Getting Ready For The Holidays

This week Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro) hosts PPCChat with another great question set titled “Getting Ready for the Holidays.” The following is the transcribed Streamcap from the live chat:

Q1: How have you been preparing your clients for the holiday season?

  • We start prepping campaigns, promotions, etc in September. – Jacob Baadsgaard (@jakebaadsgaard)
  • Try to set timeline of deliverables early on so we’re not all scrambling the week of Thanksgiving. – Joe Martinez (@MilwaukeePPC)
  • Preparation has been happening for months. Promo calendar, ad scheduling, etc. so we don’t get burnt out. – Brooke Townsend (@btownsend13)
  • More than anything – plan. Write ads ads & promotions now so you can focus on meaningful changes as they come up. – Mark Irvine (@MarkIrvine89)
    • I wrote my ads in August! (perk of working in-house) you normally know more sooner. – Brooke Townsend
      • My personal goal is to not have to touch AdWords on Thanksgiving or Christmas. – Mark Irvine
  • We generally kick it into gear around September, but we’re cognizant of it all year. – Matt Umbro
  • Also research what competitors did last year to get an idea of what offers you might be up against. – Joe Martinez
  • Planning & setting expectations. Planning starts in June/July. Start to build out assets early in Sept/Oct, have them ready to go. – Maria Corcoran (@mariacorcoran)
  • I only have 1 client, the company I work for, our products are not seasonal. We’re B2B. So not at all. Here to learn. – Terry Porter (@TPorter2)
  • Lots of digging into seasonal trends and generic gift-buying queries. – Gil Hong (@_GilHong)

Q2: What is a new initiative you are trying this holiday season that you haven’t tried in the past? 

  • Not necessarily new, but utilizing RLSA for Shopping more, as Shopping gets more important for us than text ads. – Brooke Townsend
  • I’m trying more with Pinterest this holiday season (and in general). – Matt Umbro
  • We’re creating some remarketing lists that will only populate Black Friday – Dec 24 and use them in future holiday efforts. – Mark Irvine
  • More betas! ALL THE BETAS! – Jeremy Krantz (@JeremyKrantz)
  • Lots of shiny new toys to play with from AdWords and BingAds. – Gil Hong
  • Customer Match & LookALike campaign expansions. Bing RLSA & PLA expansions. Youtube PreRoll. – Maria Corcoran
  • Demographic targeting for Search Ads for head-terms during sales that would have otherwise been omitted due to lower conversions. – James Svoboda (@Realicity)
  • I want to test Facebook Awareness Ads for local businesses. Set a radius around malls & shopping centers to encourage visits. More app and mobile-driven display campaigns to get in front of users on their phones at the mall. – Joe Martinez

Q3: How do you ensure your bids and budgets are where they need to be during the holiday season?

  • Impression share is very important to me during this time. Also planning out a tiered budget to save room for BF/CM spend. – Brooke Townsend
  • Bidding & Optimization platforms FTW. Budgets – watching pacing docs and planning. – Maria Corcoran
  • Automate budgets! Create rules to raise & lower budgets on big days. DONT USE ADWORDS ON THANKSGIVING. – Mark Irvine
  • YoY review of last year. Then look at trends (like traffic & goals by device) from LY until now and adjust the projection. – Joe Martinez
  • Automated rules! – Jacob Baadsgaard
  • Automated rules and alerts! No one wants a call from their client during holiday dinner. – Gil Hong
  • Look at YoY spend trends and see how much you might need for this year. Always better to have more then less budget. – Duane Brown (@duanebrown)

Q4: How will paid social play into your strategy this holiday season?

  • I think some form of social advertising is necessary- your competitors will be on Facebook, Twitter, etc. You should be as well. – Matt Umbro
  • I don’t have anything ground-breaking that wasn’t mentioned before. Anyone trying to push going viral? – Gil Hong
  • This is an easy time of the year to make that upsell/cross-sell happen. – Mark Irvine
  • Paid social will be huge this season in attracting customers who didn’t know about us before. – Jacob Baadsgaard
  • You have to strategically be everywhere on Black Friday. Too many other deals to pick from if you’re not in a user’s mind. – Joe Martinez
  • Facebook is the key player here (traffic! leads! events! local!) but I’m keen to experiment more with Pinterest for ecommerce. – Colleen McCaskell (@SpitfirePPC)
  • Not a major effort for us. Possibly FB & Youtube. No paid efforts for Twitter, Snap, Pinterest etc. – Maria Corcoran
  • Not much will change for our B2B vertical. Hunker down and keep the fire burning…just not over fuel it.
  • Social is where bored people at family functions will be – get them content, retarget them when they got their christmas checks. – Doug Thomas (@ferkungamaboobo)

Q5: Have your clients set holiday budgets? If so, how we’re they determined?

  • Can be unlimited based on ROI, but also can be limited if there is inventory/shipping sensitivity. – Gil Hong

Q6: Talk about your personal workflow and tactics to produce great results during this busy time of the year?

  • Automate all the mundane in advance. It’s too easy to drown in it this time of year and miss the big picture. – Mark Irvine
  • Organization, expectation setting, and small-frequent client check-ins. – Gil Hong
  • Outside of just ads – big part is making sure at least a skeleton crew available for rush jobs. Set client expectations as well. – Doug Thomas
  • Automate & schedule everything you can! Have all promo copy & LPs created and ready to push weeks in advance. – Maria Corcoran
  • I think you have to stay on top of search terms and use negative keywords based on the type of traffic you don’t want. – Terry Porter
  • Establish offer and positioning in the market first. Then I like to tease it via email/ social before leading up to the launch. – Joe Martinez
  • I tend to free up my schedule as much as I can – knowing that I’m going to be making on demand updates. – Matt Umbro
  • Plan on at least a few panicked client calls and working. Isn’t this the superbowl of retail marketing? – Maria Corcoran
  • Be on 24/7 readiness for all clients, no matter the time of fay. Clients love that and demands come at all times of the day! – Jason Denny (@JasonJBDenny)
  • Labels are especially great for this time of the year! – Matt Umbro

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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)
• Brooke Townsend (@btownsend13)
• Colleen McCaskell (@SpitfirePPC)
• Doug Thomas (@ferkungamaboobo)
• Duane Brown (@duanebrown)
• Gil Hong (@_GilHong)
• Jacob Baadsgaard (@jakebaadsgaard)
• Jason Denny (@JasonJBDenny)
• Jeremy Krantz (@JeremyKrantz)
• Joe Martinez (@MilwaukeePPC)
• Maria Corcoran (@mariacorcoran)
• Mark Irvine (@MarkIrvine89)
• Terry Porter (@TPorter2)

Getting Ready 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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