Preparing For The Holidays

This week Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro) came up with yet another great question set titled “Preparing For The Holidays.” The following is the transcribed Streamcap from the live chat:

Q1: How aggressively have you pushed your clients to think and be ready for the holidays? What are some tactics you’ve used?

  • No relevant clients at the moment, so I’m thinking more in terms of conserving $$ by blocking unwanted traffic. – Theresa Zook (@I_Marketer)
  • Agressively! Actually getting them to do promo calendars etc ahead of time! – Bryant Garvin (@BryantGarvin)
  • I never stopped talking holiday after last year! Q4 needs to be thought of and addressed all the time! – Matt Umbro
  • Depends on the client. Some are more laid back and need a nudge, others are driving the holiday bus. – James Svoboda (@Realicity)
  • I don’t do much ecomm, but same logic applies – always be thinking about maxing impact with seasonal opportunities! – Julie Bacchini (@NeptuneMoon
  • YoY data is key as well as pushing forecasted trends on important holiday season starts. – Gil Hong (@Gil__Hong)
  • Holiday planning began in Aug. Most holiday ads are written & waiting to get enabled on Thanksgiving night. Sad it’s that early. – Joe Martinez (@MilwaukeePPC)
  • Summertime, usually b/c they’re sure of inventory levels and spend by around June-Aug. – Susan Wenograd (@SusanEDub)
  • Making sure AdWords efforts are in sync with their email marketing promos for the holidays. – Paolo Vidali (@PaoloRobot)
  • We’ve been working on updating Merchant Ctr feeds & getting holiday promo content for ads, landing pages, & testing. – Andrew Miller (@AndrewCMiller
  • Still coming across sites/companies that don’t have Shopping/PLA campaigns or feeds enabled yet. – Bryant Garvin
  • Plan & set budgets for tent pole days like BF,CM,GF. Important to push past generic 10% daily budget increase from clients. – David Weichel (@DavidWeichel)
  • I’ll roll mine up within existing campaigns – Holiday’s are rough in my business and we don’t do holiday only deals. – Matthew Lloyd (@MaLloyd20)

Q2: Do you create specific holiday campaigns or do your holiday efforts get rolled up into existing campaigns?

  •  I always cringe when I hear new holiday campaigns are being created for the holidays…you adjust bids/copy, not new campaigns! – Matt Umbro
  • A mix of both. New campaigns for holiday specific terms. New ads in existing campaigns. – Luke Alley (@LukeAlley)
  • It depends! on whether the products are strictly a Hoiday buy or year round inventory potential. – Bryant Garvin
  • You’re not selling anything new. No reason to create new campaigns, IMO. – Leo Sussan – (@lsussan
    • That is not always true! Some companies only carry certain products during the holidays. – Bryant Garvin
      • Fair, but the novelty of those products is the reason to create the new campaign, not the holiday part. – Leo Sussan
        • Actually it’s because of the Holidays that they even have them 😉 plus I generally create holiday keyword focused ones. – Bryant Garvin
        • Plus if you created those campaigns last year then no need to re-create this year, just turn them on. – Brett Stevens (@BrettStevens1)
          • Yes if already created can just add to it, or restart them. Some though are say popculture or never done. – Bryant Garvin
            • Ya true, some companies come out with new products every year and cut out others from inventory. – Brett Stevens
        • Is more like difference between limited edition items & special promos, right? – Julie Bacchini
          • More like some items sell really well during the holidays & not the rest of the year. – Bryant Garvin
  • New campaigns all the way to utilize special PPC budgets for holidays. – Paolo Vidali
    • Right, but I would still consider those product specific campaigns rather than holiday. I guess my main pet peeve is just the notion of a holiday specific campaign 🙂 – Never saw the need. – Matt Umbro
  • It also depends if you have Holiday Themed potential marketing – i.e Thanksgiving Recipes etc. – Bryant Garvin
  • It usually depends on the scope of the promotion is. Does it justify a dedicated structure? Or just updating ads & sitelinks. – Gil Hong
  • Holiday only campaigns for sure on holiday-related items. Year round product just gets a new set of ads from me. – Joe Martinez
  • Both of them. For some campaigns is good to keep historical data. For more aggresive actions new ones. – Rafa Jimenez (@Rafa_Jimenez)
  • I can understand creating separate holiday keyword campaigns – but not new campaigns altogether targeting same products. – Matt Umbro
    • Agree. I use labels if I need to add anything or want to note it separately but not req’ing a separate structure. – Susan Wenograd
  • Usually creative rotations in existing campaigns. Ad Customizers is going to be huge (when it works). Seeing some ads w/ 0 imps. – Andrew Miller
  • Also depends on if you change your site’s look for the holidays. We do so we use the same pages…thus same ad groups. – Joe Martinez
  • Search based Text Ad campaign usually get new ads and promotions for exisiting keywords. New KWs are an option also. Display and Retargeting often get new campaigns, creative, landing pages, etc. – James Svoboda
    • True, but to capitalize on demand and previous visitors…but I see your point. – Matt Umbro
  • Mix of both, but mostly within existing architecture. New campaigns only for new inventory, or exclusives (esp Google Shopping). – David Weichel
  • When you do some changes on an Adwords Account, it will never come to be the same. Watch out with changes. – Rafa Jimenez
    • Have noticed this too. Makes me think twice before *any* change, even the most obvious. – Luke Alley
  • Had a Diamond Ecomm site last year created Black Friday & Christmas specific KW campaigns drove 25% of revenue. – Bryant Garvin
  • I’ve seen good results as well. Use “Black Friday” KWs before Friday to capture early interest–>Retarget. – James Svoboda

Q3: What is something you like to do during the holiday season that you wouldn’t normally do throughout the year? Why?

