The holidays can be a volatile and risky time for advertisers, no matter what market you’re in.
For some businesses, it’s the best time of the year. For others, business can slow down dramatically.
- Online retailers and others who get a boost from the holidays see much conversion rates, higher search volume, and higher CPCs.
- Everyone else sees declining conversion rates, lower search volume, and typically level CPCs.
- Everyone experiences higher costs in display advertising, including remarketing,
For nearly all advertisers, though, the calendar itself is the greatest source of volatility.
Let’s look at the week of Black Friday a year ago:
This retailer is located in the UK, so the effects are a little less dramatic than the United States, but you can see that sales build from Black Friday all the way through the weekend.
Yes, I know I said “higher cost-per-click” and theirs didn’t go up, but that’s because the client prefers high ROI over growth and their campaigns have been managed to meet that goal.
The big holiday selling days are also the most profitable days for their Google Shopping Ads.
At the same time my Shopping client was celebrating, another advertiser lost $23,000
While the Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday period is a great time for retailers, it’s not a good time to be advertising for mortgage refinancing leads.
Especially if you’re just letting Google “manage” your campaigns for you.
In fact, I spent 20 precious Cyber Monday minutes on the phone with a guy who had lost $23k in the previous 4 days, thanks to the CPCs on his “Google optimized” campaigns going crazy.
No matter who you are, an Ads Calendar is essential this time of year!
There are actually holidays and other events that screw with your campaigns all year long, but the holiday season is just a whole other level of disruptive.
The good news is that you can use historical data (from your website and your ad campaigns) to plan for the holiday volatility in advance.
Here’s how to do it…
- Gather your data. I pull reports like the one above for each type of campaign (search, shopping, display, brand search). If you get the reports from Google Ads, you can set the date range for 14 days at a time, and I recommend you look at data from early-mid November, all the way through mid-January.
- If you don’t have historical data from ad campaigns, look at overall website performance in Analytics, especially conversion rates.
- Adjust your dates and plan accordingly. Last year, Black Friday was November 24, this year it’s November 25. It’s important to adjust for that because the day of the week is a huge part of the volatility.
What to do with your data
Every campaign is different, but it should be obvious that if you’re expecting bad performance on a give date, you should take steps (lower bids, pausing ads) to avoid that.
On the other hand, if you expect to do well on a given date, you probably want to do more.
That client of mine is even going to let me raise bids on Black Friday this year, so they can get more sales.
Need help getting your Google Ads in shape? Let’s talk.
Getting your campaigns in shape for the holidays is a chore, but you can get my team to help.
1. If you just want to have me do the audit, review my suggestions, and not hire me to run your campaigns, I charge $497 for an account review, which is refundable if you’re not happy with my work.
2. If you’d like to hire me and my team to run your Shopping campaigns this year, click here to get signed up.
Both of those offers come with a full guarantee.
In the next post, I’ll show you how my retailer clients dominate the SERPs on Black Friday, with a step-by-step video walkthrough of the “keyword busting” strategy we use.
If you’re an email subscriber, I’ll notify you as soon as it’s posted.
In the meantime, if you’ve got questions… Ask!