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Imagine That, Inc

Santa Claus Is Coming to Town: Is Your PPC Plan Ready?

It’s no secret that the holiday season brings with it an increase in consumer spending. But, have you thought about how the retail industry benefits from ecommerce sales in November and December? A recent report from RJMetrics found that these two months drive 30% more ecommerce revenue than non-holiday months and the days from Black Friday through Christmas pull in 50-100% more revenue compared to shopping days throughout the rest of the year. So, how are you planning on implementing your ecommerce marketing plan for the rest of 2015? Is your Pay Per Click (PPC) plan ready? Let’s talk about what you should be doing with those paid ad campaigns on Google this holiday season.

Know Your Dates

Cyber Monday and Black Friday

It sounds like a simple thing, but the holiday time isn’t just comprised of Christmas. There are a multitude of other religious, digital and retail online shopping days that you must be cognizant of. Know these dates and plan you PPC campaigns accordingly:

November 27: Black Friday

November 30: Cyber Monday

December 6-14: Hanukkah

December 8: Manic Monday

December 25: Christmas Day

December 26: Boxing Day

December 26-31: Year-End Sales

January 1: New Year’s Day

Get Your Promotional Timing Right

Obviously implementing a Christmas campaign on December 20th will not generate jaw-dropping results with your PPC ads. So, using the above list of dates, you will want to prepare accordingly and start your campaigns earlier than the intended holiday you are targeting. Typically, November 1st through the end of December is the correct time to be implementing these holiday campaigns.

Know Your Industry & History

Not all industries excel during the holiday months. For example, how many people are looking to purchase swim suits during the winter? Only you know your industry and products and whether or not you are a go-to spot for holiday shopping. If you have been running an AdWords account for more than a year now, you could look at the trends from the past holiday season(s) and find out what worked and what didn’t. You can use this data to configure the correct days and times to optimize your performance this year.

Target Your Audience With New Holiday Themed Campaigns

Rather than adding new holiday ads to old ad groups, I suggest you set up brand new campaigns for each of your holiday promotions. This way you can control your budget and set unique start and end dates for each campaign without interfering with your regular old campaigns. It is important to remember, however, to pause all of your non-seasonal campaigns with the same targeting criteria while your holiday campaigns are running. This will alleviate self-actuated competition from your own campaigns.

In terms of targeting, you will want to create ad text that appeals to holiday shoppers. Try and focus on messages such as “Free Delivery & Returns,” “Delivery in Time for Christmas” or “Gifts for the Whole Family” etc. In this manner, you will really stand out from the competition.

Increase Your Budget

This time of year there will ultimately be more competition for those shopping dollars, so the average Cost Per Click (CPC) is likely to soar. Plan ahead and set aside a larger budget for your holiday campaigns so that you will appear in the top, eye-catching positions. While you may be spending more on ads, your conversion rate should make up for it.

Make the Appropriate Changes in Your Landing Pages

You will want to keep your landing pages up-to-date with your holiday offers/promotions that match up with your PPC ads. If you have the capacity to create individual holiday landing pages that are dedicated to each or your promotions, even better.

Optimize for Mobile

Many relevant studies of show massive spikes in mobile activity this time of year as more and more people are now shopping on their smartphones throughout the day. So, it is no longer a luxury … you must make a mobile strategy for your holiday campaigns. Consider trying the following:

  • Mobile bid adjustments – 85% of users look at the top two ad positions on their smartphones, so make sure to adjust your bids for mobile to get yourself in one of those two spots.
  • Mobile Optimized Landing Pages – A responsive landing page is a must if you are looking to benefit from mobile traffic. You will want to make sure the landing pages load quickly, are easy to read on mobile devices and laid out so customers can quickly find what they are looking for.
  • Mobile PLA Campaigns – Opt into mobile Product Listing Ads (PLA) campaigns as they take up greater real estate on the mobile results page. Mobile PLA campaigns enable people to shop on Google by connecting them with the products they want online and in local stores.

Address the Changing Mind-Set

Typically, your ads are geared towards marketing to a consumer that is purchasing for themselves. But, this time of year there is a noticeable shift towards gift-giving oriented shopping and your ads need to reflect this change. You can use terms such as “Give the Gift of …,” or “Exclusive Online Deal” etc. to get noticed by potential customers.

You also want to take into account the “mood” of your online customer this time of the year. Ask yourself what is driving your customer to search for your product online and emphasize in your ads accordingly. Are your customers shopping online to avoid the in-store madness of holiday shopping? Probably. So you will want to highlight in your ads how easy the ordering/shipping process is and the numerous options you have available for them to buy from the comfort of their own home.

The other mindset this time of year is those that are looking for a deal. Often people are comparing products on multiple sites, so you can address this by including promotions and discount codes directly into your ad text. Another way to appeal to the budget-conscious online shoppers is to offer free shipping. If you can afford it, this is the time of the year to do it. Having those gifts delivered for free could be the icing on the cake and clinch the deal for you.

Create a Sense of Urgency

Let’s face it. We are all in a sense of urgency when shopping for holiday gifts, but if you use language in your ads that implies urgency then you will be reinforcing the sale. Phrases such as “Offer Ends Soon” or “Don’t Miss Out” will work well, but consider using AdWords’ countdown feature in your ad text to customize your ad with real-time updates. This function allows you to tell Google when your promotion ends and your ads will automatically update to tell the customer how many days are left in the sale.


We sincerely hope that the aforementioned tips and advice will help you get your holiday PPC campaigns in the best possible light for this holiday season. If you are a complete newbie to Google AdWords then some of this might sound like gibberish, so I would highly recommend that you contact us for a free, 30-minute consultation so we can show you how you can benefit from the extra exposure that PPC will give you and your business this holiday season.