India purchases 10X during the last 3 months of the year - the glorious festive season - when sales, discounts and business strategies lock horns to reach shoppers in India, and break their banks doing it. The legacy E-Commerce players maximise their budgets, and the younger players have a difficult time to manage costs and have qualified transactions. We at Sokrati, as Google’s Premier Partners, are putting together a highly insightful and intelligence-driven webinar on how to have your stellar golden quarter, no matter the size of your business.
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The first thing we’d want to plan is to make business objectives coherent with marketing activities. Step 1 would be to understand the total amount of marketing budgets available and how you wish to space them across different peaks. Budget planning should keep in mind the expected surge in traffic during festive peaks in October, promotions and competition management in November and Christmas and New Years season.
Next thing would be to choose your objective. Marketing activities should be a derivate of clear goals to be achieved. An end goal of transactions would need a different approach in optimisations compared to incremental revenue. Another thing to clear at this stage is the affordable elasticity in cost per transaction. If you are currently running at a CPT of Rs. 500, you need to identify an upper threshold until where you can experiment.
Seasonality will play a major role in the number of searches happening around categories. Categories like Chocolates, Gifting items would be focus for December, whereas Apparels are going to see more traction during October, November. Electronics and Accessories will see a higher push throughout OND.
Once we have the preparations ready in terms of budgets, goals, and seasonality, we move to understand how all these fall in place for our assortment. Understanding your catalog’s strength across each of these variables is the route to make OND most successful. While some categories offer flexibility in goals, some are limited by seasonality.
To understand these better, we first need to filter out the heroes! Hero’s are categories or brands that consistently work for you and drive more than 40% of your transactions.
The next thing to do would be to look at year on year trends to see how different categories reacted last year, how devices performed and the incremental orders gained from Tier II, Tier III locations are crucial to make the most out of OND. For example, sporting goods, winterwear, School Uniforms would perform differently across months and winterwear will see far more uptick in sales towards the last two weeks of December. These trends need to be kept in mind before formulating the final marketing strategy.
Next, is about how to address under-performing categories.
OND is going to witness an increase in CPC’s across verticals and advertisers need to be cautious about the cost paid per click. While we go head on in all our best categories, its also crucial to avoid bidding war for categories that are traditionally under-performing. A wise step would be to up the game in September for all under-performing categories. This means that we drive more volumes for these categories before competition increases.
Lets now take a look at some interesting analytics of what to expect from OND. The data is taken from some of the largest e-commerce enterprise clients we manage to help come up with what trends to expect for the golden quarter.
Number of impressions, a direct result of number of searches happening are going to increase multi-fold, especially for apparel, electronic, home decor and accessories categories.
Conversion rates are going to increase by close to 20% overall and by 35% on your best offers as shoppers are also more inclined to make more purchases.
Click throughs are going to increase as consumers are looking to make a more informed choice about their choice of purchase. Expect a lot of comparison searches, offer and coupon checks etc.
Cost per click, again, a direct metric of how aggressive the competition is, will increase by 25%.
With all this data in place, the sharp approach here would be to see how each variable plays out and then play with the math. For example, an increase in CR by 35% with increase in CPC by 25% might sound like an overall increase in transactions at lower cost. But we should also keep in mind that this might be the result of offers and discounts that will bring down your overall revenue. Average order value trends, add2cart trends also need to be checked to make a clear cut strategy.
Now that we understand what to expect for OND, here are some key things you can go to make the most out of it.
The first step would be to be there where your users are. And where are the users? Users are primarily looking to get the best deal for every buck which means offers, discounts, search terms are very important. Google trends shows that we see a 24% increase in searches happening around offer related themes. More classic example is around how people specifically searched for GOSF keywords during this time of the year.
These keywords are also seasonal and hence will be more expensive. Keywords specifically around Dussehra Collection’, ‘Christmas offers’ also suggest a higher purchase intent and hence should be used in your feed enhancements.
Also to keep in mind is how titles need to be more attractive and if possible, have an ad-messaging built in. For example appending, Exclusive collection, Diwali collection etc.’ in your title can gain more CTR compared to a generic title.
Merchant Promotions are an extension to what we have discussed about ad-messaging. Promotions offer you a 35 character real estate and grabs the user attention faster and better. They highlight your USP’s and give users information around offers before they enter the website, thereby reducing funnel steps. It also let audience know where you stand out.
Important thing to note here is that promotions take 24-48 hours to be approved by Google and go live. Plan your promotions well in advance as we these are key opportunities that impact your CTR and CR significantly.
As a recap to what we have discussed in webinar 1, use sale_price attribute as well to highlight discounted prices.
As we have discussed in an earlier slide on catalog management, Identifying your heroes is the first step towards making OND successful. Heroes can be brands or categories or even level 2 or level 3 sub-categories that will work for us very confidently.
Once we have identified the heroes, we recommend you to make a separate campaign that will help with different bid and budget management, separate device adjustments, location adjustments, negatives and different reporting. Even more effective would be creating fine-grained adgroups and product groups to have differential bidding in place.
For example, a different campaign for imitation jewellery compared to precious stones is important as the behaviour for each of these categories is very different. Precious stones are expected to work well during Diwali whereas imitation jewellery would pick up during later half of December.
