4 Tips for Maximizing your Holiday PPC Budget

The holidays are the perfect time to run a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign! Shoppers are in buying mode, purchasing gifts for their friends, family and sometimes, even themselves. But with large retailers out there that have huge advertising budgets, how can your store compete?

There are many ways you can be competitive and see a successful campaign, even with a small budget. Here are four tips for maximizing your PPC budget this holiday season.

Audit your keyword list

Take a good look at your keyword list. Do you have any terms on there that are extremely general? If you do, pause those keywords and add more specific, long-tail keywords to your list instead. This will allow you to better target people who are searching for exactly what you sell.

For example, here is an audit a fishing merchant may do:

Keywords to pause that are too general: gifts, christmas gifts, fishing rods, fishing tackle, lures

Keywords to add that are relevant to what the merchant sells: offshore trolling lures, crowder fishing rods, bob schneider kona head lure

By using targeted, long-tail keywords, you’ll save money by only advertising what you sell instead of using general terms that can eat up your budget.

Use exact match and phrase match keywords

While you want to get as targeted as possible with your keyword list, you also need to know about how to make sure your ads are only showing when you want them to.

A broad match keyword of “ugly Christmas sweater” means your ad could show when people are just searching for “Christmas sweater,” “ugly sweater” or even “ugly Christmas decorations.” If you are directing people to an area of your site for ugly Christmas sweaters, you don’t want them to think they will instead arrive on a page that displays cute Christmas sweaters or ugly decorations.

Using the phrase match keyword of “ugly Christmas sweater” means that your ad will only show when people have that exact phrase somewhere in their search. That means your ad could show for “buy ugly Christmas sweater” or “ugly Christmas sweater party.”

And what if you ONLY want your ads to show when someone searches for a very exact phrase? That is where exact match comes in. With the exact match keyword of “ugly Christmas sweater,” your ad will only show when someone searches for that exact phrase. If they add a word to the beginning or end of that phrase in their search, your ad will not show. This is the most targeted type of keyword and can save you a lot of money by only showing for searches that are relevant to your product.

So should you only use exact match? Probably not. If you only use exact match, your keywords will be extremely targeted, but may not get the traffic and data you need to effectively run your campaign. A mix of keyword types that includes exact, phrase and some broad match keywords tends to be most effective. This will allow you to get traffic and sales to your store, while still making the most of your budget.

Read more about match types here.

Add negative keywords to your campaign

If you’re new to running PPC campaigns, you may not have discovered the magic of negative keywords yet. These are keywords you can incorporate into your ad group or entire campaign that you do NOT want to show for. If you haven’t looked at your search terms report lately, you may not even realize if you’re showing for phrases that aren’t relevant to your products.

If you’re showing and getting clicks for brands that you don’t carry, or for words like “review” and “free,” you may want to add those as negative keywords so you can save money. Removing those possibilities will also help you be more relevant to searchers, meaning your click-through rate and quality score may increase, which are both good things for you.

Need to know how to add negative keywords? Here are a couple links to check out the how-to's on Google and Bing.

Lower bids on under-performing keywords

Too often, advertisers set up a campaign with initial bids and then never change them. PPC campaigns perform best with regular account optimization, including altering bids on keywords as needed.

To save money during the holidays, don’t spend a bunch of money on keywords that aren’t converting for you. Go through all of your ad groups and identify keywords that are not turning into sales and that are costing you a significant amount of money. Lower the bids or pause keywords that aren’t converting for you.

Learn more about bid optimization here.

Follow these tips to make sure your PPC campaign is spruced up for the holidays!