PPC Chat Streamcap – The Tricks & Treats of Halloween PPC

This week James Svoboda (@Realicity) hosted a spooky great question set titled “The Tricks & Treats of Halloween PPC.” The following is the transcribed Streamcap from the live chat:

Q1: Have you ever run a Ecommerce PPC campaign that was influenced by the Halloween Holiday? If so, how?

  • Yes, a separate, seasonal campaign targeting Halloween terms. – Jeremy Brown (@JBGuru)
  • Kinda…I have to keep a watch out for costume related negatives this time of year for clothing retailers. – Heather Cooan (@HeatherCooan)
  • Yes. Busiest time of the year. – Richard Fergie (@RichardFergie)
  • Halloween has not yet played a role in an ecommerce campaign of mine, but if it were, I’d start early and place a greate emphesis on the ads for the CRO boost. – James Svoboda (@Realicity)
  • Yes! Cheap kid costumes (licensed). Competitive as heck. Luckily it was a couple of years ago & long tail targeting was more effective (along w/ multiple sites to take up some shelf space). – Chris Kostecki (@chriskos)
  • Only if clients’ websites list a holiday related special for consistency reasons. – Nicole Mintiens (@Tregesy)
  • Had 3 clients in the Halloween space. So mid-Sep and on was the window of opportunity. For ecommerce 1 & 2-day shipping is CRUCIAL. – Neil Sorenson (@iNeils)
  • Yes, a haunted house company that only ran a campaign leading up to Halloween every year. – Bethany Bey (@Bethany_Bey)
  • Only once. A client sold a halloween soundtrack. Promoted Itunes and CD sales. Itunes sales did best. – Luke Alley (@LukeAlley)
  • Had Nickelodeon as a client for a while early on. Needless to say, costumes were big sellers. – Aaron Levy (@bigalittlea)

Q2: What PPC advice would you give to someone for a campaign for a Halloween Event such as a hotel, restaurant or similar?

  • Choose negatives carefully. Halloween related search volume is huge & you want the right visitors. – Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)
  • Think about time frame. Do people need to purchase far in advance? Then make sure to stop the campaign early. – Jeremy Brown
  • Awareness will be key to event success. Dig into display and FB. Create a backbone of PPC to catch traffic as awareness grows. – Mark Jensen (@Just_Markus)
  • Daily budget for holiday events need to be paid attention to closely! – James Svoboda
  • Think about how people really search before building out a campaign – don’t get too specific. – Aaron Levy
  • Geo target, & go after general event searches more than holiday searches. As Melissa said, negatives around pic queries important. – Chris Kostecki
  • Start earlier than you think you need to optimize performance. – Bethany Bey
  • Consider it a 2 year campaign… What you learn this year will make next Halloween even better. – James Svoboda
    • Historical Data + Google Insights is great. – Mark Jensen
    • Yes, and AdWords remarketing cookies have a maximum life of 18 months! – Heather Cooan
  • Don’t forget that Halloween is very seasonal for costumes. Often trends can vary in a year. – Jeremy Brown

Q3: How do you approach a promotion for an holiday like Halloween? Unique text ads, ad groups and/or whole separate campaigns?

  • Something I noticed heavily is that users append the year (2012) more than normal to their searches for Halloween KWs. – Neil Sorenson
    • True. I also see this for most annual occurances such as events and new products like “2012 BMW." – James Svoboda
  • I tend to comb through the KW tool for holiday related searches and change up ad text. – Heather Cooan
  • For client with Halloween items, separate campaign. For just a promo, new ad copy. – Jeremy Brown
  • I have not found success acknowledging holiday keywords, instead just re-message ads and LP against established terms. – Chris Kostecki
  • If targeting Halloween specific Keywords, then I’d go with unique Campaigns or Ad Groups. If normal KWs, then unique Ads. – James Svoboda
  • Adding new campaigns for holiday promotions is nice. When next year rolls around you have your data and work easily available. – Mark Jensen
  • Mostly focus on copy and landing pages to push promo to reg searchers, then build a small holdiay specific campaign. – Aaron Levy
  • New campaign usually, and add holiday-specific sitelinks to other campaigns if applicable. – Bethany Bey
  • Have run into problems pausing non-holiday ads and only doing holiday ads. Have control ad and 1 or 2 holiday ads. – Luke Alley
    • I like to keep 1 normal ad running along side holiday ads and Rotate Evenly. That way no monster dip in impressions. – James Svoboda
    • Retaining best headlines w rewrites keeps performance from dipping too much. – Chris Kostecki

Q4: What website and landing page changes would you make for a holiday promotion such as Halloween to increase your PPC results?

