As we begin a new year, it's the perfect time for retail businesses to reflect on their marketing strategies and gear up for a successful 2024. In the dynamic landscape of digital marketing, particularly in the realm of Google Ads, staying ahead of the curve is essential for continued success. In this blog post, we'll explore a step-by-step guide to revitalising your Google Ads campaigns for a fresh start in 2024.
By the end of this, you may have a few New Year’s resolutions for your PPC campaigns!
Before we start looking ahead, it’s worth looking back at the past year and analysing our PPC campaigns. Consider your KPIs whether that be ROI, revenue etc. What did you set out to achieve, and where did you end up? Were there any particular campaigns that out-performed the others, or lagged behind? Remember, different campaigns can have different KPIs (e.g. awareness vs conversion activity)
Think back on the elements that made your campaigns successful as well as the difficulties you encountered. It's critical to refine your plan by learning from both successful and unsuccessful outcomes. Knowing what went well lets you play to your strengths, and taking the time to evaluate what you’ve learned about your PPC campaigns gives you a chance to seize new opportunities in 2024.
“What does success look like for your PPC campaigns?” is a key question to ask not just yourself, but other key stakeholders. Twelve months is a long time in the marketing world, and things may have changed in your industry or business. Rising product costs may have impacted your margins. Do your goals from 2023 still align with your business objectives in 2024?
Make sure you’re all agreed on what your KPIs should be. Could this be increasing revenue by X%, increasing profit margins, or ROI? Setting clear and realistic goals is essential for shaping your campaign strategies. Goals act as a compass, guiding your efforts toward measurable outcomes. Proving that you’ve achieved what you set out to do, will make those meetings with your boss much easier!
Avoid the temptation to blend all your PPC activity into a single ROI. Different networks will have different goals based on who you’re targeting, or the funnel position. For example, it’d be unfair to compare ROI for Video against Shopping, given where they sit on the funnel. Views or traffic would likely be the goal for video, versus revenue or ROI for shopping. Take the time to step back, consider what each campaign is trying to accomplish, and group those with similar objectives together for your analysis and reporting.
If you haven't already, you should know what your budgets for the next twelve months are going to look like. Consider your allocation on branded and non-branded terms, awareness vs conversion-based activity, country, or even Google/Bing. It’ll look different for each business, but take the time to decide what’s best for you based on your goals.
A well-planned budget is the key to success. Demand varies by industry, and it’s key to capture it all year round. Ensure that your budget accommodates all peaks throughout the year, not just Black Friday and Christmas. Consider those smaller peaks throughout the year. For example Valentine’s, Mother’s, and Father’s day. Plus those consumer moments like back to school, and the seasons changing.
Consider using tools like Performance Planner if you’re not sure when your demand peaks are. For example the term “chocolate gifts” unsurprisingly peaks around Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Christmas. This would tell an advertiser it’s worth investing more in these periods. Google Trends is also another great free tool to look at indexed search interest levels of categories and keywords.
Historical account data can also help you here. Look for changes in conversions, CVR, traffic etc. What could they correlate to?
There’s also an argument to having a ‘test & learn’ pot of money. This is something to set aside for a new beta or channel. For example video, or Demand Gen. The latter of which has recently come out of Beta, and is a good opportunity to get ahead of the game. Things may or may not work, but unless you test you’ll never know!
This is a general example for a client of ours in the home & garden industry. Based on their objectives and budget this was the approach we took. Budget splits are not a one-size-fits-all approach, many factors can influence how much you decide to invest at various stages of the funnel. Consider your goals & KPIs when setting budgets for different funnel stages.
Who’s guilty of not refreshing their creatives often enough? We refresh our creatives often on Meta, so why not Google?
Consider refreshing your ad creatives. Visuals, copy, and overall messaging play a significant role in capturing clicks. Performance Max and Responsive Search Ads both have a handy report for you to see which assets are not performing well. These reports should give you a good idea of the priorities when it comes to that creative refresh.
At the same time, ensure your messaging is up to date and that your ad’s tone of voice matches that of your business in 2024.
Q4 has passed and with it a potential goldmine of performance data. Hopefully, we know what went well, and what could be improved. From here, commit to continuous testing and optimisation. Consider A/B testing to understand what resonates best with your audience. Experiment with different new assets, headlines & descriptions for example. Do they perform better than the ones already in place?
If you’re an e-commerce brand and aren’t already using value-based bidding (e.g. tROAS), leveraging Google’s AI in your PPC is key for 2024. You can apply this as a campaign experiment if you aren’t ready to go all-in.
Don’t forget Performance Max! When combining your Merchant Centre feed with Performance Max, advertisers can supercharge Google’s AI to show ads across all of Google’s surfaces, including search, shopping, video and more. Don’t worry, many of our clients still see the majority of their ads shown on shopping with this channel. With <10% of the budget going to the other channels.
💡 According to internal Google Data, advertisers who upgraded from Performance Max’s predecessor (Smart Shopping) saw on average, a 12% increase in conversion volume at the same or better ROAS. Google Data, Global, Ads, Sept 2021–Oct 2021.
Many advertisers haven’t taken the leap yet and are still running shopping campaigns. This could be your opportunity to get ahead in 2024. Many Genie Goals clients are already seeing the benefits of Performance Max.
Your brand could also benefit from some consideration-based activity. Demand Gen campaigns have just come out of beta, and video is more accessible to brands than ever. Why not test some upper-funnel activity in 2024? If you’re an ROI-focused brand the attribution report can help tie upper-funnel activity to lower-funnel campaigns.
PPC isn’t a set-and-forget channel! The landscape is dynamic, and market conditions can change. Stay agile in your approach to adapt quickly to emerging trends and consumer demand. Being proactive in responding to changes positions your campaigns for success in a competitive environment.
The insights tab in your Google Ads account can be a great place to start. It provides insights on what’s trending now, based on the content in your account. This can be particularly helpful when trying to capitalise on consumer demand.
Some examples from the Insights Tab which look at current, and upcoming trends.
As we approach the new year, taking the time to revitalise your Google Ads (and Microsoft) campaigns is a strategic investment in your retail success. Reflecting on performance, setting clear goals, adapting to changes and staying agile are key elements of a successful digital marketing strategy. Having those key conversations early can pay dividends as the year pans out.
Still not sure where to start? Or are you ready to kickstart your 2024 PPC strategy? Reach out to our expert team to help put your New Year Strategy into action.