PPC Tips for the Holiday Shopping Season

PPC tips for holiday shopping online It’s no secret the holiday shopping season is big business, and this is no different for PPC advertising. To add to that, research shows that holiday shopping online is expected to rise to 36% of all online shopping, thanks to the convenience of being able to shop anytime and often getting free shipping. Since everyone knows this, gaining an advantage with your holiday shopping ads can be tough, but by following some of the tips below, you should be in a good position to have success through PPC this holiday shopping season.

Get Working Early and Have Campaigns Ready to Go

If you’re a retailer, you’re likely about to hit a very busy season. Get as much of your planning done early as you can and get your holiday campaigns built out as much as possible so all you have to do flip the switch. Of course, the unexpected will happen, so the more you can take care of beforehand, the more you will thank yourself later!

Discounts, Specials and Promos

Along the lines of having your campaigns ready to go, it’s likely that you’ll have your various promotions scheduled out. You’ll want to communicate any advantage your business has in your ad copy, so pay attention to the schedule and get your promotions, special deals and discounts on product or shipping out there so customers click on your ads instead of your competitors’.

Seasonal Keywords

You might have noticed that certain keywords perform better during the holiday season. These keywords are different for every business, so review any results you have from previous years and see if anything has been paused that might require a second chance for the holiday season. It’s also a good time to test keywords including “holiday,” “Black Friday,” “Christmas,” “Cyber Monday,” etc.

Think Through Your Remarketing Strategy

Similar to having your specials ready to go, you might want to use increasingly irresistible promotions to capture your shopping cart abandoners. Have your remarketing ads all ready to go before the holiday season and get ready to act quickly. If you’re going to try out some different remarketing lists, have them all ready to go beforehand, and get creative! You might want to bid more on a traffic segment that spend more time viewing your site – you can do this with Google Analytics Remarketing!

Not All Keywords Are Built Equal

Perhaps your account organization works well during 10 months out of the year. But maybe some do better during the holiday seasons. Look at current trends, projects and use your data from previous years. You might want to restructure your accounts temporarily to ensure that you have more advertising budget for your top performing products and their corresponding keywords. You don’t want your top keywords running out of budget due to a lesser profitable keywords hogging budget. Holiday shopping search volume will likely be higher than normal if you’re an online retailer, so make sure to reserve your budget for your top performing categories and cut out keywords that may waste your time and money during the holidays.

Understand Your Profit Points

Pay Per Click advertising is all about balancing profits from advertising against competitive forces that act to drive up advertising costs, so knowing your profit margins will be key to your success. Sometimes, selling more at a lower profit per conversion can create higher total profits for your business. Holiday shopper demand accelerates this. Play around with a few scenarios to better understand when buying into a lower-profit, higher ad position would be well worth it for your business.

Consider the Consideration Set

It’s said that people are starting their research and shopping earlier than ever. Consider getting out there earlier with more top-of-funnel keyword sets. Shopping is different than buying. Before a customer chooses what to buy, they do some research, and narrow down the product and vendor from which they will eventually purchase. Getting out there with your ads early on in this process gives your brand a better shot at being the chosen one. Google Analytics multichannel funnels report can really help you see the value higher purchase funnel keywords bring to your account. Google Analytics multichannel funnels

Shopping Feed Updates

Google Product Ads and Google Shopping campaigns, and even Bing Product Ads, have become the best way to engage with ecommerce shoppers through search marketing. Update your product feed with your latest pricing and submit your feed to Merchant Center as each update hits your site to ensure your Product Ads stay live. A simple discrepancy in pricing between your feed and your website can be enough for your whole feed to be suspended. This is worse than the Grinch stealing Christmas as you’re doing it to yourself!

Shopping Campaign Bidding

Shopping Campaigns are still a bit like the Wild West. Competition can come through quickly, results can vary quickly, and even where and when your ads display is still sometimes a surprise. Review your campaigns often and make sure you’re competitively bid for the types of positions you feel work best for your product ad profitability. If a competitor sees opportunity, they might take over a profitable space. Try to be familiar with which areas drive revenue and profit and strive to remain competitive there.

Encourage Communication Between Teams

The worst example of communication breakdown I can think of is when a company runs out of stock, but the advertising of a product continues. Not everyone on an ecommerce team will have access to the same information, so making sure vital signs like product stock are well known will make the money you spend on advertising go a little further during the holiday season.

Local Advertisers

You can use PPC to drum up business to brick and mortar stores by making sure you are promoting your in-store promotions in your ads. Be mindful of the geographic targeting you select – you want to make sure the audience you’re reaching will be able to take advantage of the promotion you’re pushing. Make sure to use location and call extensions to indicate you’re a local retailer, and give your ad copy a local spin to help it stand out even more. If you’re a local business, you can use Google’s Shopping Campaigns to promote an In Store Pick Up option.

Be Flexible

With the high volume of data you’ll get during this time of year, you’ll want to be able to analyze your new data and adjust your campaigns accordingly. Try to budget extra time to review your account and ad tests more regularly than you normally would during the rest of the year. Respond to how your account is performing and be ready to react to new data.


The holidays can be the most stressful time for online retailers, but with good planning, it can be fun and profitable. By making a special effort ahead of time, you should be able to take advantage of higher search volume and the fact that most people are now doing their holiday shopping online. Cut out the target keywords that don’t apply to your product or service in the holiday season and instead, focus your efforts on ramping up relevant seasonal keywords and using keywords targeted towards holiday shopping specifically so that your PPC campaigns bring you holiday joy and cheer.