Winter is coming: How to prepare for the madness of Q4

£810m was spent online on Black Friday 2014, making it the biggest day for online UK sales ever. However, many big online retail brands weren’t prepared for the increase in traffic and their ads weren’t shown during this pivotal time.

It is therefore paramount to plan for Black Friday and Christmas so that your adverts stay up and running throughout the holiday season.

1. Test on sites like Load Impact to prepare for high levels of demand, reduce file sizes where possible, and increase bids when you anticipate spikes in demand.

2. Consider ad customisers for your holiday promotions, whereby ad text changes based on the criteria of the promotion.

3. Returning site visitors are twice as likely to convert than first time visitors, so offer promotions with Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA) to entice potential customers who have already visited your site within the last 180 days.  

Your mobile shopping audience must be key to your strategy. 30% of last year’s Black Friday revenue came from mobile and 93% of Christmas shoppers who research on mobile go on to make a purchase whether its in-store or online, however 1 in 5 UK retailers don’t have a mobile website! Make sure your ads have mobile-friendly landing pages and your mobile site loads in less than 4 seconds (the expected loading time by 83% of mobile users). For advice on this, head to PageSpeed Insights

Follow up on abandoned baskets

Christmas brings with it an increased risk of basket abandonment, as customers often hold off from purchasing to compare other prices.

It is therefore important to have a clear strategy in place for following up on these customers. An email followed by a special offer or discount is one way to tackle abandoned baskets and incomplete purchases.

1 third of holiday shoppers start shopping before the end of October.

Whilst many consumers start their holiday shopping in October, queries for gift categories tend to start to grow from August.

With the madness of Q4 just around the corner, now is the perfect time to start preparing.