10 Tips for Preparing Campaigns in Google Ads for Christmas

Up to 86% of shoppers were reached by digital ads in the 2017 pre-Christmas period. And as Christmas gets closer, every good PPC specialist should start to think about how to prepare and fine-tune the campaigns to the last detail. 

1. Preparation is key.

If you want your Christmas campaigns to be more successful than the previous ones, it is extremely important NOT to underestimate preparation. Believe it or not, many people start looking for inspiration for Christmas in November. Google claims shoppers start searching for Christmas presents two weeks before Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Do not miss this opportunity and have your Christmas campaigns ready in advance.

2. Are you sure you know your target group?

Keep in mind that the target audience that you are addressing throughout the year may not be the same as the one you want to reach during Christmas. Women are looking for men's sweaters, men, on the other hand, for women's perfumes. Grandchildren are looking for kitchen appliances for their older parents, etc. Perform a thorough keyword analysis and incorporate more general phrases into your campaigns - phrases that did not work for you in the course of the year, but whose search volume will rise rapidly with the onset of Christmas.

Yes, these are phrases like "Christmas gifts," "gifts for men/women," "ideal gift for Christmas," etc. For these keywords, create separate campaigns. Track and regularly optimize their performance. If you have a portfolio of products that could be the ideal gift under a Christmas tree, this type of campaign is great for you.

3. Prices will grow, grow and grow.

Do not underestimate regular CPCs during Christmas. First, make sure you have switched on the minimum eCPCs in each campaign. If you have enough conversions, we definitely recommend switching the campaign to tROAS in advance, so that way, the system will overcome the learning phase comfortably. Gradually, optimize tROAS step by step. Remember that the fewer days left until Christmas, the more you will pay per click. So, if you undertake a regular CPC adjustment, every fall in placement in ad auctions will mean an increasingly painful downgrade in performance.

Increasing budgets is also associated with an increased cost per click. Prepare your clients for it and do not limit your campaigns (at least not the strong ones). Be prepared to reach out to potential customers at each stage of the purchase cycle with your campaign of choice.

Recommendation: forget adjusting prices by day or by hour. In this period, the logic of your customers' behavior that you have observed throughout the year is not valid, and you have adjusted your bid according to this.

4. Christmas Test Your Copy Skills

Let's think about and fine-tune the communication strategy in the spirit of Christmas. Bidding costs will gradually rise, so you should use all options available from Google to push the ad to a higher position without incurring additional costs. Try to type the ads so that you include the keyword not only in headline1, but also in the description and in path 1. Tweak the headline 2 and description to fit a Christmas theme as much as possible. Show clients Christmas discounts, Christmas packing, and - most importantly for shoppers in this hectic period - a guaranteed delivery of goods until Christmas.

Update your ad extensions to Christmas events, discounts, and benefits. Make use of all available formats of extensions. It will make it easier for you to move your competitors’ ads to optically lower search results. Believe it or not, it can play a very significant role on mobile devices.

You can also highlight discounts through promotions within ad extensions. Don’t be afraid to incorporate them into your accounts. Seven out of ten Google users look for special offers or discounts before visiting the site. The promotion will definitely distinguish you from your competitor and at the same time will inform the potential buyer about the discount before they click on your ad. This gives you the advantage that buyers who are not attracted at first glance will not click, and you can save your money by investing in more relevant audiences.

A very interesting option is also a time-out. The potential customer will be under the psychological pressure to not wait to buy and to buy gifts in advance. Especially during Christmas time, the pressure is the best seller.

Recommendation: Make sure you don’t direct customers to sites where you have unavailable products. Stock availability is key during the Christmas season.

5. Be at the forefront of positions in searches

Yes, surely most of you know this bit will be about remarketing in searches - RLSA (remarketing list search ads). During the Christmas season, it will give you an extremely interesting snapshot that will allow your ads to appear on the Google search network higher than competitors' ads. Just select the right target audience with the appropriate bid adjustment and you are ready to be in a better position than your competitors.

Did you know that…?

You do not have to target only the people who caught your remarketing code within your RLSA campaign settings. One of the new features that Google Ads offers as a part of RLSA campaigns is the usability of acquisition audiences from content network. For e-shop clients, we highly recommend highly accurate and effective targeting to In-Market audiences, as shown below.

