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How to Adjust Your Paid Ad Campaigns for the Holidays

 In Paid Search, PPC

You know the marketing people have taken over when you see “Pre Black Friday Sales.” It’s not enough to have a sale on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, or Cyber Monday. Now retailers are offering pre-sales that start weeks before the actual dates! This kind of atmosphere is fantastic for consumers, especially the savvy ones among them. But it means that retailers need to think about keeping up with this trend. As of the writing of this blog, it’s already dangerously close to the prime part of the holiday season. So consider these last second holiday suggestions for your advertising campaigns.

Raise Advertising Budgets!

This one is obvious. You have to consider a budget increase for your advertising campaigns the last week in November and the first 2-plus week of December. Here are the key dates to remember: bestdeal

Black Friday: November 28

Small Business Saturday: November 29

Cyber Monday: December 1

Christmas Rush: December 2 – 19*

Hanukkah: December 16

*This year, the 19th is considered the absolute last day retailers can ship orders and have them arrive by Christmas. In fact, it’s earlier when you account for cross country orders.

Look at your historical results. Have you raised budgets during the holidays in past years? Or, is this your first year running paid ads online? Be aggressive! Spending an extra $250, for example, is not going to break the bank, but will allow for the increase in “window shopping” (more on this later) that occurs during the holiday season.

Special Offers & Giveaways

Besides raising budgets, you have to develop some offers. Use coupon codes to coincide with each event is a good idea. For example:

  • BLACKFRIDAY12 (12% off on Black Friday only)
  • CYBERMONDAYFREE (free item on Cyber Monday)
  • HOLIDAYOFFER (buy one, get one offer during extended offer period)

OfferIn this way, you’ll be playing along with everyone else who’s running these types of promotions, including small retailers and the large box ones, too.

Another thing to consider is to run contests during this period. Incorporate contests or raffles into your advertising campaigns to entice people to click and join your marketing newsletters. A free giveaway to random customers can be a great way to increase newsletter membership. The few free gifts you will need to mail out will be outweighed by the new customers you will have added to your mailing lists.

Tailor Your Pay-Per-Click Ads

In your Pay-Per-Click campaigns on Google and Bing, it’s not enough to simply raise budgets. You should write new ad variations that promote your offers and let customers know you are running holiday specials. This can be done in various places in your Pay-Per-Click accounts. For example:

  • in your Keyword campaigns (Google and Bing Ads)
  • in banner graphics in the Display Network (Google)
  • in banner graphic running Remarketing ads (Google)
  • in promotional text that displays next to your Google Shopping campaigns

Run Remarketing Ads

As we mentioned earlier, this time of year brings a much larger number of “window shoppers.” Customers are more motivated to make purchases now, and they are shopping around for good deals. This means that a large percentage of those who click on your ads might be shopping for the best price, rather than motivated to purchase there on the spot. Capitalize on this trend by expanding your advertising to run remarketing ads, which show banners ads to these same people when they’re looking at other websites.

Remarketing is so powerful because it allows you to promote an offer specifically to people who already visited your site. You can use this as an opportunity to reclaim them as a customer by promoting a “second chance” offer to them. And if you’re running a Google Shopping campaign, you can use Dynamic Remarketing to show these people actual products that they looked at on your site.

Remarketing Platforms

There are various ways to run remarketing ads on the Internet. OpenMoves recommends Google AdWords and AdRoll. Google obviously reaches the entire Google Display Network, which is a network of thousands of websites that have opted to show banner ads on their sites. Through AdWords, advertisers have a large set of criteria which they can use to determine where they want their banners to display. For example, you might want to limit your power tool ad to only show on home improvement sites. Or, you might want to make sure your remarketing banner promoting women’s shoes only shows to women. This demographic-level targeting can boost the ROI (return on investment) of your advertising campaigns.

AdRoll is a platform that reaches not only the Google Network, but also into Bing and Yahoo, and, most importantly, Facebook.

Snow JoeFigure 1: This remarketing ad appears in our Facebook newsfeed. We see it because we previously visited this website looking for lawn mowers. In this way, the ad is targeted to our past search history. 

Conversion Tracking

Make sure you’re tracking conversions (leads, orders, etc.)! Otherwise, how do you know if your advertising budget is working for you?


It’s not too late to adjust your paid advertising strategy to account for the holidays. But make smart decisions so that the budget increase you authorize will be especially profitable!


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