October 25, 2012, 11:06 AM

Five tips to improve paid search over the holidays

American Frame reveals how it tweaked its search ads for better performance.

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With the holiday season fast approaching, retailers likely don’t have time to revamp their sites’ designs or restructure their entire holiday e-mail campaign strategies. But they can still tweak their paid search ad copy.

Laura Jajko, vice president of marketing and sales for online frame retailer American Frame Corp., shared five of her company’s findings after testing the structure, design and copy of her paid search ads in a webinar with search engine marketing firm NetElixir Inc., which provides search engine marketing services to the retailer.

Below are American Frame’s paid search (excluding mobile) test findings and tips:

  • Highlight your brand name: Using its name—American Frame—in paid search headlines increased click-through rates 11%, on average, compared to when the retailer did not put its name in paid search headlines.
  • Add an offer: When American Frame’s paid search copy features an offer, such as free shipping on orders over $75, the click-through rates are, on average, 19% higher than ads without a promotion. Jajko says the retailer settled on the $75 minimum order for free shipping after testing free shipping with a minimum purchase and without, and finding no difference in click-though results.
  • Show reviews: When American Frame included in paid search ads reviews from consumers about their experience with American Frame, click-through rates rose 7%,Jajko says. American Frame uses vendor ResellerRatings.com to place consumers’ star ratings of products  into its ads.
  • Link to product categories: When American Frame added relevant links to product categories based on the user’s search term, click-through rates increased by 5%, Jajko says. For example, a paid search ad for metal frames could include a direct link to that product category on American Frame.
  • Insist shoppers ‘Buy Now!’: Simple changes can make a big difference. Adding the phrase “Buy Now!” with an exclamation point and placed at the end of a paid search ad boosted click-through rates rose 25% and conversions 19%.

NetElixir CEO Udayan Bose also unveiled his company’s holiday paid search predictions (not including mobile) for 2012, based on data from retailer clients.

NetElixir predicts that from Thanksgiving to Christmas this year compared to last:

  • Cost-per-click will  increase 9%
  • The number of clicks will rise 14%
  • Click-through rates will go up 5%
  • Average order volume from paid search will increase 2%
  • Paid search conversion rates will increase 10%
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