Yeah, it’s that time again.

So as you may know, the holiday season is upon us. What? You disagree? I’m a little too early on this one, you say? Is the tree up at your local mall? Is Santa alongside him? Yeah, I thought so.

Anyhow – for my fellow SEMs, I’ve compiled a brief list (with several points gathered from coworkers who’ve seen many o’ SEM holiday seasons) of best practices to prepare for the holiday season.

1)  Start preparing now. Actually, you should have started preparing yesterday, but today shall do. Talk strategy with clients, come up with ad copy drafts, scope out the competition, plan use of a (perhaps different than normal) budget, etc.

2)  Keep a close eye on competitors. This is always the case, but even more so at the holiday season. There are a lot of deals out there – if you are offering 20% off and your direct competitor is offering 25% off and the two very similar ads are next to each other, which will most likely get the click and possibly the conversion? Keep an eye on their ad copy, their positioning on your top keywords, and their general presence in other forms of media.

3)  Have strategic ad copy. Your competition (as mentioned in the above point) will probably have some strategic copy. Here are some patterns we’ve noticed have worked in the past:

free shipping ad-Free Shipping. Even though it might not be the best deal or discount, it (time and time again!) wins over people’s hearts for some reason. Often times, people don’t take the time to do the math, and sometimes with shipping, they (presumably) feel like they are paying for nothing. We’ve seen in ad tests “Free Shipping” beat out high-percentage discounts that actually offer better deals.

-Guaranteed delivery times. This gets more relevant the closer we get to the actual holidays, but a guarantee of a delivery before Christmas can have a TON of pull with procrastinating shoppers.

-Deals. Again, watch the competition so they aren’t simply one-upping you in their ad text. Remember to keep it simple and straightforward. You can always additionally use sitelinks (and a proper bidding strategy to stay in the top 3) to feature multiple discounts. (If you’re using sitelinks, make sure to follow Google’s policies and have unique content on each landing page.)

4)  Keep landing pages simple and direct. To avoid someone immediately bouncing, keep the deal prominent and above the fold. Make it simple and straightforward – easy for the busy, preoccupied, harried holiday shopper to use. It’ll result in a quicker conversion.

Any other tips for some holiday best practices?

Jaime Sikora, Account Manager

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Jaime Sikora
Jaime Sikora is a PPC & Display Specialist at Nadex. Jaime graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a degree in Advertising. Prior to joining 3Q Digital, she worked in the newspaper industry at the Chicago Sun-Times. In her spare time, Jaime enjoys reading, cooking, traveling, and spending time at the Chicago lakefront.