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With the holiday season around the corner, there's plenty to be mindful of. You may know exactly what to prepare for... or you may not. Regardless, we have some insight for you. 

When it comes to holiday sales, your success is going to rely on solid product data, attention to detail, careful planning, active monitoring, and relevant optimization.

Check out this comprehensive series of general and channel-specific tips for optimal holiday digital marketing results:

General tips

  • The general health of your campaigns can usually be determined by looking at three KPIs: impressions, clicks, and conversions.
  • Other important KPIs to consider: conversion rate (CVR), cost-of-sale percentage (COS), estimated cost-of-sale (ECOS), average order value (AOV), return on ad spend (ROAS), average cost-per-click (aCPC), cost-per-acquisition (CPA), shopping cart abandonment (SCA), customer lifetime value (CLTV), and revenue.
  • Understanding your campaign KPIs is the first (and most important) step in campaign optimization. Identify those that need your attention, organize them in order of importance, continually monitor your campaigns, and act accordingly.
  • Every company needs a custom bidding strategy. Be sure to test your bids extensively – the best strategies are fine-tuned over time.
  • Businesses that use advanced analytics and big data have profitability and productivity rates 5% to 6% higher than their peers. You have to get the right kind of information, know how to analyze it, and be willing to act on what you learn.
  • Effective ways you can put analytics to work for you: split testing, decrease/stop spending on low-performing products, and increase spending on high-margin/top-performing products.

Google Shopping + Shopping Actions

Google shopping holiday product data optimization tips
  • If you’re not already on Google Shopping, what are you waiting for? It’s the most essential channel for you to be on. Get started now!
  • Titles can range from bad to excellent...  don’t just go with your gut. Refer to our optimization guide for best results.
  • You can include up to 5,000 characters in the description field, but Google recommends listing the most important keywords in the first 160-500 characters.
  • Consumers consistently make purchasing decisions based on images. It's crucial that your listings contain high quality images.
  • If an image is too small or too big, you'll receive an error and your listing will not go live. Additionally, Google won't accept images with added promotional text and/or other non-product elements.
  • Using a single ad group and a one-size-fits-all bid structure for your entire inventory is a recipe for disaster. You need separate ad groups and subdivide those with product groups as well – do so based on pricing, profit margin, brands, and other custom parameters.
  • Google Shopping campaign optimization is a key part of your selling strategy.
  • You'll want to exclude certain search queries, boost/suppress individual products, daypart/geotarget, identify top brands, and optimize your product data.
  • Google Merchant Promotions gives you the ability to distribute promotions online through your Google Shopping ads. Promotions must be redeemable at
  • checkout/time of purchase, expire within 6 months, and follow Google's promotion policies and requirements.
  • Up until recently, Google's ecommerce platform was split between Shopping and Express… but not anymore. The new Google Shopping provides an amazing opportunity for brands and for sellers. 
  • If you’re not already set up with Google Shopping Actions, setup is easy – especially if you’re already using Google Shopping; all you need to get started is a Google Shopping feed.
  • Check out our article on everything you need to know about Google Shopping Actions.
  • By default, all of the products in your Google Shopping Feed are opted-in to Shopping Actions. If you want to selectively list products on the “Sold on Google” marketplace side of Google Shopping, you can use the “excluded_destination” feed attribute to exclude products as needed.
  • A Shopping Actions feed has several optional attributes that aren’t found in a regular Shopping feed. Here’s a full list of those optional attributes.
  • Refer to this Shopping Actions insights article for all of GSAs reporting benefits and uses, and this overview on how it all works.
  • How to improve your retailer standards rating and using the retailer standards dashboard.
  • Reference this article on the best practices for maintaining your data for GSA.

Amazon

amazon holiday product data optimization tips
  • Selling on Amazon may not be for everyone, but the channel is essential for many brands and merchants. Check out this guide on determining whether Amazon is for you or not.
  • On Amazon (and other marketplaces), not all titles should follow the same format – title format depends on product category and type. But don’t hesitate to place long-tail keywords in product titles, just follow the recommended format and insert them accordingly.
  • Use optimized product details. On Amazon, every word matters – avoid keyword stuffing your titles, descriptions, bullet points, etc. Carelessly shoving keywords into these fields could send a lot of unqualified traffic to your product pages.
  • Descriptions should be written in complete sentences that are easy for customers to read and understand.
  • There is some overlap with the content used for descriptions and bullet points. Make sure you balance the information between the two fields and use the description to expand upon what you have listed out in the bullet points.
  • Bullet points allow you to highlight key product features, benefits, and other important pieces of information you want potential customers to know. Bullet points should be short, sweet, and to the point.
  • If you're not brand-registered and are selling the same product as other sellers, your image may not be the one chosen for the listing.
  • For main product images, use a white background and highlight the product. High quality images with zoom potential are key. In-use imagery is also greatly beneficial, as long as your main product images focus only on the product.
  • Amazon's Buy Box is the featured section on the product detail page where customers can click-to-add directly into their shopping carts. By default, FBA Sellers are eligible to win the Buy Box, but everyone else needs to meet certain requirements. Amazon rotates Buy Box winners, so don't give up – even if your competition seems to be dominating.
  • Actively answering seller questions could make all the difference. You may even find that you left out key info – be sure to address these questions and adjust your product info accordingly.
  • Amazon Sponsored Products puts your products right next to the heavy hitters… but Amazon decides which eligible sponsored products to feature based on bid, keywords, and likelihood to sell. For best results: write clean detailed titles, bid based on relevance, opt for quality over quantity, and budget tactically.

