Ecommerce PPC Transitions to a Holiday Mindset

If your business or your clients are anything like ours are, there has been a continuous flux with the ebb and flow of learnings and adjustments in 2020. To put it another way, there has been a lot of wait, watch, see, try, adjust, cutback and spend more mix with each month.

With travel, trade show and other budgets not utilized, some companies are realizing that there is access budget that can be spent. Others have seen an unexpected uptick in Q3 after a very tumultuous Q2. Regardless, it’s been tough for many businesses to plan ahead when they are in survival mode. So, if you haven’t planned ahead for Q4 and the holidays, it’s not too late. Here are some tips to help you get ready.

Take Inventory

To know what products you know you can offer or feature in ads, make sure you have enough available. If you don’t have enough in stock, is it a product that can be ready in time? If not, then you know you shouldn’t feature this product is shopping ads or other image ads.

Similarly, take into account your shipping times, especially for items arriving from overseas. Determine the cut off date now for when your items can arrive in enough time with a little wiggle room for the holidays. Use that date to know when you need to pause certain ad groups or ad variants for impacted products.

Figure out if there might be a way to either re-invent to repurpose products as well this year to present them in a number of positive lights to prospects. Gift bundles, gift cards or gift ideas might be a great way to showcase your brand and/or products.

If quantity or shipping is an issue, consider focusing on products that you have plenty of in stock. No holiday shopper wants to order something only to find out that it’s been back-ordered until after the holidays.


Determine what types of promotions and offers you can make available. Some ideas include:

  • Season (fall sale, holiday sale)
  • Product-specific
  • Brand-specific
  • Holiday-specific (Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas)
  • Event-specific (Black Friday, Veteran’s Day)

Next, decide on ways you can get your promotion out. Here are a few ideas:


Take time out to evaluate your current remarketing and prospecting audiences to decide if you need to revise them for the holidays. Here are some ideas to think through for your remarketing audiences:

  • Number of days in the audience lookback window
  • First time and/or non-repeat buyers last holiday season
  • High value or revenue past buyers
  • Repeat holiday buyers
  • Buyers for specific products or product lines
  • Cart abandoners
  • Reached checkout but did not purchase
  • Completed another goal on your site but did not purchase

Don’t forget that you can also create audiences to exclude such as:

  • Low value or revenue past buyers
  • Non-repeat buyers
  • Past buyers who haven’t purchased in more than a certain period of time
  • Past buyers of products you no longer offer
  • Newsletter audiences

Remember, you can also create lookalikes for all of these to target for prospecting or for exclusion from prospecting campaigns.

Be creative with your database as well as what you can find in each particular platform. For example, if you do (or don’t) want to target those who have used promo codes in the past, you can export that list and create lookalikes from them. Or, you can exclude that audience from particular efforts. Similarly, search Facebook interests to those who do pay with a credit card (I.E. are more likely to buy online) vs those who are interested in freebies (and might not want to spend the money on your products if they are too expensive, but might if they are lower end).


It’s tough to predict exactly how buying patterns will shift this year. This is also a hard one since so many companies are in a state of right now. But, clearly having a budget outlined can make or break your spending. This is essential since CPCs go up at the holidays and you can expect them to be even more so this year with more online competition and less in-store traffic.

Take a look at your costs for past years and any trends you can find. If you have seen a huge spike over Thanksgiving weekend, then be sure to plan now to allow for extra budgets for that weekend this year as well.


Deciding on key performance indicators (KPIs) and how much wiggle room you’re willing to give them is key to making adjustments. Testing is imperative, not only from a creative standpoint, but also from a landing page one. Be sure to carve out time in advance for optimizations, remembering that you can’t rely on past performance insights to repeat this year

What else are you doing to prepare for your holiday marketing efforts? Comment below to share!