Tis The Season! Marketing For The Holidays

Nov 18th 2016

Tis The Season! Marketing For The Holidays


With the craziness of the holidays almost upon us, now’s the time to start preparing for the season!


In between looking for presents, setting up decorations, and bracing yourself for awkward dinner conversations with distant family, how can you expect to find the time to tailor your paid marketing efforts to the holidays?

We have some tips that could prove helpful.


1: Shuffle your campaign budgets

It’s easy to get comfortable with a well-performing account. Your campaigns worked well all year, why mess with success, right? Unfortunately, the holidays are a completely different beast than the rest of the year.

Consumers are far more transaction-minded during the holidays, and you should be capitalizing on that mindset by moving your budget around to maximize results and minimize waste. Support high-potential areas such as a shopping campaign or a shopping campaign dedicated to a sale you are offering. Move budget away from lead-generation campaigns.

If you are in a B2B space where the holiday season is your slow time, now could be a great time to cut budget and strategize for the upcoming year.


2: Build out new campaigns

Now you might be thinking, “I already changed my budgets around, but I still don’t think I’m prepared for the season.” Well, the next step is to simply build out a new campaign. This is something to do right away (or get your marketing professionals to do for you) – the sooner you can start the traffic flow, the better! I advise focusing your holiday campaign(s) on a few specific products that you expect to perform well.

Things to keep in mind for holidays-only campaigns.

  • While you can replicate your holiday campaign from last year, be careful to update it with expanded text ads, all your ad extensions, and the right url pathing.
  • Be sure to add negative keywords to this campaign, so that you do not compete with your regular ads.
  • If you don’t want to carefully build a negative keyword list, another option is to create a copy of your current account with new ads that showcase your holiday sales and direct people straight to that landing page.

With this last option, be careful not to copy over your regular ads, as you do not want to erase any data that you have accrued over the lifetime of the account!


3: Set up holiday promo codes, special offers, and sales

All right, we have discussed how to organize your holiday marketing efforts. However, we have yet to go over one of the most important aspect of a holiday campaign:

It is absolutely essential that you have a tailored, specific destination for your traffic.

These pages should be:

  • Built to convert well
  • Integrated with your current tracking in Google Analytics
  • Filled with all the relevant information about your holiday sale.

If you don’t have anything specific on sale, sending paid traffic to a promo code is a great, low-budget way to incentivize potential customers to visit your site and convert. If you don’t have any sales or promo codes active, I highly recommend you create some right away.

Choose a product or service with high interest and a strong margin, and watch traffic numbers swell as the end of the year approaches!


4:  Run branded ads pointing to a great landing page.

Let’s use promo codes as an example for this next bit of advice. If you don’t have an actionable way to put a new page on your site to use as a landing page for your promo code, you can make it a PPC only sale. Here’s how to do it:

Take your promo code and make it part of the headline of your holiday ad.

Direct traffic to the portion of your site where they can enter the code (or use call-only ads if you don’t have a place for gift/promo codes), and include helpful sitelinks that allow your customers to figure out exactly where they want to go on your site. This is a great practice not only for promo code ads, but for holiday ads in general.

If you want to see your overall conversion rate go up, run an ad for your company name that drives traffic to a high-converting landing page. This will direct a decent amount of your typical organic traffic to a page that is designed to convert them at a very low cost to your business. Because the term you are bidding on is branded, you will have an excellent quality score and your ad will be very cheap to maintain first position on.

Be sure to put this ad in its own campaign, or in your existing branded campaign if you have one, as its metrics will be skewed by your typical organic traffic.


5: B2B – Set up automated rules to shut down or decrease bids

If you’ve read through this guide and don’t feel like any of these solutions apply to you, perhaps you are advertising for a B2B business that just doesn’t need to ramp up for the holidays. in that case, ignore everything I have said so far – you are going into one of the slowest seasons of the year.

This section also applies to any B2C company that has a slump during the holidays (they’re rare, but they do exist). It is time to winterize your account:

  • Lower bids significantly
  • Reduce your hours in which you are advertising with ad scheduling,
  • Set up forwarding if you rely on email leads. (You don’t want one team member’s week-long absence to ruin your ability to respond to inquiring customers)  
  • Consider shutting down your digital advertising completely.

I know this last point sounds weird coming from someone who works in digital marketing, but hear me out. If you know that the holidays are a bad time of year for business, put that money elsewhere. Save it for a new PPC platform to try in January, use it as a surplus to add to well-performing campaigns, or treat your employees to a nice lunch.


I hope this has been helpful, and that it takes some of the stress out of the holiday season. Relax, drink some eggnog, and have a terrific end of your year!

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