Advertising News for Holiday Peak in Plain English

Our firm is primarily focused around making Amazon work for you. But sometimes, you need an effective off Amazon marketing strategy. In this post, I’ll go into how Amazon PPC advertising works, and some tips and tools for your off Amazon advertising work.

Effective Amazon Advertising For The Holiday Season

If you sell online, chances are really good that this is one of your busier times of the year. And targeted holiday advertising is a must. Even if you’re not a large retailer, even if you mainly sell on Amazon, or from your own website, or a Shopify site, it’s a great time to refocus and redouble your efforts where online advertising and Amazon marketing is concerned.

It’s important to optimize your listings on Amazon, but it’s also an important time to assess your google ranking, the keywords you’re using, the groups you’re targeting, and make a plan for not only holiday advertising, but all year long.

Did you know that about half of all shoppers head to Amazon to do their initial assessment of options and comparison pricing? That’s a ton of potential for you! So it’s really important to have quality listings, good Amazon PPC marketing, and a plan for driving people to your offerings. You’re a smart one, so you probably already know this!

In this post, we’ve culled some important information from a number of different influential blogs and condensed it into bite-size pieces.

As mentioned, many, many people get their product searches started on Amazon, even if they don’t end up buying on Amazon. So, what is Amazon looking at to help people find and buy what they want and need?

A couple of things:

Performance and Sales: It looks at things like CTR (click-thru rate), ie how many people click on your listing when they see it in the search results, plus conversion rate once users view a listing, and of course, overall sales.

Relevance: It looks at how well a product listing matches the query that a user types into the search bar.

The “relevance” part can be helped immensely through the implementation of proper keywords… in other words, placing the words that a person would use to search your product, in the title of the listing. In the product description. In the backend keywords. All over the place.

To help you find great keywords to use in your listings, try Merchant Words, and Keyword Inspector, both of which are excellent for basic research and also for finding interesting variations on keywords.

The “performance and sales” part of the equation is going to play a large part in getting eyes on your product, once you have a really great listing for people to go to. You’ve got to have excellent copy with well-placed keywords. Crisp, clear, professional and informative images are extremely important as well. And reviews! You need some reviews in order to get the ball rolling on the performance and sales side of things.

Think of it this way:

If Amazon is trying to create happy customers who buy lots of things, they need to send those potential customers to listings that have the best shot at converting to sales. Amazon won’t serve up a listing that doesn’t read well, that is not informative, that isn’t attractive to look at, and has no reviews. As a shopper, would you want to be given results that are not informative or interesting to you? Of course not!

And remember also that Amazon is constantly iterating on different aspects of their site and search functionality, so you should as well. In this regard you’re never truly done optimizing. So you’re very much encouraged to just get something out there. Something that may not be totally perfect, but that does look good and feel good to a potential buyer. Once the listing has been up for a while, you’ll be able to pull reports and see where you’re at in terms of traffic.

Once you’ve got that great listing, Amazon PPC (pay per click) marketing is a must. You can do this yourself, or if you find yourself overwhelmed, Cascadia can help you!

Because of all the traffic it gets, Amazon is a very competitive space, so you need a really great listing. You need good keywords, and solid marketing, to get eyes on your products. It’s a little “chicken and egg”-ish in some ways, but the best thing to remember is it’s never set in stone.

Again: Amazon is constantly iterating and so should you. There’s nothing in the world wrong with freshening up your look, especially around the holidays!

Learn even more about marketing on Amazon in this excellent blog from our friends at Portent.

Approaches and Ideas for your Google Strategy

Google’s been around for a number of years now, and they too like to change things up, create a better experience for their customers, and serve up the most quality results they can.

Google’s SERP (search engine results page) features have been changing a lot on the last few years, so it’s critical that you keep your finger on the pulse of changes that are relevant to you, and adjust accordingly.

You must periodically take stock of your rankings, and also keep an eye on what features have been added (or changed) that show up for keywords you’re using. These things could help (or hurt) your bottom line, so just keep it on your radar. You can do this with SEO PowerSuite’s Rank Tracker.

Speed is a big deal. Not only does a fast site help boost your rank, it’s of course a major user experience factor to. User experience (also referred to as UX), in turn, impacts rankings. It’s a great big loop, centered on speed.

Google expects pages to load in under three seconds, so be sure to take the speed test for your own site and make any necessary adjustments to ensure your visitors have the kind of experience Google wants them to have! If Google offers your site to searchers, and they keep leaving as soon as they click, that is a signal to Google that they are not satisfied, and down you go in the search results.

