The holidays are often thought of as retail season, with shopping at the top of everyone’s minds whether you’re buying or selling products on promotion for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
While not untrue, this period also represents the start of a peak season for another large vertical – namely Health and Wellness.
Many Health and Wellness advertisers are headed into a peak season that starts around the holidays and stays on through the New Year and into Q1 – albeit, for slightly different reasons.
You do have Health and Wellness advertisers that may be running Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, such as those selling OTC, vitamins and supplements, beauty, or CPG products.
But you’ll also see Health and Wellness advertisers that get a surge of searches during this period because they are in the “Use Them or Lose Them” medical benefits category (such as dentistry or vision, for example).
Diet and Fitness advertisers will also start ramping up for their early 2022 peak season in anticipation of the “New Year, New You” (NYNY) traffic they’ll experience starting in January.
Even Senior Living facilities will start to see an increase in traffic in Q1 after family members return home from seeing loved ones over the holidays.
Here are some quick tips and housekeeping audits to get your ads to serve the right message to the right audience at the right time, and make the most of the holidays this season.
The obvious starter on promoting the right messaging is to ensure that you’re writing ad copy and holiday messaging that is reflective of the season and any promotions you are running.
However, let’s not forget some important components of this messaging:
Utilize ad customizers, such as countdown customizers and/or keyword insertion to make your ad copy both highly relevant to the user’s search query, and also to ensure that there is a sense of urgency to purchase and/or convert within the specified period.
FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) can be a crucial component to messaging during this time, as the path down the purchasing funnel is much shorter than normal, so there is already a sense of urgency at play.
So many advertisers are focused on shifting strategy this holiday season as we’re in a period of COVID recovery that many forget the everyday housekeeping items that, while tedious at times, are also incredibly important to improving your ad relevancy, quality scores, and competitiveness on the SERP.
Make sure to audit through any and all relevant ad extensions and ensure you’re 100% adopted across your account(s).
The large majority can and should, as a best practice, be added at the account level so that you at least have a catch-all in place.
Then, you can always further specify if a campaign or ad group should have a different variation (the most filtered level is the one that will take precedent).
Common ad extensions used during EOY seasonality are:
- Sitelinks and Expanded Sitelinks.
- Promotion Extensions.
- Price Extensions.
- Action Extensions.
- Location Extensions.
- Callout Extensions.
- Structured Snippet Extensions.
- Review Extensions.
- Merchant Promotions for Shopping Campaigns.
- Shipping Annotations for Shopping Campaigns.
To serve the right messaging to the right audience, your campaign strategy must be tailored to this approach.
For example, during this period with elevated volume where it is imperative to your overall strategy that users are moving down your funnel from awareness through consideration to conversion, try breaking out your campaigns in a similar way.
Create general non-brand search campaigns and in-market audience campaigns for an awareness and consideration play.
Then, utilize varying levels of remarketing lists on Target and Bid with specific messaging to bring users back into the funnel from consideration to conversion.
From an auditing standpoint, and at a bare minimum, ensure that you have all relevant In-Market Audiences and Remarketing Lists associated with your campaigns at least in observation mode (Bid Only setting with 0% bid modifier, so it is simply gathering data).
This will help to inform future optimization decisions based on your own data.
However, to take advantage of this seasonality, it is recommended that you also check and make sure that you have at least a +20% bid modifier on the most relevant audiences and that you’re revisiting performance frequently.
Even if you’re using automated bidding strategies within the UI, these bids can act as a signal to the algorithm that you’d like to place more or less weight on the designated audiences.
For In-Market Audiences, Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising have also been coming out with holiday audiences for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
These can be highly relevant and beneficial audiences to associate and put a positive bid modifier on, to help boost your performance.
The other perspective to take for relevant businesses is on exclusions.
Exclude a converting audience (remarketing) list or customer match list from your existing campaigns to ensure that you’re only bringing in those that haven’t converted within X number of days and that your ads and promotions only serve to those that haven’t yet moved through the funnel.
You can also use these same lists to target in their own campaigns and try to cross-sell your products to them.
Get your campaigns to serve ads at the right time, as well, by running these audits:
In order to capitalize on increased searches, consider lifting any ad scheduling or dayparting that you have in place for evergreen times where you’re limiting traffic, as search behavior is not the “norm” during this time.
At the same time, also make changes to bid up when you see peak traffic and conversion times.
Automated Rules can come in handy for a variety of reasons during this time.
For example, you can automate campaigns and/or ad copy to launch and end at a specified day/time.
You can also set up alerts to come to your inbox, or even automated changes to happen, when a campaign hits its daily limit and budgets are depleted, in order to keep your ads running throughout the day and avoid them from not serving suddenly.
To put your mind at ease, there is a setting for you to cap out at a max budget.
Make sure to run a quick keyword performance report and include Keyword Delivery so that you can see if there are, for example, exact match non-brand or competitor keywords that are bid below the first page, or branded keywords that are bid below mainline or best position.
This is a quick way to ensure you’re staying competitive on the SERP, which is essential during peak seasonality.
You can pull a similar audit for your shopping campaign by pulling a Product Partition Report to see if there are any products that are below the benchmark bid and/or with low impression share.
Dynamic Search Ads (DSA)
Dynamic Search Ads, or DSA, can be a great way to create a catch-all and capture any search terms you may not be more specifically targeting within your search campaigns.
You can also use this to mine for relevant search queries by pulling an SQR periodically during the holiday season and adding them into your search campaigns.
Quick tip: Just make sure to add any exact match keywords you’re targeting within your search campaigns as negative keywords within your DSA campaign(s) to prevent overlap.
Search behavior and queries during the holidays can be very different from what you’d see throughout the rest of the year.
Make sure to keep an eye on emerging and rising queries within your campaigns and vertical as a whole, and add them into your campaigns and/or bid up to where necessary.
Don’t know where to start? Run a year-over-year keyword analysis and make sure to add in any relevant queries from the previous holiday season into your current campaigns or create holiday-specific campaigns.
Also, always reach out to your Google Ads or Microsoft Advertising reps to ask if they can run a competitive keyword gap analysis or have any insights on your vertical that you can leverage.
These audits and analyses can help you make informed changes to your account so that your ads are being triggered at the right time when someone is searching for your products or business.
The holiday season is an important time for many Health and Wellness advertisers, and it’s imperative to give your accounts the attention they need and deserve for your business to take full advantage of this seasonality.
Take the time to re-evaluate strategy, run audits, and remember the basics to ensure that the right messages are being served to the right audience at the right time and that your Health and Wellness accounts are, well… healthy and well!
Hope you all have a very happy, healthy, and safe holiday season.
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Featured image: Shutterstock/svetlanabalyn