Top 5 Holiday Trends from the 2015 Bing Retail Summit

On July 15, Microsoft hosted their first ever NYC Bing Retail Summit. The summit included advertisers and brands coming together to learn about Bing’s new enhancements along with tips and tricks for the upcoming holiday season.

During the summit, there was a panel of industry professionals, along with Elite SEM’s own Sr. Account Executive, Yad Bhatti, providing tips for retailers for this year’s holiday season.

Below are my top 5 key takeaways from the summit along with my own personal spin on how this holiday season should be approached.

  1. Leverage Historical Data to Your Advantage
    You have the data from last year – use it! The best way to learn and grow is taking what you have gathered previously and shaping a new and improved strategy.So, where do you start? First, start by pulling performance reports for the Holiday period – I would look at the full month of November and December (potentially even October). Pull key metrics: impressions, clicks, avg. cpc, spend, orders, ROAS etc. Once you have this data, start crafting a story. On which days, or even more granular at what hours of these days were you most profitable. What time did demand peak? When did it trail off? Use pivot tables, graphs and charts to help formulate your story. I’m sure you can find a key time period when conversions sky rocketed (or even plummeted) – use what you know in order to better adjust bid strategies for this year.
  2. Utilize All of Bing Extensions
    We all know that having an ad that is “pretty” with all the bells and whistles, essentially helps to push your competition further down the Search page and ultimately helping to improve CTR. Because ad extensions are so important, and most of us leverage within Google – make sure that you are not neglecting Bing. Within Bing we can also create fancy ads and include: sitelinks, locations extensions, call extensions, product extensions etc.During holiday, when the market is already very saturated, it’s important more than ever to make sure that you stand out amongst competitors. Do so with the help of Bing ad extensions.
  3. Uncheck Search Partners
    Not every channel or site performs the same. So make sure that you are setting up your campaigns to succeed in advance of Holiday season. Look into your data and reports and see how performance varies between the Search Network and the Search Partners Network. Often times, you may forget that your ads are potentially appearing on sites that may not even fit your brand personality. Uncheck Search Partners if performance is inefficient to help you meet your goals!
  4. Utilize Bing Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSAs)
    Many advertisers have been leveraging Google RLSAs for quite some time now. However, Bing RLSAs is still a feature that not every advertiser is currently leveraging. Make the most out of your campaign strategy this holiday season by implementing Bing RLSAs. This is a nice way to compliment your non brand keyword strategy. Harp on those customers who have shown interest and really try to incentive them differently the next time they make a search. It’s holiday season, people are looking to make a purchase. Remarket to these users in a smart way, through RLSAs.
  5. Pay Attention to Assisted Conversions
    We are always asking ourselves – how can we expand? How do we gain new customers? Ultimately, it boils down to non-brand tactics and more upper funnel initiatives. Yes, upper funnel, by definition usually doesn’t perform “positively” or may not hit every goal we would like it to. However, many marketers and brands are not looking at the full picture. One way to help show the value of non-brand is by looking into your Analytics data and focusing more on assisted conversions.I see this quite often, where potentially a non-brand keyword like “black leather shoes” looks to be spending spending spending, and receive little to no orders. However, if you look at how many assisted conversions this non-brand keyword has driven – this will tell a different story. Potentially, “black leather shoes” didn’t convert right away or at all, however, assisted another conversion, let’s say “zappos.com” to make that conversion. But, where did that initial click and conversion stem from? That’s right “black leather shoes” – the keyword you may have wanted to pause initially because of “poor” performance.

It’s important, at all times and definitely during Holiday periods that we are not simply pausing keywords because they don’t have any conversions associated. Look to see how many assisted conversions non-brand keywords drive before pulling the plug. Remember, it’s holiday season – make the most of your campaigns and portfolio.

Now that I’ve laid out some of the tips and tricks for holiday – what are your plans or best practices? Sound off below!

Happy (almost) Holidays!

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