PPC Chat Streamcap – Black Friday & Cyber Monday PPC

This week Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro) came up with yet another great question set titled “Black Friday & Cyber Monday PPC.” The following is the transcribed Streamcap from the live chat:

Q1: How do you automate the process (if you do) of posting Black Friday and Cyber Monday ads? In other words, do you stay up until midnight to post Black Friday and Cyber Monday ads?

  • We use Kenshoo for scheduling ahead of time. – Jeremy Brown (@JBGuru)
    • Interesting. Is that for just ads or campaign based scheduling? – Brian Gaspar (@BGaspar)
      • More for ads than campaigns. Can set rules to pause and activate various elements. – Jeremy Brown
  • I schedule ahead of time…but usually end up staying up to double check things. Never fails, I always end up in a time zone tangle when scheduling ahead…so I have to stay up and double check everything. – Heather Cooan (@HeatherCooan)
  • Marin ad scheduling is a nice feature. Last year I was up for 2 hours at 2am. This year I’m hoping for just 30 mins. – Neil Sorenson (@iNeils)
  • Replicate campaigns, update ads and use campaign scheduling. – Luke Alley (@LukeAlley)
  • When I’ve had clients in the states I’ve just done it when I’ve got to work in the morning. Love the time difference. – Richard Fergie (@RichardFergie)
  • Combination of AdWords scripting and automated rules using labels. – Sevanko (@sevanko)
  • Would really be ideal to if you want to maximize exposure. Most people will be waiting in line searching their phone. – Brian Gaspar
    • Then it’s a better idea to have ads start an hour or two earlier? – Theresa Zook (@I_Marketer)
      • I like to have my ads uploaded and paused since AdWords approves paused ads now. – Heather Cooan
        • Good tip with the paused ads. Have to watch out for Adwords’ approval nonsense. – Jeremy Brown
      • Especially image ads – got those ones up a long time ago. – Matt Umbro
        • Exactly. But activate a few hrs early, for people deciding where to go when the hour strikes! – Theresa Zook
  • I’m always over-cautious so would likely stay up and do it manually. control freak! – Aaron Levy (@bigalittlea)
  • Depends on the size and scale of the campaign, but for big ecommerce clients, separate campaigns w/ stop dates are the way to go. You’ll probably use the campaign again in the future anyway but with different price/deal points. – imavex (@imavex)
  • I generally stay up…and update on my phone as I’m running into Best Buy for great deals on flash drives at midnight. – Matt Umbro
  • Set up ads to pause and activate on your Editor tools from work, lock PC and then just post them from home. – Brian Gasper
  • Getting the ads approved is always the first step, regardless of how automated you get. – Steve Hill (@epiclysteve)

Q2: Do you bid on “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” terms (eg: black friday mattress deals)? Why or why not?

  • It’s all dependent on certain things. Search Trends, what Compeitors are doing. – Brian Gaspar
  • Yes, but just for very specific, high ROAS keywords. Otherwise seems like you’re inviting a LOT of unprofitable clicks in. – Amanda West (@Amanda_WestBook)
  • Generally not, but I use heavy “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” messaging in the ads. – Matt Umbro
  • Depends on client and budget, but rarely. Also depends on sector and what deals they are offering. – Jeremy Brown
  • I tend to test these words in my copy but don’t always bid on them due to ridiculous competition. – Heather Cooan
  • Really depends on the targeting area. Sometimes you can rest on your laurels in small areas bc Black Friday becomes long. – imavex
  • Prob more beneficial to use in branded terms in the copy but not keyword specific either very broad or little volume. In the process here of creating a Black Friday Landing Page, only targeting promotional branded terms to point there. – Brian Gaspar
  • Yup, there’s a bit of volume + queries are hyper relevant. Gotta remember what consumers know for copy though. – Aaron Levy
  • I probably wouldn’t get too specific bc AdWords takes SO LONG to show start showing ads for keywords with low search volume. – Steve Hill
  • Never. Might use in ad copy but people searching for bottom-dollar purchases not my clients’ best prospects. – Theresa Zook
    • Good point! You have to keep in mind luxury vs. deals this time of year. Some of this traffic is irrelevant. – Heather Cooan

Q3: Do you create display network image ads strictly to use on Black Friday and Cyber Monday? Why or why not?

