7 Ways to Prepare Your Paid Ad Campaigns for the Holidays

An ornate shopping mall interior with Christmas decorations

While Q4 is a mad dash for B2C product businesses, it can also get busy for B2B businesses. Whatever your business model, Q4 isn’t a time to sit back and enjoy some eggnog: it’s time for one last push! PPC ads help businesses make the most of the busy holiday shopping season. 

While plenty of people are last-minute shoppers, a lot of consumers start holiday shopping in November. And guess what? November is just around the corner! Be part of the 49% of marketers who plan their holiday marketing campaigns before Halloween. 

Businesses can earn up to 40% of their annual profit during Q4 alone. Since mobile shoppers accounted for $2.1 billion of sales during Black Friday 2018, businesses have to get on board with PPC right now to prepare for holiday shoppers. 

7 Steps to Prepare for Holiday PPC

But this doesn’t mean you should slap together a PPC campaign without thinking. The best advertising campaigns have a solid strategy backing them. It’s not enough to add tinsel to your ad creative—for amazing results, you have to design intelligent holiday ads. Follow these 7 tips to put your brand top of mind once the holiday shopping fever takes hold. 

1. Look at Last Year’s Performance

Before you put together this year’s holiday ad campaign, look at how you performed last year. The great thing about advertising is that it’s based on data. If you’ve been advertising for more than a year, you should have a great backlog of information to sift through. 

What was your average spend? Which channels performed the best and the worst? Which offers clicked with your audience? What did competitors do?/ 

Look over this information to figure out where to focus your efforts this year. For example, if Facebook Ads had a horrible ROI last year, focus instead on platforms like Amazon Ads. It’s all about learning from your past performance and getting better. This will not only help you get more sales, but it will also optimize ad spend for better ROI. 

Of course, this is hard to do if you don’t have data from last year. This is why it’s so important to set goals, track your progress, and run regular reports for your PPC campaigns. You can use something as simple as Google Analytics and an Excel sheet or something as advanced as Hubspot. 

If you haven’t already set up tracking for your PPC campaigns, do it right now. This is essential to measuring your performance and optimizing for next year. If you want to know where your money is going, tracking is a must. 

2. Plan Your Budget and Deadlines 

Every other business has the same idea as you: get more conversions from holiday shoppers. That means there are more PPC competitors than usual. Translation: you can expect to pay much more per click for holiday campaigns. The ROI should even out, but your costs will still be higher as a whole. 

Look at your past data to determine an appropriate budget. But try to find a happy medium with your budget: bid too low and your ads won’t show, but bid too high and you risk wasting money. 

This is also a good time to set important deadlines for your campaign. We know how hectic things get during Q4. Setting deadlines keeps your team on track during this busy time of year, ensuring your ads are able to compete for PPC domination.

3. Build Your Audience Now 

Who are you selling to? Don’t plug in a general audience for holiday PPC campaigns; get as specific and granular as possible. Build these audiences ahead of time so you aren’t scrambling at the last minute to build a good audience model. 

This is your time to do retargeting. Retargeting helps you get higher ROI on PPC because you’re targeting customers that already trust you. No matter how old the list, the holiday season gives you the perfect chance to reengage with consumers. Target old email lists, current customers, and past orders to get customers energized for the holiday season. 

4. Opt for Holiday Keywords

It’s okay to continue targeting your normal keywords, but don’t be afraid to target holiday-centric keywords. For example, many shoppers are searching for queries with the word “gift” in them, or that include the names of specific holidays. Keywords like “gift ideas for mom” or “Hanukkah gift ideas” should be part of your keyword strategy. 

Remember to include negative keywords, too. You want to attract the right kind of customers to your campaign, after all. Negative keywords help you pre-qualify more relevant leads so you’re spending your budget on clicks that matter.

5. Sweeten the Deal 

The holidays whip consumers into a buying frenzy. They’re spending a lot of money, and sometimes they need to know they’re getting a good deal. You aren’t in business to give things away for free, but you can still offer juicy incentives that encourage customers to buy. 

The key is to offer deals that deliver value without cheapening your brand. Consider offering special bundle deals, free samples with purchase, or discounts once they spend a certain amount. 

Time-sensitive deals encourage customers to buy quickly, too. And if you’re shipping a physical good, make sure you offer free shipping. You’ll lose a lot of online shoppers if you surprise them with shipping costs. 

Two boxes wrapped in brown paper

6. Choose High-Intent Channels

Not seeing a lot of traction on Google Ads? While there’s value in cross-promoting your brand, you should only advertise on channels that make sense for your audience. 

For holiday shopping, you want to be on channels where people are shopping for gifts. The best channel for high-intent shopping is Amazon, hands-down. Feel free to include Google Ads or Facebook Ads, too, but make sure you’re promoting your product via Amazon Ads to see real traction. 

7. Automate Where Possible

PPC can get complicated and the holiday season is already crazy enough. Don’t tell your marketers to manage the campaign manually. Find a healthy balance between automation and manual campaign management. Automate things like bid strategies so you don’t have to manage Google Ads all day. This helps you be more competitive in the marketplace without wasting your team’s time. 

The Bottom Line

You’re leaving money on the table if you’re doing holiday PPC without a strategy. Create a smart strategy now to get the most ROI on your holiday marketing efforts. Don’t let the holidays catch you off-guard—use these 7 tips to check your list twice before loading up your sleigh with PPC ads. 

Feeling a bit rushed? No problem. Logical Media Group can help you create the perfect holiday paid ad strategy in time for Black Friday. Contact us now for a free call with our PPC experts. 

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