Facebook + Instagram

facebook and instagram product data holiday optimization tips
  • Retargeting is the most effective way to drive sales on Facebook and Instagram.
  • For ecommerce stores, Dynamic Product Ads are proven to be more effective than traditional Facebook/Instagram ads. These dynamic ads show shoppers relevant products that they considered but didn’t buy.
  • Consider this best practices article by Facebook business.
  • Facebook/Instagram image requirements are less strict than Google and Amazon, but you'll still want to follow best practices.
  • Carousel ads (desktop + mobile) allow you to display up to 10 images and/or videos per ad, each with their own link.
  • Collection ads (mobile online) lead customers to a full-screen, engaging ad experience.
  • Facebook/Instagram work better on select days/hours – running ads 24/7 can drain your budget and be ineffective. Go to your Ads Manager reports and use the Breakdown menu to see your campaigns by day. Use that data to discover the best times for advertising and set an appropriate custom schedule.
  • The more people see your ads, the less effective they’ll be – fight ad fatigue with ad rotation. On average, if your target audience has seen your ad for 4+ times, the CPC will increase significantly. Create several variations and set up your campaigns with different ads on multiple ad sets and set the ad sets to be active on different days/times.
  • If your ad has already converted people, it makes no sense to keep delivering the same ad to those people. You can create a custom audience of the converted audience and exclude them from your campaign’s audience. Create a custom audience of people who have visited relevant “converted” web pages and use the "exclude" feature to stop targeting people who have already converted on the offer.
  • To uncover your best-performing ad placements, use the Breakdown menu to filter ads by Placement. Optimize accordingly – increase bids on top-performing placements and remove placements that perform below minimum expectations.
  • With split testing, you can create multiple ad sets using a different variable for each set. Test them against each other to see what works best. Start by testing your ad design, copy, offer, placement, bidding, CTA, and campaign objective.

Walmart

walmart marketplace holiday product data optimization tips
  • Getting your products listed on Walmart is less complex than other marketplaces, but you will need to become an approved seller.
  • To sell on Walmart's marketplace, your products will each need a universally accepted product identifier (GTIN, UPC, EAN, ISBN, or ISSN).
  • Make your titles 50-75 characters in length for best results and use the following format: Brand + Clothing Size Group (if applicable) + Defining Quality + Item Name + Style (if applicable) + Pack Count
  • If the color of your item is something that customers are likely to search for, include color in the product name as well, and if your items are in a variant group, do not include the color in the product name – instead, include the available colors in the "shelf description" and "description."
  • In a product’s “shelf description,” include the 3 most important benefits or features of the item. This is a great place for important keywords you couldn’t fit into the title. Avoid repetition and keyword stuffing here.
  • A products “short description” appears above or below the shelf description, and it should further describe the item in the most informatively concise way possible. This section should elaborate on the shelf description and lead into the full description.
  • You have 250-300 words to work with in a product’s long description. Here you’ll want to go more in-depth with details that would answer most (if not all) questions that people might have about the item. Avoid useless information, keep it natural, and list all product benefits/features. Without keyword stuffing, use keywords that customers are likely to search for.
  • Like other marketplaces, you want your products to have as many attributes filled out as possible. The more relevant attributes you provide, the better your items should perform.
  • Same as other marketplaces: for main product images, use a white background and highlight the product. High quality images with zoom potential are key. Additional in-use pictures are always a good idea if they’re complementary to solid primary imagery that perfectly showcases the product.

Pinterest

pinterest holiday product data optimization tips
  • If your products have visual appeal, and you’re not already on Pinterest, you need to know what Pinterest has to offer.
  • Check out our guide on creating Shopping Ads on Pinterest.
  • Pinterest is a visual platformsolid imagery is vital. Images with bright, warm colors get far more engagement than cold and/or bland images; images with medium-light get 20x more repins than darker and overlit images; close-ups are effective, and unlike traditional marketplace and CSE images, images with too much white space don’t do as well – on Pinterest, stylized, in-use/action, and detail shots work best.
  • In certain cases, your pin(s) may stand out more if there is some text included. If you choose to use text, it needs to add context that supports the pin. People are likely to more quickly notice text on an image than they would notice caption text. Adding a CTA button can also be a good idea, as clicking anywhere on the image will take them to the relevant destination.
  • Use keywords in your pin’s caption – this is great for PPC campaigns, but also great for organic Pinterest marketing.
  • Use your product categories to structure campaigns to make it easier to manage negative keywords and optimize the rest of your ads.
  • Negative keywords are only to keep other brands out of your results – they shouldn't be used as a means of optimizing other aspects of your campaign.
  • Stay away from overly granular ad group structures and campaigns because that will spread your budget too thin.
  • When targeting conversions, Pinterest recommends targeting all placements (search, browse, and related pins) and devices.
  • Make the most of your optimization levers (budgets, bids, audiences) by putting similar product groups under the same ad group.
  • Over time, find your highest-performing groups and break away from the others for better optimization.
  • Bid & budget adjustments should be your primary optimization lever. Bid up where you’re seeing better performance and bid down where you’re seeing inefficiencies.

Conclusion

Whether you're an expert or a novice seller, you’ll want to make sure you’re maximizing your performance across all of your active channels. Every ecommerce channel is unique, even if some appear to be similar. There may be some general best practices that span across channels, but you don't want to use a "one size fits all" approach when it comes to channel optimization.

Be sure to also check out our full Marketer’s Guide to the Holidays and our Holiday Prep Checklist, where we provide a to-do list for all necessary holiday preparations. And as always, feel free to reach out to us – we can probably do a lot for you... if we already aren't already!