  • It depends on the type of traffic you want to attract. – Stephanie Cockerl (@nextSTEPH)
  • For sure. On BF/CM the best advertisers will have unique creative. Using the same old ads is an easy way to get invisible. – Neil Sorenson
  • Generally no, but some clients have them. – Jeremy Brown
  • Actually, if you have a custom LP like Brian Gaspar is creating you can use that list later for other deals! – Heather Cooan
    • That might be a little resource-intensive for most clients, but maybe worth it for large ones. – Jeremy Brown
      • In 2013 I’m going to push hard for more image ad creations for Display, Remarketing & Holiday Targeting. – Brian Gaspar
        • Get your creative requests in mid-July. Trust me. – Aaron Levy
  • I would love to, but can’t due to resource limitations here in creating it. – Brian Gaspar
  • For a few clients, yes. To avoid “under review” issues, we implemented a long time ago. – Matt Umbro
    • Do this with search too, avoid “eligible!” – Aaron Levy
    • Try using a list of Black Friday visitors for Cyber Monday deals. – Jeremy Brown
  • Never saw success with them since most people purchase instantly. Would rather devote $ to search rather than trying to fish. – Aaron Levy
  • Ideally yes, but we all know that to have nice looking ads, you may be subject to a busy graphic designer’s schedule. – imavex
  • I actually would, if I had retail clients it would be appropriate for. – Theresa Zook
  • This is part of my strategy leading up to Black Friday. Building up to the sale, grabbing eyeballs, and staying top of mind. – Heather Cooan
  • Interesting to test. I feel like black friday deal shoppers might converse worse in the future. – Jeremy Brown
    • Try using a list of Black Friday visitors for Cyber Monday deals. – Heather Cooan
  • No Black Fri display ads, but a Black Fri banner on all pages that drives traffic to a custom landing page and calls out sales. Depends on the client and type of product they’re selling. – Jesse Semchuck (@jessesem)
    • That’s a great way of balancing needs and resources. – imavex
    • Nice, we do a similar thing with a holiday gift guide. – Heather Cooan
      • I just don’t like dealing with potential ad reviews. I’d rather capitalize on existing traffic. – Jessem Semchuck
  • I’m curious if anyone has mastered the ads and email cooperation this time of year? This is sooo important! – Heather Cooan
    • Definitely get an email calendar as soon as you can. Very helpful. – Jeremy Brown
    • Yes and No. We talk, but nothing in writing about what is coming up. – Brian Gaspar
  • PPC items to focus on for this week: seasonality data, budgets, bids, ad copy, BF starts Thursday. – Jeremy Brown
    • So many new ads this season, anyone who doesn’t create & load early, leaving paused, is just not trying to succeed. – Theresa Zook

Q4: How available are you to clients during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend?

  • As warm and inviting as a hungry badger. – Neil Sorenson
  • Generally reachable by email and phone. It’s an important time for ecommerce clients. – Jeremy Brown
  • Not at all. I get maximum budget allowances before hand and use rules to make sure traffic is not limited and I keep an eye. – Heather Cooan
  • I’ll check email and voicemail from time to time throughout the break. If I had kids, that could be different. – Steve Hill
    • Being in that boat, I would be checking, but more so quickly replying to acknowledge it but address it later on. – Brian Gaspar
      • Good point, as rare as client communication is on those days, expectations of a resolution are even rarer. – Steve Hill
  • I am the client. I have to work on Friday. – Brian Gaspar
  • When I was all e-comm, we had everything locked down Wednesday, but worked (and ate sandwiches) all day Friday. – Aaron Levy
  • I stalk email quietly, try and have some boundaries. Ideally, everything that should have been done, is done already. – Elizabeth Marsten (@ebkendo)
  • Our support department will be responding to emails over the holiday & then we will be back Monday after the holiday. – imavex
  • I’m not allowed to have access to any technology on Thursday. Other than that, via email. – Stephanie Cockerl
  • Luckily most clients are lead-gen and this weekends not too crazy. – Luke Alley
  • Same availability as always. I’m there for an emergency. (Too few retail clients for my response to be meaningful.) – Theresa Zook
  • Always available. If money is being spent someone needs to watch it. Luckily I have backups. – Jesse Semchuck

