Five essential paid media tips for Christmas 2012

By David Tillett | 17 Oct 2012

Having a well thought out Paid Media strategy, can make all the difference between having a successful online campaign and falling behind. However, to stand out from the crowd, why not think about integrating your Paid Media campaign into other channels, such as Social Media. Here are five essential paid media tips for Christmas 2012.

  1. Google +

Google + already has had a pretty significant impact on both PPC and Natural Search and with Google's current drive to get as many advertisers as possible using the Social network, you can be sure that it has serious plans to integrate G+ into their entire suite of products. It's crucial therefore to act now and build up a presence on the Social platform.
So how do you get started if you don't already have a page? Essentially there are four relatively simple steps:

A) a Google+  Business Page - Firstly take a peek over at Google's G+ Business site,, this will provide you with all the tools necessary to create your advertiser page on the network.

B) Content - Content is king in Social Media, therefore be sure to brief your Social team on Google+ if they haven't briefed you already! Ensure that content is being frequently added and user posts are being responded to. Don't put all your eggs in one basket and only focus on Facebook.

C) Verification - The most important step in creating a Google+ Business page is the verification process. Verifying your page effectively means that Google recognises it as being authentic and linked to your business. To check if your page is verified simply look for a little tick box next to your profile name:

In order to get verified there are four basic requirements:

-Your Google+ page must be authorised by your commercial entity, organization, brand, or product.

-Your Google+ page's profile must contain a link to your organization's website.

-Your organization's website must connect to your Google+ page, by adding the Google+ badge or by adding a snippet of code.

-A meaningful number of people must have added your Google+ page to their circles.

The third step is often the most confusing for advertisers, as the link between the website and G+ page needs to be done both ways.

D) Adwords Social Extensions - Once your page is verified, you will then have the advantage of being able to implement Social Extensions within your Adwords Adcopy. Simply click on the Ad Extensions tab within Adwords and select Social Extensions to link your G+ page to your Adwords campaigns. Google have reported advertisers seeing as much as 22% uplift in CTR as a result of Social Extensions, the biggest increase seen from an Ad extension since Sitelinks was launched! See the Social Extensions in action below:

Google + can also act as a great brand defence tool. Once you are verified, the right hand section of the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), which would typically be reserved for paid search listings, in effect turns into a hybrid Google + / Natural Search space for core brand searches:

Having a presence on G+ will not only benefit your reach and volume over this Christmas period, but it will also follow through way into 2013and beyond.

         2. Facebook

If you are a retailer that generates a large proportion of your Q4 / Q1 revenue from the Christmas sale period, now is the perfect time to use Facebook as a mechanism to acquire a strong "fan base". You can then capitalise on this investment across the latter half of Q4 by pushing promotional messages to the group once you are in sale period. As well as sales that you will get from the initial investment, you can essentially remarket to these users during the sale period to exaggerate ROI further.

         3. Happy Mondays

Two dates retailers should have noted in their 2012 calendars are the 23rd November (Black Friday), and 26th November (Cyber Monday), but what about December? If we compare calendar dates between December 2011 and 2012, there is clearly more scope this year to capitalise on "last order delivery dates" in conjunction with the typical Monday sales rush:

Advertisers are effectively awarded an extra Monday in 2012, with which to potentially guarantee delivery before Christmas. When cutting up your Q4 budget make sure you phase your budget in line with your last order dates in order to squeeze as many sales out of the festive period as possible.

         4. Google Merchant Feed

If you haven't got a robust Google Merchant Feed currently in place, use Q3 to task your developers to structure it accordingly so that you can make the best use of Google Product Extensions and PLAs (Product Listing Ads) in time for the Q4 peak. Google is constantly testing ways in which to display PLAs / Extensions in order to try and maximise CTR. We have also seen CPAs from PLAs which are comparable to those delivered from brand, therefore don't be left behind simply because your feed isn't in a good shape.

Ensure your feed is structured in a way that you can create granular campaigns in Adwords which can be filtered by "brand" or "product type" variables. This will allow for more effective campaign management.

         5. Bestsellers

In the lead up to Christmas, keep note of what is likely to be the best sellers across your categories and work with your buyers to ensure you have enough stock to meet demand. As an example, Hamleys have recently released what they believe to be the top toys for Xmas 2012:

Hamleys Top Toy List 2012

-Monster High Dolls, (Mattel)

-Web Shooting Spider-Man, (Hasbro)

-Moshi Monster App Monster, (Vivid)

-Subbuteo, (Paul Lamond)

-Innotab 2, (VTech)

-Nerf Elite Hail Fire, (Hasbro)

-Barbie Train to Trot Tawny, (Mattel)

-Master Moves Mickey, (Mattel)

-The Lord of the Rings, The Battle of Helms Deep, (Lego)

-LeapPad2, (LeapFrog)

-Cabbage Patch Kids, (Jakks)

Create your Adwords campaigns for these bestsellers as early as possible in order to build Quality Score and traction in the SERPs Utilise Product Listing Ads / Extensions to further boost your prominence in the search rankings.

Create your Adwords campaigns for these bestsellers as early as possible in order to build Quality Score and traction in the SERPs Utilise Product Listing Ads / Extensions to further boost your prominence in the search rankings.