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Holiday Search Engine Ads

Staff Writer
Published: 2004-11-01

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As search engine advertisers get ready for the 2004 holiday season, what they write as their paid listings will affect the number of shoppers who visit their web sites.

One Internet marketing expert claims the incentive to click has to be hot.

"An incentive should act like bait to get people to buy right now as opposed to shopping around more," writes Catherine Seda in her book, "Search Engine Advertising, Buying Your Way to the Top to Increase Sales" (New Riders Publishing 2004).

Seda suggests mentioning a discount or value-added deal in the ad title or description. Free shipping has also been such a compelling incentive in previous holiday seasons, it may not be viewed as the unique offer it once was.

"Watch your competitors' listings closely during the holidays," Seda advises. "Not only will new advertisers jump into the pay-for-placement game, but many will constantly change their offers. Make yours more enticing."

In her book, Seda cautions advertisers on over-promoting "free stuff" in their ad copy. This can cause click-through traffic to spike but not necessarily order rates.

"You could end up paying for junk traffic," Seda writes. "Mention 'free' in the description but not the title, so people have to read your listing before they notice the incentive."

According to Seda, search engine advertisers will be well-prepared by having various pre and post holiday offers ready to go. Their ad copy and associated landing pages can then be changed almost instantly based on inventory levels, or in response to other advertisers' promotional pitches.

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