Search and Rescue: Google x MuteSix Swap Tips for Winning Q4

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Search and Rescue: Google x MuteSix Swap Tips for Winning Q4

Ready or not, Q4 is here. If you’re a brand feeling lost in the haze of economic uncertainty, you’re in good company with–well–pretty much every brand across every shopping vertical. 

Here’s the good news: Inflation doesn’t necessarily deflate success–especially if you up your Google game, according to 2021 data. 

In 2021, MuteSix boosted Google Ads spend by 79% YoY, with roughly 30% of our media spend invested in Paid Search. And, even though 2021 gave brands a run for their money–thanks to the residual impact of the pandemic and the acute performance-tracking setbacks from iOS 14– brands made some, too. 

According to Ruth Porat, CFO of Alphabet and Google, fourth quarter revenue last year hovered around $75 billion, up 32% YoY, with Google Ads and YouTube contributing a considerable share. 

So, what’s in store for Google this Q4?

As a Google Premier Partner and front-running Paid Search agency, MuteSix joined fellow Search heavyweights from Google on October 18 to break down the formula to winning this holiday season. 

Tune in (or read on) to learn what Google and MuteSix’s Greg Gilman (Chief Revenue Officer), Harrison Hunt (VP, Paid Search), and Adrien Martin (Senior Paid Search Campaign Manager) had to say about what it takes to battle economic headwinds and crush the competition across Google and beyond.

… On How Q4 Consumers Will Be Shopping. 

“Even though we’re in economic uncertainty, we’re still expecting 8% YoY purchase investment across the whole holiday season, up 18% from two years ago. It’s expected that this year won’t be as impacted by the economic uncertainty landscape. But, just because people are shopping doesn’t mean they’re still shopping the same way. 71% of consumers worldwide switch brands, with two-thirds of those reporting having done so because of price point and finding better products.  Also, mission-based companies are becoming the norm for younger generations, so let consumers know what your brand is doing to give back.” –  Mike Hilgeman, Account Executive, Google

… On What It Takes to Win This Q4

“If I had to predict who was going to win this holiday season, it’s brands that really highlight their brand message to their customers, highlight their value, and offer discounts and promotions that make customers feel more connected to that brand.” – Mike Hilgeman, Account Executive, Google

“When it comes to the success of your holiday promotions, brands need to consider the website itself. You can have a great ad, but if shoppers are going to a website that doesn’t align with it, you’ll have a confused customer who is less likely to make a purchase. Make sure your website has promotion banners and an announcement bar that aligns with exactly what you’re putting in your ads to simplify the user experience, which will lead to more purchases.” – Harrison Hunt, VP, Paid Search, MuteSix 

“70% of Google searches are non-branded. So, when these people come to Google, they’re not necessarily sure what brand to buy or which product they want. This creates the perfect opportunity for a new customer acquisition strategy this holiday season, and Performance Max can help with that.” – Mike Hilgeman, Account Executive, Google

“When we look at our Q4 copy in ads, it’s right there: People are just looking for the deal. It’s tight right now and e-commerce competition is higher than ever, so I don’t think it’s the year to say you’re not going to run promotions based on principle alone, unless there’s really a reason not to. I say keep your ads moving, turn down the spend, and just cruise through, otherwise it’s just not worth the premium and the auction.” – Greg Gillman, CRO, MuteSix

… On Which Promotions Will Convert the Most Shoppers.

“We steer brands away from Gift with Purchase, if possible–and those are usually the brands that don’t want to discount. Don’t pick something that will put you out of business. Never feel you have to do 50% off just because your competitors are. Keep it where you need to be. The main thing to consider as a brand is what you’re doing to ramp into Q1: how you’re nurturing your email list and how you’re following up. Make sure that you segment your discount shoppers because typically they’re always going to be looking for a sale, so make sure your data is clean.” – Greg Gillman, CRO, MuteSix

“Be consistent and don’t complicate your promotions. A lot of brands have tiered promotions that over-complicate their overall marketing strategy. You also don’t want to confuse customers. Often they see a Google Ad with a promotional offer, but when they get to the website, the promo code is no longer there, so they forget about it, get disgruntled, and go somewhere else.” – Harrison Hunt, VP, Paid Search, MuteSix

… On What Makes a Winning Google Ad. 

