into what works and what doesn’t with your customers. You can also test promo codes directly in descriptions, as sitelinks or headlines – which will help you discover which placement grabs a customer’s attention and incites purchase actions the most effectively.

Another area of testing opportunity includes running time-sensitive “countdown” copy that instills a sense of urgency, which has proven to prompt users to purchase faster.

Here’s a short list of additional ad callouts and “offers” to test during the off-season:

  • Guaranteed In-Stock
  • Free Shipping
  • % Off Promotions
  • Coupon codes directly in text
  • “Holiday” Guaranteed Deliver Date (Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, etc.)
  • Estimated Delivery Date Window (based on location)
  • In-Store Pick Up

Utilizing the information you already have from last holiday season, paired with what you have tested and learned this year, will set you up for a successful Q4. Keep in mind that testing and learning aren’t something that you should be doing a couple of times a year, or even just before your busiest season – they should be at the top of your marketing strategy list day in and day out.

Good luck!

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Taylor Scott
Taylor joined 3Q in February 2017. Originally from Southwest Virginia, Taylor spent 16 years overseas in Malaysia, China, and Singapore; he moved back in 2010 when he enrolled at Elon University. During his time at Elon, Taylor jumped into the paid search realm, working at an agency running search campaigns for auto dealerships and companies across the Eastern seaboard. In 2015, he made the switch to in-house digital acquisition work in the retail vertical in the Virginia area.