As the holiday season approaches, it is important to adapt your holiday marketing campaigns to seasonal trends. Failure to do so can cause you to blow through your paid search budget while still falling short of your conversion goals.

During this time of the year, competition is exceptionally fierce for advertising through Google Ads and other advertising platforms like Facebook. With consumers having spent a total of $17.8 billion between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday in online sales last year, not optimizing your campaigns to get them seen can cause eCommerce businesses to miss out on their piece of the pie.

To help you stand out from the crowd and make this your most successful holiday marketing campaign yet, here are a few features to leverage in Google Ads. As an added bonus, we’ve also thrown in a final checklist to make sure your campaigns are ready to go live. If you’re running holiday email marketing campaigns, be sure to follow our 8-week plan which starts this week.

Seasonality adjustment

Earlier this year, Google introduced a new feature for Smart Bidding: Seasonality adjustment. There is no better time to try this new feature out then in the run-up to Black Friday.

What is seasonality adjustments?

Google defines it as:

“Seasonality adjustments are an advanced tool that can be used to inform Smart Bidding of expected changes in conversion rates for future events like promotions or sales.”

Although Smart Bidding already takes into account seasonal events, seasonal adjustments should be used for short events with a maximum duration of a week. If you’re launching a sales campaign over Thanksgiving weekend and expect a change in conversion rates as a result, this is the perfect time to implement this new feature. This will make Google optimize your bids based on your expected conversion rate so that your campaigns can stay competitive. Once the set period has passed, your Smart Bidding will go back to your pre-seasonal adjustment settings.

Google Trends

Before populating your campaigns with your keywords, reference Google Trends for some fresh insights. Observe and compare the volume for your top-performing keywords over time. You may notice that certain variations of the keywords peak during the festive season and so these are the ones you should focus on. For example, adding holiday modifiers to your top-performing product keywords may be a valuable option e.g. “Black Friday deals for [your product]”.

Google Shopping filter

If you use Google Shopping ads, use the filter to narrow down the Google Trends results to only Google Shopping searches. This will identify search trends that were searched for in Google Shopping as well as highlight the terms that will likely bring up the Google Shopping tab.

Take things to the next level by layering this data with geographical trends. Being able to identify locations that have a higher search volume for keywords can help you hyper-target your ideal audience and not waste your limited budget on targeting everywhere.

Visit Google for instructions on how to set it up.

Product Suggestions

During Black Friday and Cyber Monday, customers are looking for the best deals they can get. But how do you know how your deal will compare to your competitors?

Within Google Merchant Center, you can discover the price benchmarks for products that both you and your competitors sell. This data is extremely valuable as you can leverage this tool for your pricing strategy.

Google Merchant Center logo

Furthermore, having identified the products are competitively priced, you can use this information to adjust your bidding strategy. Increasing the bids for those that are highly competitive and decreasing those that are less competitive. But keep in mind your goals. For example, if you’re focused on conversions and conversion value (and you’re using conversion tracking), then the Target ROAS  automated bid strategy would be the best option for you. However, if instead, your goal is to increase brand awareness and get ahead of a certain competitor, then you can maximize impressions and outrank the selected domain by using the Target Outranking Share automated bid strategy.

If you resell products from other brands, here’s a tip you might not know. You can leverage the Product Suggestions Report to identify popular products that you don’t currently stock. Make sure you conduct this research at least a month or two before the holidays. That way you have enough time to speak to your team and the merchants about adding it to your product catalog and set up a distribution process.

Lastly, here’s a holiday marketing campaign checklist to help you boost your success during this holiday season.

Google Holiday Campaign Checklist

Whether you’re using Search, Display, Video or App ads, use this checklist to ensure your ads are set up for success.

Google Holiday Campaign Checklist

Double-check spelling

Ensure keywords and text copy are optimized and error-free. This is one of the easiest things to check – but is often missed. It’s important for all copy to be free of typos and grammatical errors as this can quickly cheapen the brand image.

Audit Product Feeds

If you are running Google Shopping ads, make sure you audit your product feed and Google Merchant Center to clean up all errors and warning messages ahead of time. This will avoid the risk of your account being suspended during the holiday season.

Let Machine Learning Help

Make full use of Google’s machine learning signals to optimize your campaigns. Leveraging automated bidding strategies is one way to ensure your ad bids are always staying competitive and cost-efficient. It’s also fantastic at targeting audiences and measuring cross-channel actions.

Sufficient Budget Coverage

Don’t miss out on opportunities due to budget over the holiday. You can use Google Ads’ automated rules to scale the budget up and down based on seasonality and performance.

Follow these tips and let this be your merriest holiday season yet, and check out our week-by-week holiday email marketing guide which starts now!