The holiday season brings with it a lot of emotions: Joy, thankfulness, and excitement for most. However, Q4 in the digital world can be the most stressful time of the year. Therefore, it’s more important than ever to be up to date on the latest trends in the industry if you want to be a digital marketing gladiator. Okay, maybe “gladiator” is a bit extreme, but you get the idea. This post addresses some of the biggest year-over-year differences in Search Marketing.

Marking your calendar

First, it’s important to stay ahead of the most important dates of the holiday season. For example, retail clients are expected to have some of their most successful revenue days during Tuesdays and Wednesdays this year. The chart depicted below from Mastercard Advisors and eMarketer Information lays out the latest projections for the upcoming holiday season. It’s important to ensure your normally efficient dayparting adjustments aren’t hindering some of your potential ecommerce weekday revenue during the upcoming holiday season.

important retail days during the holiday season, popular holiday shopping days

What’s new in 2019

It is important to consider the increase in automated bidding strategies that digital marketers will be leveraging this season. We expect a significant increase in advertisers leveraging automated bidding strategies this Q4 in part because Google has been heavily promoting the use of their automated bidding solutions over the past twelve months. This equates to an increase in competition from businesses that may not have appeared on the search engine results page (SERP) in 2018. This increase in competition may cause higher cost per clicks (CPCs) and requires digital marketers to be extremely conscious of their CPCs and impression share during the fourth quarter.

Get your house in order

It’s also important to go back to basics with your accounts to certify they are more buttoned up than Don Draper during a ‘Mad Men‘ pitch over the holiday season. Check your top keywords in a live environment to confirm appropriate position and audit the competitive landscape. Check your daily budgets to ensure you aren’t missing out on incremental revenue.

Leverage the proper assets

Leverage sitelinks and promotion extensions to capitalize on sales your accounts are running. Utilize merchant promotions in shopping campaigns to set yourself apart from fellow advertisers. Confirm that your ads are leveraging the third headline and second description line. Your digital ad is like a billboard on the highway of the internet. The more text you include in the ad, the more “real estate” on the SERP that your client controls.

Know your audience

Check your audience lists to confirm that you have the most desirable lists created whether it’s customer lists or RLSA. Don’t forget about asking your clients what customer lists are available especially for previous year’s convertors. This can help increase traffic and drive incremental revenue from users that previously weren’t considering purchasing from your client during the holiday season.

Understand the time differences in 2019 compared to 2018

Finally, there are some unique nuances with year’s holiday season. For instance, 2019 will only have 28 shopping days, six fewer than in 2018.  Additionally, Black Friday falls on payday this year for most people. This hasn’t happened for several years and may cause an increase in purchase intent driven search volume, conversions, conversion rate, and average order value for your clients.

It’s crucial that we follow the steps above to help drive the most revenue possible for our clients this quarter. We can’t forget the basics, but it’s also important that we’re monitoring the SERP battlefield,  throughout the day and fending off any fellow advertisers.

Joe Hazen joined the Rakuten Marketing team in May of 2018 and is quickly approaching five years in the digital marketing industry. He is currently working as an Account Manager and specializes in paid search. In his free time, Joe enjoys watching sports and spending time with his wife, daughter, and dog.

Ready to super charge your holiday search efforts? Get in touch with us today.