Group Media Director

Essential PPC Planning Tips for Holiday Success

The holiday season is make or break for many marketers’ and brands’ annual goals. Consumers are ready to close the year out by finding the perfect present, and we are here to help make that search as easy as possible. Rise’s Paid Search experts can guide you and your customers through all stages of their holiday shopping journey with a tailored plan that maximizes every dollar.

Make your list, check it twice—here are the essential paid search steps to ensure you’re covered this holiday shopping season:

Use your Early Shoppers’ Data for Incremental Revenue

Over the past few years, the holiday season’s previously business as usual time frame now starts much earlier. In fact, Google saw 26% more holiday queries in October 2021 than the year prior. September and October are now the months to build consideration, finalize testing, and increase your remarketing audiences. 

Keep this in mind not only with your budgeting, but also your planned Paid Search copy. Use these tactics to build remarketing lists of early-bird shoppers:

  • Responsive Search Ads (RSA) are a helpful, dynamic ad type that allow for testing copy at scale, especially during the times that matter most. 
  • Create a strategy around early-bird shoppers like gift guide previews and early deals to get ahead of the competition and last minute premium cost per clicks (CPCs). 
  • Increase efficiency during high-demand days by prioritizing bid adjustments and promotions for these highly qualified shoppers.

Plan for Key Holiday Shopping Days

Being prepared for the traditionally key holiday shopping dates is still vital to capture as many relevant searches as possible. Marketers should plan for more flexible budgets during these days and highlight your best offers to capture as much potential demand as possible. 

It is helpful to analyze the previous year’s efforts. Pay particular attention to any days when campaigns may have run out of budget so that you can update and plan for these holiday season dates:

Cyber Week

  • Black Friday- the day after Thanksgiving
  • Small Business Saturday- Saturday after Thanksgiving
  • Cyber Monday- Monday after Thanksgiving

Many brands now extend or update deals throughout the rest of the week. 

Philanthropic tangent: Giving Tuesday is the day after Cyber Monday!

Now or Never

  • Green Monday- originally coined by eBay in 2007, usually the last Monday of December with at least 10 days before Christmas
  • Super Saturday- Saturday before Christmas, when many shipping deadlines occur

Support Promotions with Elevated Creative

Both Google Ads and Microsoft Ads continue to innovate ad formats to help advertisers showcase their unique offers and deals. Both engines support price and promotion extensions that effectively highlight the best deals. They also allow advertisers to create dynamic customizers, like a countdown within their creative, to bring urgency to time-bound promotions.

Both search engines have native ad formats on their platforms, which introduce additional visual ad formats and placements for brands to further showcase themselves. 

  • Microsoft Audience Ads allow an advertiser to create ads that combine rich imagery and text across Microsoft’s premium partner websites like MSN,, and Microsoft Edge. 

  • Google’s Discovery Ads are a native ad offering that allows extended reach within Gmail, YouTube, and the Google Discover Feed.

Both ad formats are targeted via their respective platform’s audience products and can help to proactively generate interest particularly for mid-funnel, early-bird shoppers who may be committed to specific searches.

Make your Shopping Campaigns Smarter

Shopping campaigns are essential for eCommerce success. Key elements advertisers should plan for are a clean data-rich feed, a calendar of shopping promotions, and strategic bidding and budgeting.

An easy option to handle bidding and budgeting is to create Google Smart Shopping campaigns segmented by margin or return on ad spend (ROAS) goals. 

Smart Shopping campaigns feature Shopping ads, local inventory ads, and display ads (including dynamic remarketing and prospecting), which can appear on Google, Google Display Network (GDN), YouTube, and Gmail.

On the Microsoft side, Product Ads are a great way to make the most out of the shopping feed. Microsoft Product Ads allow advertisers to reach users who may not be available on Google, who are often an older demographic and more affluent. This is a great way to get potential shoppers to start considering your products before they even start searching.

Showcase Shopping Ads beyond SERPs

While shopping ads typically drive a lot of success for eCommerce clients, sometimes they have limited reach on a search engine results page (SERP). To help further highlight products and offers outside of the SERPs, take Shopping Ads a step further and opt into Performance Max, the next phase of Smart Shopping and Location Ads. 

With this new Google installment, you can engage customers with Shopping ads and inventory across all of Google’s advertising channels — including YouTube, Display, Search, Discover, Gmail, and Maps — all from a single campaign.

Elevate your Search Game with Smart Bidding

A well-crafted automated bidding strategy is now a staple to achieving the best possible results and saving time. Google’s SmartBidding allows for machine learning algorithms to fine-tune bidding at the time of the auction, leading to more agile bidding. Automated bidding platforms like SA360 also offer advantages for advertisers running ads on multiple platforms.

Preparing for the holiday season can be overwhelming, even with a checklist. Contact Rise to help you craft your holiday strategy and navigate new features available this season.

Third Update: November 2022

Second Update: October 29, 2020 

Original: September 2019

11/07/2022 at 02:25