  • I really like taking a deep dive into competitor ads. Once in awhile you’ll find some great gems. – Gil Hong
  • I’m more likely to bid on standard broad match terms to capture volume – I’m OK with some crap during this time of year. – Matt Umbro
  • Thinking of doing holiday themed landing pages with some sort of special deal. Thoughts? It’s our down season. – Matthew Lloyd
  • I’ll also turn frequency capping off during the holiday season as users are going to be mobbed anyway with ads. – Matt Umbro
    • This is where volume vs efficiency conversations REALLY come into play for. – Bryant Garvin
  • Holiday themed ads with clever play on words… Gobble Gobble, Fill up on Savings on this XYZ. – James Svoboda
  • I’ll say it again Countdowns (scripts etc) till last moment for “Guaranteed Delivery by X” – Bryant Garvin
  • I extend frequency capping for my Display and Remarketing campaigns. Works well with last minute shoppers. – Joe Martinez
  • I love to work with tones of traffic. You can take decisions quicker. – Rafa Jimenez

Q4: We’ve hit on it somewhat, but do you utilize automation during the holiday season (rules, scripts, etc)? Why or why not

  • Absolutely! Love me the countdown script and scheduling holiday ads. – Matt Umbro
  • Well, you definitely want to avoid having time-limited offers show up past their time. – Jonathan Maltz (@MaltzPPC)
  • When I can I do, but there is a fair amount of by hand updating I do over the holidays, esp. with daily budgets. –  Kiko Correa (@obiwankikobi)
    • Good point – always have to be checking to increase exposure where you can. – Matt Umbro
  • Countdown Script has always been good for me during the holidays. Bidding adjustments sometimes. Depends on global or not. – Joe Martinez
  • We’re tooling up ad customization for a couple of financial accounts, and we’ve got some rules set for the major holdiays. – Leo Sussan
  • Make sure you test copy with Black Friday/Cyber Monday messaging – searchers want to see everything holiday! Smaller tip but test putting Black Friday or Cyber Monday into the display URL, ie: company.com/Black-Friday. – Matt Umbro

Q5: For those with lead gen accounts, how do you approach the holiday season?

  • Depends on the specific business, but I will look at year over year behavior and trends and adjust accordingly. – Kiko Correa
  • We make sure to pause/bid down campaigns when clients’ offices are closed to minimize missed leads, save $ for peak times. – Andrew Miller
  • Approach knowing Q4 budgets for businesses can often be used up by the time Thxgiving rolls around. – Paolo Vidali
  • Still try to run some holiday promos, but traffic usually takes a dip around the holidays for us. – John Budzynski (@Budzynski
  • For lead-gen, work with their sales teams and consider pausing or lowering volume. – Luke Alley
  • It depends. Sometimes it’s a good opportunity to take advantage of the slowness to test some new things w/o negative impacts. – Jonathan Maltz
  • More time to find out which leads are turning into sales. – Matt Umbro
  • Really depends on the industry. First of all to clean your CRM. – Benito Peral (@benitoperal)
  • A lot of home services clients offer emergency/after hours repairs. With holidays, house guests, & travel, things break…a lot. – Andrew Miller

Q6: How do you plan to keep the holiday momentum going after the New Year?

  • Valentines day, st. patricks day, arbor day, mothers day,… it never ends! – James Svoboda
  • That’s where the momentum starts! – John Budzynski
  • I’ve sometimes found that January performs even better than Nov/Dec – people want to use their holiday money. – Matt Umbro
  • You can increase cross selling by impacting users who already bought by redirecting them to different LP. – Benito Peral
  • More segmentation of remarketing lists for follow-up campaigns, lead nurturing, squeezing more out of the post-holiday crowd. – Andrew Miller
  • Remarket with “next-step” buys. (Ex. Bought a guitar from us? Now you need strings, straps, pedals, etc.). – Joe Martinez
    • Yep! trying to sell related products. – Rafa Jimenez
  • Jan/Feb is huge for healthcare clients as people get new insurance, new HSA funds, etc. Search volumes & new patients follow. – Andrew Miller
    • And health supplements – people have resolutions to start strong! – Matt Umbro

Q7: Once Q4 is over, will you immediately analyze performance for 2015 planning or hold off until later? Why?

  • Recover from the eggnog overload then start immediately from the product side. Marketing side comes right after that! – Joe Martinez
  • Will start looking at holiday performance immediately and look for what I can do to beat it next year. – Kiko Correa
  • Start planning once we’ve brought everything back to pre-Q4 levels – bids, budgets, copy, etc. – David Weichel

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Participants

Check out the PPCChat Twitter list to see and connect with all current and prior participants.

• Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro)
• James Svoboda (@Realicity)
• Paul Kragthorpe (@PaulKragthorpe)
• Andrew Miller (@AndrewCMiller)
• Benito Peral (@benitoperal)
• Brett Stevens (@BrettStevens1)
• Bryant Garvin (@BryantGarvin)
• David Weichel (@DavidWeichel)
• Gil Hong (@Gil__Hong)
• Joe Martinez (@MilwaukeePPC)
• John Budzynski (@Budzynski)
• Jonathan Maltz (@MaltzPPC)
• Julie Bacchini (@NeptuneMoon)
• Kiko Correa (@obiwankikobi)
• Leo Sussan – (@lsussan)
• Luke Alley (@LukeAlley)
• Matthew Lloyd (@MaLloyd20)
• Paolo Vidali (@PaoloRobot)
• Rafa Jimenez (@Rafa_Jimenez)
• Susan Wenograd (@SusanEDub)
• Theresa Zook (@I_Marketer)
 

Preparing for Holiday Streamcaps

This is a guest post by Paul Kragthorpe; works at WebRanking in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Connect with Paul @PaulKragthorpe, and Google Plus.

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