Q5: How do you best utilize ad extensions to promote Black Friday and Cyber Monday messaging?

  • That space is perfect for promoting specific flagship product deals to emphasize. – imavex
  • The offer extension is great for messaging. – Matt Umbro
  • Slightly revise Sitelinks to include a Black Friday or Cyber Monday Sale Section to show up with Branded Ads. – Brian Gaspar
  • Sitelinks and product extensions are a must. I can get two ads on the same page running PE’s and PLA’s. – Heather Cooan
  • Sitelinks are good place if you can get them through fast enough. – Elizabeth Marsten
  • Sitelinks when appropriate. Just don’t forget about them! I know I’ll still see BF sitelinks and ads for weeks. – Jeremy Brown
    • Exactly. Have to maintain landing page accuracy, especially these days. – Steve Hill
  • Also a great time to use the communication extension to build email lists and to run the trusted store ext. to kill comp. – Heather Cooan
  • Speaking of PLAs, pay attention to bids here. I expect some to dramatically increase theirs for a few days. – Jeremy Brown
  • Use communications extensions early and fluff up that email list. Make sure Sitelinks include promos too. – Aaron Levy
  • This is when the inability to “pause” existing sitelinks & use a different set is frustrating. – Theresa Zook
    • Completely agree – need to be able to pause Sitelinks. – Jeremy Brown
  • Scammy PPC managers think people seeing expired deals think they’re getting one over on you and they’re likely to click. – Amanda West
    • But a click with an expired deal can often just cost money and leave the customer unhappy. – Jeremy Brown
  • Also if running a promo such as Free Shipping or %/$ off I would create a custom ad for that. – Brian Gaspar
  • Hasn’t blown us away (~500 over the course of the year) but they’re cheap and generally good addy’s. – Aaron Levy
  • Huge lift for brands with a ton of competition…shoe brands competing with Zappos etc. – Heather Cooan

Q6: Will you be utilizing AdWords Labels to target shoppers for Black Friday and Cyber Monday? How so?

  • I’d rather have it organized into a separate campaign (mostly because we’re running ads on Bing and we track w/ Google Analytics. – imavex
  • Nope. – Theresa Zook, Heather Cooan
  • Probably won’t update the labels, but do have “sale” related labels – will also update the promotional text! – Matt Umbro
  • Not really. We have other tools inside Kenshoo we use. Another tool to keep in mind if using Adwords to manage – rules to increase budget if necessary. – Jeremy Brown
  • I like the idea of using labels. Would make things easier. Wish Editor had label function. – Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)
  • The feature itself is relatively new. Perhaps a ECI PPC Themed Blog Post on it would be helpful. – Brian Gaspar


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)
• Paul Kragthorpe (@PaulKragthorpe)
• Aaron Levy (@bigalittlea)
• Amanda West (@Amanda_WestBook)
• Brian Gaspar (@BGaspar)
• Elizabeth Marsten (@ebkendo)
• Heather Cooan (@HeatherCooan)
• imavex (@imavex)
• Jeremy Brown (@JBGuru)
• Jesse Semchuck (@jessesem)
• Luke Alley (@LukeAlley)
• Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)
• Neil Sorenson (@iNeils)
• Richard Fergie (@RichardFergie)
• Sevanko (@sevanko)
• Stephanie Cockerl (@nextSTEPH)
• Steve Hill (@epiclysteve)
• Theresa Zook (@I_Marketer)

About the Black Friday Streampcap Guy

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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