• Ashley Zung

75% of Consumers Will Shop for the Holidays Early. What does that mean for PPC Strategies?

Supply chain concerns are influencing consumer behavior. Perch’s Head of Advertising gives insights into what that means for FBA brands.

Q4 is a hectic time for any retail business, and this year’s holiday season is shaping up to be a unique one. The supply chain crisis and broader inflationary pressures are leading to an environment where the holiday shopping season is getting pushed further than ever. In fact, 75% of consumers are planning on shopping earlier this year according to the ICSC.

So, how do you gain your competitive edge on Amazon during the most competitive shopping season of the year? Mike Frekey is the Head of Advertising at Perch, and he has run thousands of campaigns across our portfolio of 80+ brands.

Here are 5 of his best strategies to advertise effectively this holiday season - coming straight from the Perch playbook:

1. Consumers are aware of the supply chain crisis. The holiday season will start early this year, and so should your PPC campaigns.

Conversion rates for holiday-themed keywords typically tend to be the highest between December 9th and December 20th, but we're already starting to see sales (and conversion rates) spike in certain categories as shoppers try to get products before they're off the digital shelves. For instance, we've seen fairly decent spikes for brands we operate in the Toys and Games category. What does that mean?

Start your PPC campaign as soon as possible.

Now, you should be aware that starting your holiday PPC campaign early may also lead to a low conversion rate early. You want to make sure you are not wasting your ad budget on getting clicks from shoppers who are not quite ready to convert.

It really just depends on the demand curve. It won’t be as concentrated a spike as is typical (late November to December), but earlier demand also poses an opportunity if you’re advertising efficiently and catch demand before your competitors.

One thing to note is that shoppers often wait for sales to actually make a purchase, so you can potentially get ahead of this problem by offering deals earlier in the season than typical. Both Amazon and Target announced they are kicking off their holiday promotions even earlier than normal to get ahead of the lack of inventory and hopefully easy consumer anxiety. This may lead to an accelerated timeline for holiday gift buying - so you should advertise accordingly.

2. Obvious, yet important rule of thumb: you might need to turn off ads entirely for low-inventory ASINs

Though this seems obvious, you’d be surprised at how many sellers “set and forget” ads without realizing that they’re headed to a low-inventory position.

This year, our advertising team is keeping a closer eye on inventory status than we ever have! We primarily use low stock alerts to identify where we need to bid down or turn off ads entirely.

We view pricing as a tactic here to slow down the pace of sales as needed. Thankfully, Perch is overstocked on 400+ of our HERO SKUs, which is allowing us to actually scale up ad spend and take products into new online marketplaces like Walmart.

3. Your top-converting keywords will still be the best drivers of sales, but there’s greenspace for holiday-specific terms as well

The best way to start building your Holiday PPC strategy is to look at what terms perform well during non-holiday times and make sure those keywords are included in your holiday PPC strategy. Most terms that work outside the holiday season also work during the holiday season. You should be testing these specific terms’ performance now, so you are ready to ramp up.

Prior to launching Perch’s 2021 PPC holiday strategy, we took a deep drive into last year's data. The team conducted frequent tests on keywords to make sure they led to incremental sales. Around 80% of Perch’s spend is in market audiences that are predetermined by search terms.

Tailoring your content by including holiday themes can help consumers associate your products with seasonal thoughts that are already on their minds. Add small holiday-themed tweaks to your copy, like “the perfect stocking stuffer,” or a holiday related graphic. This can help establish a link between your product and the holiday season.

Remember it’s the holidays, always keep in mind holiday keywords when thinking about advertising your products. Like we said above, conversion rates for holiday-themed words tend to be the highest between December 9th and December 20th, so keep that in mind when bidding on these keywords....BUUUT... this is also a wonky year, so you’ll need to test and learn.

4. Don’t set and forget: test, test, test!

Because this holiday season might be extended relative to previous ones, traditional holiday strategies might not be as effective. You’ll need to test this year like no other.

Frequently conduct tests on keywords to make sure they lead to incremental sales. You don’t want to be putting spend behind a word that has a low conversion rate. Make sure you are monitoring your advertisements and adjusting accordingly throughout the duration of your PPC campaign. We have no way of truly knowing what the market will look like, so you need to adjust as you go. One way you can do this is by optimizing your campaigns based on when searches increase and decrease. Sometimes you will need to increase spend to stay relevant, and other times you can scale down spend.

Scale back any ads that don’t have a strong conversion rate, and increase spend on ads or words that spike in conversion rates.

The Perch team will continue to optimize their campaigns based on search volume, inventory, and sales to stay relevant in the market.

5. Prices are going up across Amazon, but this comes with opportunities!

Pricing is extremely competitive on Amazon, you need to be ready to adjust prices throughout Q4. This holiday shopping season, sellers are faced with a substantial rising cost of doing business on Amazon. Advertising on Amazon has increased 50% year-over-year, with an average of $1.20 per click. Yet, the demand for advertising on Amazon continues to grow, and so prices will continue to rise.

What does that mean? Inflation is coming. For some sellers, it means raising prices now. For others, they’re holding off until after the holiday season (and their typical holiday discounts).

With this price fluctuation comes the opportunity to advertise products on your competitor’s top keywords if you have any flexibility to hold or discount prices while they are going up. Though, if your base price is higher over the previous 30 days, advertising corresponding discounts will look that much more valuable relative to others.

If you’ve been forced to raise your prices, think about spending a bit more on ads to make up for the impact that can have on your organic rank, but only if your conversion rate stays high. When it comes to ads, prize conversion above all else!

Trust your brand with the best

This holiday shopping season will be a wild one. Sellers need to be heads down focused on ads while monitoring inventory and the ever-changing global supply chain. We are all in uncharted territory here, but we’re taking a data-driven approach to optimize our ads at scale!

If you found any of these tips useful and think that we might have the expertise to steward your brand into a new phase of growth, please fill out our contact form and talk to our acquisitions team. We’ve acquired some of the best brands on Amazon and we’ve been operating them at scale for over two years now.

Otherwise, if you want to keep getting more insights on how to grow your brand, Perch is building a world-class team of supply chain, advertising, B&M, and technology experts (to name a few). Sign up for our newsletter to get tips and tricks from inside the Perch playbook!

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