Expand your Remarketing audience in search networks for people who have searched for your products already for several days/weeks but have not yet come into contact with your site. In the challenging Christmas season when you are fighting with your competitors to get each and every one of your customers, you will definitely appreciate these additional targeting options in the RLSA.

6. The keywords in your account are never enough

If you don’t use DSA (dynamic search ads) campaigns during the year, then you should implement them in your account during Christmas time. This is a very appropriate form of promotion, especially for e-shops with a wide portfolio of products. DSA ads are displayed on the basis of the website content or the product feed linked to Google Ads.

If you set up DSA campaigns according to the first option (based on site indexing), be sure to exclude non-conversion pages from your website, such as Business Terms and Conditions, Contact, FAQs, and more. However, for the effectiveness of DSA campaigns, we recommend a second option: linking to a product feed.

If you work with DSA campaigns, be sure to update your description and ad extensions to incorporate a Christmas atmosphere.

7. Address customers who have not yet thought about your product

We have already explored the issue of the target group at Christmas. Have you already considered a content network acquisition strategy? Take your time and think about who your secondary target group is for Christmas. Which group of shoppers can might for your kind of goods as a Christmas present for someone? Do you have historical data? Check out Google Analytics, pull out last year's buyer stats, and reach out to a similar audience this year in advance.

If you do not have the data, you will have to use common sense and the targeting that Google Ads now offers. We recommend similar audiences - converters for e-shops within performance prospecting.

If you are not directly interested in performance within your acquisition campaigns, try custom intent audiences and custom affinity audiences. These types of audiences can be created according to your own needs and goals. Also very accurate is targeting using Keywords and In-Market. Keywords are also very accurate, as is In-Market. Google also promises a new Christmas Shoppers targeting for Christmas shopping destinations. We will definitely try it. What about you?

When fine-tuning banner campaigns, you must not forget about the creative. Go through all current campaigns and make sure you do not promote any summer outlets banners, etc.

For audiences from the upper-funnel, keep your banners tailor-made with actual discounts with a Christmas theme and link to the relevant Christmas landing pages. For lower-funnel publishers, use dynamic creatives that focus on viewed products with an aim to increase order volume.

8. Didn’t buy the first time? Never mind...

Remember, that conversion window is prolonged during Christmas. Set your remarketing strategy according to this fact. Do you have targeted audiences within 14 days of visiting your website? Try a 30-day remarketing audience. In the Christmas season, shoppers often put their chosen items into the shopping cart and then don’t buy them. Remind them to complete the purchase.

Do not forget to segment all your audiences in detail. Take full advantage of Google Ads setup and create a separate campaign for each audience.

This is the only reason that you can only restrict the display frequency at the campaign level.

The more days pass from when the customer visited your site, the bid and the display frequency for your audience is lower.

From a remarketing point of view, it may be interesting for you to know that, according to Google, up to 79% of people do not know what they are buying under the Christmas tree 10 days before Christmas. It is up to you to handle this information.

9. Shopping Ads (SHP)

Are your Shopping Ads working excellently? If you underestimate regular optimization, then believe us, this can change very quickly at Christmas time. Search volume will rise sharply, pricing will start to increase, and you are suddenly seeing fewer orders and "budget limited" in red letters in your campaigns. Increasing your budget according to Google recommendations is not a sufficient solution. Check the development of the metric "searchimpr. share" and its relation to the number of conversions you have reached. Don’t lose impressions only because you underestimate CPC settings. But be careful!

With this upgrading strategy, you can easily get beyond the cost-effectiveness. So, think carefully about which campaigns you want to push at the expense of others.  Another solution is to rely on the system and switch shopping ads to tROAS or take advantage of the new Google Smart Shopping Campaign.

10. Are you going to turn off campaigns after Christmas?

That’s a mistake! Remember that people nowadays receive gifts as well as money and often spend it immediately. Additionally, post-Christmas discounts in the e-commerce sector recorded a year-to-year sales growth of 15%. Again, it is up to you to make this trend a part of your communication strategy and update discounts well in advance. You do not want to still have text about Christmas in your post-Christmas discounts in your ad. But that's a topic for another article.

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Michal Jankovič

Google Ads Specialist

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