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How to Create a Winning PPC Strategy for the Holidays

How to Create a Winning PPC Strategy for the Holidays


When you hear August, what comes to mind? Summer? 100 degree temps? Back to school? What about meaningless and boring preseason football games?

Now put yourself in the shoes of a PPC advertiser. If you think of the holidays when I say August, then you’re certainly on the right path. Actually, you’re on a great path … why don’t you apply to become part of the Forthea team as one of our PPC specialists?

Google says 40% of annual retail sales happen during the holiday season.  With that in mind, August is THE time for planning. PPC management and optimization is always a time consuming process, so it can be hard to think strategically about the future. But not being prepared for the holidays and carelessly throwing up a fourth quarter campaign the day before Thanksgiving will set you up for certain failure (or to put it less dramatically, your clients’ PPC campaigns won’t be as successful as they could be).

I won’t give you a complete holiday PPC plan – for that, go head and contact our team of highly skilled and analytics PPC specialists for more info – but here are 5 tips for creating a great holiday PPC strategy:

  1. Plan Ahead…Way Ahead. Review and analyze year over year data to determine the perfect plan of attack. When did traffic spike? Which products sold the most? What ad copy performed the best? How much budget should we allocate to the end of year, holiday push? These questions can all be answered by planning in advance. It’s also a great idea to build your buyer personas for your campaigns to ensure you have the best messaging for your target. Further breakdown your audience (go further than competitive, methodical, spontaneous and humanistic). Examples could include ahead of the curve shoppers, last minute shoppers, techies, low budget, huge budget, parents, kids, grandparents, 3rd cousins, etc.
  2. Ad Copy Roll Out Strategy – In addition to creating ads with messaging in line with your target demographic, develop an ad copy strategy for each month, week and day leading up to the last shipping day. These ads need to show a sense of urgency with up to date inventory and shipping deadlines.
  3. Remarket, Remarket, Remarket Shore up your marketing efforts with a highly targeted remarketing strategy and maintain your brand/product presence with people who visited your site but didn’t pull the trigger on a purchase. I recommend using traditional remarketing, dynamic remarketing if you have a Google merchant account and RLSA’s (remarketing lists for search ads).Being creative with remarketing lists is actually a lot of fun. Build lists based on brands or products viewed, product categories browsed, cart or purchase funnel abandonment, days since last visited, number of visits without a purchase, front end metrics like bounce rate, time on site, pages per visit…the possibilities are endless.Whatever route you choose to take, don’t be that creepy remarketer and set the appropriate frequency caps.
  4. Create a Google Shopping Campaign It’s definitely a good idea to run a standard search network PPC campaign, but it’s a GREAT idea to run a shopping (or PLA) campaign. If you’re currently running a shopping campaign, be sure to update and optimize your product feeds based on inventory and time sensitive messaging.
  5. Go Tangential Serve your ads to people who don’t know that your product is actually related to their searches. For example – your company sells feather pens. In a normal situation, you would want to target searches like “fountain pens”, “fancy pens”, etc.  To indirectly target people, try building a campaign focusing on keywords along the lines of “gifts for boss”, “gift for dads”, etc.
  6. BONUS TIP! Most PPC advertisers will stop at Christmas. Not smart. What’s one thing that almost everyone gets as a gift nowadays?Gift cards! Don’t forget to plan for the weeks following the holidays to capture the influx of gift card and returns/exchange search queries.

Contact Forthea today to get your holiday PPC Strategy on the right the track.

Courtesy of Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism.

Davis Baker
Davis is the PPC Team Lead at Forthea and a digital advertising veteran of six years. Outside of the office, you can find Davis running, riding his dirt bike, or searching for the perfect cup of coffee (freshly ground and brewed with a French press. Anything less just won't cut it).


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