Christmas is just around the corner, so is your site and online marketing ready for the silly season? In this blog post we’ve decided to cover some of the most important things you will need to consider.

Note: This post is mainly relevant to e-commerce stores. Obviously if you are selling truck axles, or something equally as un-festive, you are going to need a very different strategy.

Getting Your Online Marketing Ready For Christmas

It’s not business as usual. The first thing you need to do is…. change! December is not just another month in the calendar. The very nature of the web will be changing around you over this period, so it’s essential your web presence does the same.

Make changes to your site. Whether that means adding new content focusing on Christmas, or even going a bit Google and changing your logo to be a bit more festive, you will need to make some changes to get the most out of the season.
Make sure you have links going to the new content on your site. There is no point making a great Christmas presents page if nobody can find it. Link to it from a banner on your homepage, or put a ribbon at the top of your site. Make it obvious!
Promote your popular products. If you have a product you know is at the top of everyone’s wish list this year, or has always proven to be a good seller at Christmas time, promote it! Put it in a place where everyone can see it.
Make your shipping times obvious. Let all your users know what your final shipping dates for Christmas are. This will not only make sure they don’t miss out, but can help assure them that they will get the goods on time, and encourage them to buy from you!

So perhaps you have now got some work to do, here is the next big question: When do you need to do it?

Christmas PPC – Getting the Timing Right

The Christmas rush is all about timing. Getting your product to the market at the right time can make a huge difference to your sales. Search traffic around Christmas related terms really picks up in mid to late November, and peaks in early December. The Google Insights graph below shows the Christmas search traffic for one of the most obvious keywords, ‘gifts’.

Christmas Gifts search volume

(Above: Google Insights graph showing search volume for the keyword gifts in New Zealand)

Using ComScore worldwide data, Volusion, the ecommerce system providers, put the following chart together showing that the date when most people are buying for Christmas keeps on getting earlier and earlier each year, with their prediction for 2009 being the 8th of December.

Biggest Online Christmas Shopping Day

Above: Volusion’s graphical representation of the busiest online shopping days. Sourced from:

So armed with the above knowledge, you should be able to schedule your online advertising budget according to when you expect the most people to come to your site. Watch it carefully though, NZ consumers are likely to behave a bit differently still to their US counterparts.

Obviously if your last day for delivery by Christmas is the 20th, you dont want to allocate half your budget to the final rush. However, if you have ‘virtual’ products that don’t need delivery you may find you need to allocate more to attract those last minute spenders who need something on Christmas Eve.

What It Means for Your Online Advertising:

With the increase in the search volume, there tends to be a jump in the CPC bids you can expect to pay over this time. Google have provided us with an example average CPC graph for the keyword ‘toys’, as is shown below.

CPC increase over Christmas

(Above: Google provided CPC data on CPCs for the keyword ‘toys’ over the Christmas period.)

It is therefore essential that you are focusing on having the highest AdWords keyword quality scores possible to ensure you don’t start paying significantly more just to keep up with the other advertisers. A higher quality score will mean you won’t be affected by this as much.

There will be a lot of new keywords related to Christmas that you should be targeting around this time, and you should be editing your creative to target Christmas shoppers. First Rate Consultants are starting to trial different creative strategies already to see what will work best for your target market this year.

To really target all those new keywords and the higher bids you will likely face, the online campaigns will need some additional budget. If you are not able to give your campaign a budget injection, consider using some of your January budget in December, as January is generally a much quieter month.

If you have an email you want to send out to your user base, make sure you time it right. If you send it too late, you may find most people have already completed their online shopping. Send it too early and you will find your open rates suffer as nobody takes interest.

Is It Too Late For This Christmas..?

It’s not too late to change your site or your online advertising campaigns for this Christmas, just get onto it right now! First Rate consultants have already been working hard on providing recommendations for First Rate clients, and are looking forward to the jump in traffic and sales that December can bring.

But if you are hoping to rank really well in the organic rankings for that product you know is going to sell well… that is going to be a lot more difficult.

Why not contact First Rate about an SEO project to make sure you get there by next Christmas..?