When we talked about enhancing the feed, we wanted to be where users are. Well, not at all the places!
An important practise to incorporate for OND is how you weed out showing ads on inefficient searches.
Lets take a moment here to look at different funnel searches and what they mean. The first level of search in a users Shopping journey is awareness/consideration search where the user is exploring options to buy, example ‘best phones online’. As he goes down the funnel, the purchase intent increases and the search term during this phase would be ‘iphone 6s coupon code’.
In this context, search terms around ‘prices, comparisons’ are very top of the funnel where users are very likely to click on your ad but not purchase immediately. These keywords end up spending a ton of money without driving any conversions. While the obvious solution would be to negate these search terms, the intelligent way here is to actually create separate campaigns to target these search terms at lower bids allowing you to still show ads for these at the desired cost efficiency.
While we talked about how we need to identify hero categories, we also need to identify hero products. To give you a backdrop of why this important, iPhone 6S alone contributed to 13% of transactions from Mobile phone category in last OND.
Another classic example would be the Star Wars Droid toy that was a key seller across UK market last OND. The droid toy had contributed to almost 15% of overall transactions for some of the retailers we manage. And these statistics make it very clear that we need to highlight this a lot more.
So, identify your hero products and ensure a high visibility for them. You can also curate the search terms that these products need to show up on and have differential bidding for mobile, desktop and tablet.
Remarketing, as we know plays a very important role to creating a loyal user base.
On an average more than 49% of the people take at least 2 website visits before making a purchase! Online Shopping carts are abandoned over 70% of the times. Consumers don’t eventually buy 60% of the products left in their carts! Which makes it a very precious and dear channel to hold on to.
Remarketing becomes distinctly important in OND as consumers research a lot more on offers and competition before making the final decision. The tendency to come back to a website you have already viewed/bought a product is much much higher and these audience have almost 2.5x conversion rate compared to your generic campaigns. Maintaining a SI share of 95% on Remarketing is very important. Also, keep the RM lists updated with the latest audiences, more segmented audiences, similar audiences to reach out to the creamiest audience with the highest bids.
We have seen how OND is a very dynamic and volatile Quarter, because of zillion factors factoring in. User searches, competitors outbidding, discounts and offers, all of these impact your final transaction numbers.
Understanding such complex and fast-changing dynamics with ease is required before increasing/decreasing bids so that we don’t end up incurring unnecessary cost or even worse, missing out on opportunities that could have given us volumes.
Based on our previous experience, the ideal and most optimum solution is to use an automated and smart bidding optimiser that can take care of all data analytics and give you the best value for all your money. Predictive Bidding in itself is a slightly larger topic and beyong the scope of this webinar, but you can always write to us to get some help and suggestions on getting this implemented.
A Shopper’s purchase funnel involves his interactions with multiple ad formats before the final conversion. Initial interactions happen via display/push ad formats which are later moved to paid/organic/remarketing campaigns.
Shopping as a channel and user searches about your brand are heavily assisted by push advertising formats. Channels like Display, Youtube and running TVC’s are useful to create brand awareness. TVC’s can create as much as 3x increase in brand searches and overall transactions by about 45%.
Mobile, again is an assisting channel to create first interaction to consumers. Even though Mobile is going to witness a higher conversion rates than the existing benchmarks, CPT’s are still going to be on the higher side.
For all assisted transacting channels, we suggest you to use various data attribution models in Google Analytics to arrive at the right weightage of spends to be allocated. THis will help in understanding the overall value a channel or device type drives and how we can use it efficiently.
Should OND be the time of the year where small advertisers should focus heavily on getting First time transactors? Rather than focusing on regular shoppers? If Yes then what should be the focus categories? Low price categories or High Ticket categories, given that Mobile Phones are one of the most forward introductory categories for First time online shoppers. How to pace your spends during the OND period to get the maximum returns for a client whose focus is on ROI. What steps need to be taken post OND? What would the feed audit entail? Are offers and discounts required for selling duing the festive season or are there customers who follow different strategies. YOU DID discuss various stats around CPCs, conversion rates and impressions. Are there any stats on returns for festive season
Championing the Golden Quarter with Google Shopping - IN
Golden Quarter with
The Hows and Musts!
Rohit Kelkar and Manikantha S.Sokrati Inc. | www.sokrati.com
For limited distribution only.
The OND Scope
Festivals are getting BIGGER!
Increase in Search Volumes
for Festive terms
YOY Increase in OND Sales
Milestones to Achieve
Pre-Season During Season
Close in on your under-
Dussehra and Diwali.
Evenly placed promotional
Preparations are Key!
Catalog is King
What to Expect
Achievable Metrics from Supercharging this Festival Season
Cost per click
Google Shopping Ads work
with X million
marketers to deliver
Build confidence around your products or
services by including at least a few of these:
➔ Save on CPCs by 15%
➔ Searchers become ‘loyal’ users
➔ Higher transactions from your
How strong is your Feed?
Let us audit your GMC and Adwords accounts for free, and you’ll
learn everything you can do to make it up to 5X more convertible!
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