Content is King

In my role at Cascadia, I am constantly writing content – content for us, like this blog, and oodles of content for our clients, such as blog posts, enhanced content descriptions, outtake content in Storefronts (Amazon’s version of a hybrid landing page/website). And the reason we’re so focused on great content is because content drives search – people are looking for solutions to problems they have, and content helps them find the answers.

Content comes in various forms, like blogs, articles, websites, data reports, you name it. If you’re searching Google, you’re searching for content. To rank high on search results, you must show Google that you’re an expert, so Google will tell searchers you’re an expert. That you’re to be trusted. What you say is on point and relevant.

Google is smart, and if you don’t have quality content, it knows. If your content is really bad, you’ll be penalized.

So make sure that what you’re putting out there is quality, comprehensive content.

Voice Search – Get comfortable with it

Google recently reported that 55 percent of teens and 40 percent of adults now use voice search daily. What’s more, voice search is growing faster than type search. If you’re not on the voice search train, it’s time to climb aboard because you’re missing valuable traffic. And since voice searchers use normal, conversational sentences and not specific keywords, you’re going to need to change up your keywords a bit.

Rank Tracker is a great help in researching questions voice searchers are likely to ask.

Mobile traffic is huge, don’t ignore it or you will be sorry! Make sure your pages are mobile-friendly. This is true for both websites and for things like Amazon listings. On Amazon, only the first 3 bullets, and the first 30 characters of the product description, show up on mobile devices. The user has to click and scroll for the rest, so you want to be sure and grab their attention with the content that is shown to them. has more information here about ways you can improve your standing on Google.

Remarketing and how it can work for you

You have several different kinds of audiences, and it’s important to make distinctions between them, because each can be marketed to (or not) in slightly different ways.

Engagement based audiences – Look at your on-site behavioral metrics, such as session duration or pages per session. If someone has been on your site for 20 minutes, they are more interested than someone who bounced after 30 seconds. What were they looking at? How can you reach them?

Demographic based audiences –  Specific things here are location, age, or gender. Who is your target audience? You’d market to a male age 65+ in a completely different way than you would market to a female who is 18 years of age.

Intent based audiences – The level of intent of a searcher. Where they are in your marketing funnel. You don’t want to market in the same way to someone who’s just discovered you, as someone who’s already engaged with you somehow. If you’ve ever said “Hi! My name is ____” to someone you’ve already met, you know how awkward that can be.

Customer segment audiences – This speaks to trends among your existing customers. For example, someone who’s made many purchases from you in the past year vs. someone who just bought once, over a year ago. The former is a “regular” customer, the latter is something else.

Customer match audiences – These are people you already have the email addresses of. You can share those with Google, and google will match them with ads that make the most sense for them. You can advertise to people who are existing customers, or to people who are similar to your existing customers.

Similar audiences for search – Like the “customer match” example above, this is something you can create automatically by using Google AdWords. It finds similar audiences to your existing audience, based on the remarketing lists you create.

Youtube based audiences – This involves linking your AdWords account with your YouTube account. Once you connect them, you’ll be able to get lists such as users who’ve watched one of your videos or users who’ve visited your YouTube channel page.

Negative Audiences – Unfortunately, you might have some haters, or groups of people you definitely do not want to market to for one reason or another. Identifying negative audiences allows you to exclude them from seeing your ads. You can add (exclude) them to any campaign or ad group, exactly like you would add an audience that you actually do want to target. is where to go for all things online marketing. You can learn even more about remarketing and what it can do for you here. We personally use Portent, and can attest to their professionalism, high quality feedback on what to do next, and real results. We had a client specifically mention our retargeting ads in a phone call with us recently. So thank you, Portent!

A word about keywords

Building a new campaign from scratch can be difficult. Missing great keywords or adding bad keywords that have little search volume are rookie mistakes we’ve all made. And even if you manage to pull together a great list of keywords, it can be a challenge organizing them into themed groups. AdWords Keyword Planner is a great way to build out your next campaigns.

Keyword Planner is in your AdWords account. Just go to Tools > Keyword Planner

Inside is an array of tools for finding new keywords, ad groups, researching how many Google searches happen for a particular keyword, and even non-Google search partners. You might find that it only makes sense to go with Google, or that another search engine can also provide exposure. You can even use a domain or landing page to build a keyword list. Just enter that info, and let the tool show you what keywords that page is using.

If you’re new to keywords and how they can boost sales, check out PPCHero’s blog on this topic for more valuable information!

We recommend using initial Google ads to understand your traffic patterns and why people come to your page, but to make remarketing the bigger piece of your ads pie as quickly as possible.

As we move into the holiday season, and beyond, it’s a great idea to be constantly iterating on your own advertising  strategies… taking into account what time of year it is and who will be searching what at any given time of the year, will help you get eyes on your products when it’s most impactful for both the customer and also for you. Happy holiday marketing!