holiday giftsIt’s never too early! Holiday PPC preparations should be on everyone’s mind this month.

Whether it’s upping your ad budget because holiday shopping is the biggest part of your business, or reducing your budget as you go into a slower period, start planning for it now.

For ecommerce sites, particularly ones that do a bulk of their business in November and December, here are some tips for a more successful PPC season:

Plan Your Promotions and Sales

If you have any holiday offers, the sooner you plan for them, the better.

When it comes to PPC, if your promotion runs for less than a week, I don’t suggest running ads for it. The nature of PPC means that the ads never get a chance to fully get up to speed before they get shut off. But you can do promotion extensions on existing ads. In addition, if you have Shopping ads, you can usually do promotions in Merchant Center.

If your promotion is longer than a week, you can do ad copy that highlights your offers. You need to know the offer, the start date (including time of day and time zone), the end date (including time of day and time zone), as well as the landing page URL.

“Holiday-ify” Your Website

Change your website to have a winter or holiday theme. It could be a thematic background or banner, or really anything that gets people into the holiday shopping spirit.

Highlight Your Unique Selling Proposition

Every page of your site should highlight your USP. Do you offer free shipping on all orders or free shipping on orders over a certain size? Are you extending your return policy into January? Do you offer a free warranty? Whatever it is, make sure it’s visible on every page.

Create New Image Ads

Create new holiday-themed ads for any display campaigns, especially for your remarketing campaigns. Consider scheduling a series of ads leading up to your Dec. 25 shipping cut-off date, and continuing through the post-holiday shopping period. This plan has been successful for my clients in the past.

Plan to Increase Your Spend

Think about what kind of increased budgets you want. You should start to increase spend at the beginning of November. In addition, I highly recommend boosting (even doubling) budgets on Cyber Monday (Dec. 2, 2019) and through the rest of December.

Determine Your Shipping Cut-off Date

If you have a date when you stop guaranteeing arrival by Christmas, make sure you highlight it on the site. I have some clients who even turn off their advertising for just those few days after the cut off but before Christmas, because it doesn’t make sense to be spending money on ads when you can’t fulfill the orders in time.

Think About Post-Holiday

Right after Christmas, through the first two or sometimes three weeks of January, can be very strong for sales. Some will have gift cards to spend that are burning holes in their pockets. Others will return things and want to purchase something else. Don’t neglect those shoppers! Keep your budget up to support the volume.

Every Business Model Has Seasonality

Even sites that aren’t ecommerce-based or business-to-consumer need to mind their seasonal trends.

Look at the web analytics data for your holiday season in years past. Does your volume increase because companies are trying to spend money left in the budget? Does your volume decrease because people are taking time off?

If you have any seasonal trends at all, and you have someone who manages your paid search for you, it’s time to sit down with them to strategize.

One last thought: January also tends to be a strong month for many business-to-business clients, as the new year’s budgets open up new spend for their clients. With that in mind, think about applying additional spend to your PPC campaigns to target customers eager to start 2020 off with a bang!