“When we build out creative, there are three types of objection busters that we think of. Convenience – how long will the product take to get to me, social proof – do other people like the product, and then pricing – is this product too expensive. So, having that in your campaigns will eliminate objections that customers may have to buying that product from you vs. your competition.” – Harrison Hunt, VP, Paid Search, MuteSix 

“If you have a 15% off sale and that’s the best you’re going to have, that’s great. Just call that out in your copy. A lot of times customers will see that and think it’s 15% off, but competitors are doing 30% off, so I’m just going to wait until that drops, and then they end up not purchasing. So, if people know this is going to be the best they’re going to get this holiday season, they’re more inclined to purchase.” – Mike Hilgeman, Account Executive, Google

… On Other Best Practices Across Google.

“Whenever you are in the position where you don’t have it in your budget to compete with some of the giants in that space, that’s where automation comes into play. Set strict bids that align with whichever consumer Google deems to be the right customer for you based on their user behavior over the last seven days. Don’t be overly aggressive and set your Non-Brand program to be more efficient, knowing that you’re up against the likes of Amazon and Walmart. Then, allow Google to run that algorithm to find you quality users.” – Harrison Hunt, VP, Paid Search, MuteSix 

“One of the biggest pillars of Google success on Paid Search is the quality score, and that’s all part of the landing page experience. So, whenever we identify search categories that have a below-average landing page experience, those are the categories we build them for to help us improve our quality score, which in turn, theoretically, should help drive down those CPCs because Google rewards brands that go above and beyond when it comes to elements like ad copy and landing pages.” – Harrison Hunt, VP, Paid Search, MuteSix 

“82% of all internet traffic is for video for consumers, and YouTube reaches 92% of the U.S. adult population. It’s one of the most under-monetized platforms when you think about its reach versus investment, and direct response success. If you don’t have that strategy in place, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to influence. Over 50% of your video’s performance is determined by the creative, but most brands are not focusing 50% of their time on creating it.” –  Harrison Hunt, VP, Paid Search, MuteSix 

“When it comes to building out great YouTube programs, it’s not just the creative. You need to build out strong campaign structures. Really make sure the funnel is broken out by stages, so acquisition is true acquisition, and you’re eliminating the retention and remarketing audience. And, on an even more granular level, each audience should have its own type of creative because if someone is already engaged with a brand, they’re going to have different understanding of what the product or brand might be and they’re going to need different creative from someone who is net-new and doesn’t have any kind of familiarity with the brand and will need a product intro to get them into the funnel.” – Harrison Hunt, VP, Paid Search, MuteSix

… On the Importance of Landing Pages and CRO. 

“When building landing pages for competitive search categories like moisturizers, we make sure they’re very educational, so keyword-stuffing all the value props so that when someone searches for moisturizers, it’s right there on that landing page. It’s an SEO best practice that can translate over to SEM.” – Harrison Hunt, VP, Paid Search, MuteSix 

“In really competitive spaces, you have to get the customer across the full customer journey. So, with our Google Ads, we can talk about unique value propositions to drive them to the website, but then the website is going to do a lot of the legwork to actually get them to purchase. So, while your Google Ad may not help convert the customer then and there, you can use your landing page or other Google properties, like YouTube, to nurture shoppers more and educate them on the product, or use UGC with social proof to motivate them to purchase from you.” – Adrien Martin, Senior Paid Search Campaign Manager, MuteSix

To learn more about industry-leading tips to maximize success across Google, and how best to integrate Paid Search into your holiday omnichannel strategy, reach out to our Paid Search experts today.

And, stay tuned for more exclusive tips from MuteSix and Google on leveraging the two newest, most promising properties in the Google ecosystem: YouTube Shorts and Performance Max. 

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