  • If it’s a big enough promo, feature it on the homepage and general header for each page. – Jeremy Brown
  • The more closely aligned the PPC ads and landing pages (message match) the better performance. Budget is always a consideration. – James Svoboda
  • Honestly, more focused on fall season than halloween holiday. – Chris Kostecki
  • Even if your products aren’t Halloween themed some non-distracting images (jack-o-lanterns, etc) hanging around add a nice touch. – Neil Sorenson
  • Follow best LP principles. Keep it relevant to your keywords, ads, and offer. Include holiday cues and colors. – Mark Jensen
  • Adding Halloween imagery even if you don’t sell Halloween products show your returning visitors the site is actively updated. – Neil Sorenson
    • Yes and makes you stand out from the crowd. Better chance they’ll remember you. – James Svoboda
  • Can always have an animated black cat “walk” across the site and say if you dont buy now you have bad luck. – Chris Kostecki

Q5: What considerations do you have for an AdWords Display Network campaign?

  • Applies for any time-sensitive campaign – but consider ad approval time delays. Especially around holidays. – Timothy Jensen (@timothyjjensen)
  • Depends on goals, but I’d abuse “last minute costume/gift/party ideas” placements on content farms. – Aaron Levy
  • Probably good for awareness as the day gets closer. People more and more focused as October progresses. – Jeremy Brown
    • Good point. We’re in corn maze and apple orchard season now, Halloween really builds in a week or two. – James Svoboda
  •  I love display for short run events. As mentioned, increase awareness through display, capitalize with remarketing and search. – Mark Jensen
  • Choose your targets wisely, exclude poor sites quickly. Prly lots of low quality halloween sites. – Luke Alley
    • Yup! Analytics data can give even quicker display opt times. – Mark Jensen
  • Orange is an attention color online. Using it in ads will draw eyeballs and increase CTR. Holiday tie-in helps too. – James Svoboda

Q6: How would a Facebook Halloween campaign differ from one ran on another platform?

  • Target Women between 25 and 40 who like Sesame Street and sell them kids costumes. Facebook is great for Halloween because of those demographic targets. Drill down to the personal of who buys your products. FB is also great for events because of the reach a CPM ad can have in a short amount of time. – James Svoboda
  • As with all things FB PPC, get very creative with images. Space gets crowded in key demos (ie women 25-40). – Melissa Mackey
  • When selling costumes, best performance came from targeting costume subject, FB amplifies the ability. – Chris Kostecki
  • Target people who love horror movies and sell them tickets to your haunted house! – Aaron Levy
  • Since Halloween is a very Social Holiday, Facebook sponsored ads are great for increasing additional followers. – James Svoboda

Q7: How could you creatively use Remarketing? Any different considerations for pre vs. post Halloween?

  • You could do direct site buys but instead pay them to place a retargeting pixel on relevant sites. – Josiah Colt (@_kingjosiah_)
  • Since Remarketing cookies can be set for 540 days, you can use a Halloween list for next year. – James Svoboda
  • Collect audience from all site visitors. Launch “blowout sale” remarketing last few days of the season. – Mark Jensen
  • Post-Halloween remarketing could also be used for upcoming holidays… Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, X-Mas. – James Svoboda


More PPCChats

Don’t forget to stay tuned for the next #PPCchat on Tuesday at 12 noon Eastern, 9 am Pacific and 5pm in the UK. Same Chat time, same Chat channel.


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)
• Aaron Levy (@bigalittlea)
• Bethany Bey (@Bethany_Bey)
• Chris Kostecki (@chriskos)
• Heather Cooan (@HeatherCooan)
• Jeremy Brown (@JBGuru)
• Josiah Colt (@_kingjosiah_)
• Luke Alley (@LukeAlley)
• Mark Jensen (@Just_Markus)
• Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)
• Neil Sorenson (@iNeils)
• Nicole Mintiens (@Tregesy)
• Richard Fergie (@RichardFergie)
• Timothy Jensen (@timothyjjensen)

I don’t really do the Streamcaps…..BAZINGA! Yes I do!

This is a guest post by Paul Kragthorpe; WebRanking SEM Manager in Minneapolis, Minnesota, #PPCChat Streamcap Grabber, SEO Blog Author. Connect with me @PaulKragthorpe, and Google Plus.

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