If you sell clothing online, you are most likely aware of the fact that sales for each type of product vary a lot based on the time of the year and season. For clothing businesses using PPC advertising to sell their clothes, this presents a problem.
It is not enough to just look at the last fourteen or last thirty days of data to decide on how much to bid on a keyword and whether to keep it running. This is because the performance of the keyword may change based on the season. So just because a particular keyword did well last month, does not necessarily mean that it will do well this month.
Getting to grips with seasonality and how performance can change on each group of products is crucial for online clothing businesses. In this blog, we will look at some of the critical times of the year when clothing businesses should be more aggressive with their PPC advertising as well as where they should be focusing their efforts.
Take note of key dates
PPC performance is not likely to be constant throughout the year. There are a few dates throughout the year where shoppers are a lot more motivated to buy. You must be aware of the type of clothing that will likely sell during these dates and that you have sufficient stock levels for those products. Here are some of the key dates in the year where shoppers are motivated to buy:
- Valentine’s day (14th February)
- Mother’s Day (14th May)
- Father’s Day (18th June)
- Prime day (12th July)
- Back to school (August -September)
- Halloween (31st October)
- Black Friday (24th November)
- Cyber Monday (27th November)
- Christmas season (From black Friday till December)
- Boxing day (26th December)
- Post-Christmas sales (Boxing day till around the 3rd week of January)
Learn from last year
Look at the performance of your PPC advertising from the previous year and alter your advertising strategy accordingly. Your historical data has a whole wealth of performance information. When did searches for a specific product group increase? When did conversion rates for a particular product improve and what products sold very well during that period? Were there any times of the year where you were underprepared? If there was, then you know you need to alter your strategy during that time of the year.
Keep an eye on competitor activity
It is worthwhile keeping an eye on what your competitors are doing. It may be that they have thought of a really good idea that you have missed. Check on their websites regularly and get an idea on the kind of products that they are pushing.
By looking at your competitor’s activity, you can get an idea of what your performance should look like. For example, if you competitors have started running a very aggressive sale on jeans, then you know that you should be aware of a potential drop in sales from your jeans. Once you know this, you can feed this information back to your managers and think about a counter-strategy.
Utilise In-market audiences
I have seen very good performance by combining keywords with relevant in-market audience lists in Google Ads. In-market audiences are people who have shown an interest purchasing the product category in question. So, for example, according to the signals that Google can track, the people in the women’s clothing audience list have shown an interest in purchasing women’s clothing.
Here are just a few of the audience lists that you could look at applying if you sell clothing online. Not all the below audiences will apply to all your campaigns. You would put the relevant audience list in each campaign. So, for example, in your women’s clothing campaigns, you could add the Women’s Clothing audience list, and in the children’s clothing campaign, you could apply the Children’s clothing audience list. Here are some Audience lists that you could apply to your campaigns if you’re selling clothing:
- Children’s Clothing
- Women’s Clothing
- Baby & Toddler Clothing
- Baby & Children’s Clothing
- Back-to-School Clothing & Accessories
- Formal Wear
- Clothing & Accessories
- Men’s Clothing
- Suits & Business Attire
- Dress Shoes
- Running Clothes
- Yoga Clothing
While there are many uses for Audience lists, you may be wondering what they have to do in concerning improving your PPC advertising by seasonality? When a product is out of season, I usually find that the conversion rate on those products drops. This makes it more challenging to make your PPC campaigns for out of season products profitable.
One option to tackle out of season products is to pause the campaign. This way you won’t be wasting your budget on poor performing, out of season products. However, you will likely lose sales by switching off these campaigns. As a middle ground, I have seen a good performance by leaving my out of season campaigns on, but switching the audience targeting from ‘Observation’ to ‘Targeting’. This means that my ads will only show to people who search for my keyword and are in the audience list that I’m targeting. By switching the audience targeting method from observation to ‘targeting’, I bring down the spend on the out of season campaigns and only show ads to people who are more likely to want to purchase a product.
Sell the right products by season
People buy different types of clothes, depending on the season. This means that the products that you push should be different depending on the season. Here are some tips on the kind of products to focus on depending on the season:
At the start of Spring, you may still be able to sell some of your winter products because it may still be slightly cold. However, the closer it gets to summer, the more you will start to see your summer clothing begin to sell.
Sell more lightweight clothing and in the final month of Spring, really start ramping up your summer clothing. April often gets referred to as April showers as it is common for it to rain in April. This means you may sell a few light raincoats in April.
Try to sell as much of your summer clothing at the beginning of the season when people are starting to realise that they need summer clothing. While increasing, impressions may still be low at this point. However, your less-savvy competitors won’t have started increasing spend on your summer products. This is great for PPC advertising because it means that you can take advantage of the reduced competition. It means you would expect to see lower click prices due to their being fewer competitors, and higher conversion rates due to the other competitors not advertising their most aggressive sale messaging.
Once summer is in full swing, hopefully, you will already have sold a lot of your summer stock. This is the time when the volume for summer clothing will be at its highest and also competition is at its highest.
In summer you want to be selling thinner, warmer weather clothes. Focus on putting out clothes like:
- Short sleeves shirts
- Tank tops
The weather is starting to turn, and it is getting colder. This means people will start looking for winter clothing. Start pushing your thicker clothing and drop aggression on your summer clothing campaigns.
You should start pushing thicker clothing, but at this point, you don’t need to be too aggressive with very thick layers like winter coats or winter boots Here are some of the things that you could at pushing
- Long-sleeved tops
- Suede shoes/boots
In Winter, the weather is at its coldest point, which means you are not very likely to sell many thin clothes. You should focus on putting out your thick clothing such as jackets, thick jeans, sweaters and thick socks
- Tweed jackets
- wool coats
- Trench coats
- Ski gear
- Long-sleeved items
- Woollen items
- Thick socks
- Full-length pants
- Full-length tops
- Winter boots
In addition to selling thick clothing in Winter, activewear does well in January. This is because people make new years resolution to lose weight or get fit in January. For clothing sellers, this means you are likely to see an increase in clothes like trainers, jogging bottoms and general gym clothing.
If you’re an online clothing seller looking to work with a PPC agency in order to increase your sales, then get in touch now for a free PPC audit.