How To Stay Jolly With the Holiday Season Kick-Off

ellenplugsIt’s the mooooooooost wonderful time of the year.

And the most stressful.

And the one with the most offers.

And the one where the “do all the things now” mentality comes on strong.

What time is it? It’s holiday shopping season!

In anticipation of the advertising extravaganza that will befall most PPCers next week, I put together a round-up of a few helpful tactics and tips to have in your arsenal. Before you flip the switch on your advertising efforts, consider a few of these to help automate your efforts.

Scheduling by Labels

If you have ad copy that has to be rotated out throughout the day or overnight, consider using Labels to automate it for you. You can set start/stop dates and times for labeled items in your account, and ad copy is no different. Have your Black Friday copy go live overnight, and stop when the day is done without having to touch a thing in your turkey-induced coma.

To do this, label your ads however makes sense to you. Then click on “Automate,” where you’ll see options for when to pause or enable ads.


Choosing one of those options gives you a dialog box where you can set up your rules:


Here you can specify which labels to start/stop and the date and time when it should happen. Note: Google reserves the right to pause that ad anytime within the hour you specify, not right on the dot. So if you say to pause it at 11am, it could happen later than that. Err on the side of caution and schedule it to pause a little earlier than you want to, in order to be safe.

Scheduled Sitelinks

Got a Black Friday only deal that might be a “nice to know” but isn’t necessarily what you want running in a bunch of ad copy? Set up Sitelinks for the deal that take the user right to that page, but use the scheduling feature so it changes out once Black Friday/Cyber Monday/Whatever is over:


Dust Off Those Audiences

This is a great time of year to use remarketing on those audiences that may have bought from you in the past but have been dormant for awhile. I usually recommend that retailers have audiences where the lookback window is longer than 30 days so you have a nice, fat list from previous months.

Let’s say your audience includes users from the past 6 months who bought from you. Then you have an audience of folks who have purchased in the last 30 days. You can set up your ads to target those who bought from you in the last 6 months, but exclude those who purchased in the 30 days in order to get yourself back to being top-of-mind with dormant purchasers.

Get creative with your lists, as well.  If someone bought a giftable item like Perfume, consider testing a “Gift Guide for Her” creative push and target those purchasers. Think through who your users are and who they buy for during this time of year, and tie that back to what their behavior may have been with you previously.

Budget Warnings

If you’re afraid Black Friday will blow through your budget but you have too much going on to monitor it continuously, set up an Alert. You can tell AdWords to email you when your cost gets above a certain amount that you specify. That way you have a heads up if budget’s getting low and you want to make adjustments or pull from a lower-performing campaign to reallocate funds.

Like Scheduling for Labels, this is under the “Automate” tab. Simply choose “Send Email When…” and then specify your parameters!

Structured Snippets

Google AdWords announced that they will have Structured Snippet options specific to Black Friday and Cyber Monday available for advertisers starting on November 20th. Rather than rehash these, check out the great recap by Ginny over on SEL.

On a somber note…

If you are running in France on Black Friday, take heed of a helpful warning from Lisa Sanner. France is referring to the tragic attacks from last week as “Black Friday,” so be sensitive to this in the ad copy, links, and any reference you make within your advertising for the holiday season.