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To Every Bid There is a Season: 4 Quick Tips for Seasonal Optimization in Paid Search

To Every Bid There is a Season: 4 Quick Tips for Seasonal Optimization in Paid Search

By   January 23rd, 2014

The holidays are over, but seasonality should be a consideration for search marketers all year round.

Seasonal shifts in consumer behavior influence paid search performance, and create a constantly changing bidding landscape. Fortunately, this opens up some great opportunities to grow both conversions and revenue. With a little effort to manage seasonal data and constant promotional changes, optimizing for seasonality can be an excellent way to edge out the competition.

Let’s take a look at 4 quick tips for seasonal optimization in paid search:

  1. 1) Schedule bid adjustments based on forecasted performance. We recommend deploying boost schedules, where bids are increased or decreased for specific time periods, in order to optimize for fluctuations in conversion rate. Assigning individual boost schedules across products and services provides the flexibility to bid aggressively or dampen bids for in-season and off-season products and services. Also utilize a time-of-day or day-of-week strategy based on significant conversion rate trends in order to optimize campaigns for cyclical effects on consumer behavior.
  2. 2) Factor conversion latency into bid calculations. Depending on your business, the time between an initial click and the eventual conversion and revenue can range from the same session to several months. In order to optimize bids using a complete picture of ROI, it’s best to find an automated way to exclude the most recent days from bid calculations. Account for latent conversions and revenue by dynamically extending or shortening a rolling date exclusion window based on your business needs.
  3. 3) Identify and exclude outlying data. Advertisers occasionally experience atypical increases and decreases in conversion rate due to promotions and competitor activity. Use a platform with multi-layer filters and alerts to quickly identify these changes and manage by exception. A platform will make it easy to exclude specific dates and date ranges from bid calculations across campaigns, products, and services – saving you a lot of time and hassle.
  4. 4) Schedule campaigns to align with products and promotions. Make sure to update your ad creative to reflect seasonal promotions and expand campaigns to align with seasonal interest. A platform can be helpful in providing a streamlined workflow and automation for these tasks. By effectively executing on your promotional calendar, you’ll be better able to engage with your audience about in-season products and services.

These best practices were adapted from a recent Marin Software white paper, Navigating the New Paid Search Landscape. With a focus on the financial services industry, the paper is a good read for anyone running paid search in a highly competitive vertical. It includes tips on efficient budget allocation, online/offline conversions, building brand equity, and adapting to changing business requirements.