6 Ways to Prepare Your B2B PPC Account for the Holidays

It’s the fourth quarter of the year, and by now you’ve probably read several articles about preparing for the holiday rush in PPC. For e-commerce advertisers, the holidays are the busiest time of year, mirroring the cycle seen in brick-and-mortar retail stores.

If you’re a B2B advertiser, you might read these articles and smile. In B2B, there’s no holiday rush, no Black Friday, and no Cyber Monday. While our e-commerce colleagues are scrambling, our busy time is coming to an end.

But that doesn’t mean it’s time to slack off in your PPC management duties. Sure, Q4 is a good time for B2B PPC managers to take a vacation, but there is still much work to be done during the holidays. Here are six ways to prepare your B2B PPC account for the holidays.

Study Historical Lead Cycles for Your Business

Many B2B advertisers automatically assume that they’ll get no leads during the holidays – after all, everyone is focused on holiday shopping and not on B2B pursuits. It’s true that lead volume will probably fall off during the fourth quarter, and especially from Thanksgiving to Christmas in the U.S.

But that doesn’t mean there are no leads generated during this time. Some B2B advertisers might find that their business doesn’t drop off at all, especially those that serve the retail industry such as banks, data suppliers, and security companies.

Review historical performance during the holidays and plan accordingly. Adjust your ad copy, keywords, and bids to match your expected return on investment (ROI).

Discuss Your Budget With Your Client or Boss

Some B2B advertisers prefer to go completely dark during the holidays – either because their conversion rate falls off, or because they’re not staffed to follow up on leads due to vacations, year-end planning, and other activities.

Make sure you understand your budget before the holidays arrive, so you can plan accordingly. Maybe it makes sense to keep your branded keywords active in PPC for brand defense and lower-funnel lead generation, and pause everything else. Be very clear about expectations so there are no surprises on January 1.

Tune Up Your Campaigns

Holiday down time is a great opportunity to perform the tasks you were too busy to focus on earlier in the year. Here are some great cleanup items you can do during the holidays:

  • Keyword cleanup. Review your low-quality score keywords and consider pausing those that aren’t performing well.
  • Ad test cleanup. Review all of your ad tests and pause any losing ads.
  • New ad copy writing. So often, ad copy tests are done on the fly – one ad is beating the others, and you need to come up with a new challenger immediately. Use your down time to develop an ad testing matrix to guide ad copy tests in 2015.

Hit Remarketing Hard

Think about your remarketing needs in 2015 and start building audiences now. One idea would be to create a list of people who visited during the holidays but didn’t convert, and show them remarketing ads starting January 1 to remind them to come back in the New Year.

You could also create a special offer for those who did take some type of conversion action on your site. A year-end white paper, predictions for 2015, a special webinar, or something else of value would be one way to thank them for their business in 2014 without being too creepy.

Also, if you’re doing any advanced remarketing, chances are you have audiences in your library that you won’t need to use again. Go through your audience list and close outdated audiences, and make sure you’re not running any remarketing campaigns that should have ended or are out of date.

Consider Bidding on Competitor Terms

In many B2B sectors, prospects don’t stop looking just because it’s the end of the year. And yet many B2B advertisers pull the plug on their PPC budget during the last weeks of the year. Do some competitive research and find out what your competition is spending during Q4.

If your competitors tend to pull back, now is your time to advance by bidding on competitor brands. Consider combining your competitor bidding with an aggressive remarketing campaign, too. If done carefully, you might just reap the rewards in both 2014 and 2015.

Plan for Next Year

Last year, Joe Kerschbaum wrote a great post on preparing to dominate Q1. Sit down and read it, and then start planning! He outlines an effective way to hit the ground running in the New Year.

So, go ahead and take that holiday vacation, but don’t forget to prepare your B2B account for the holidays!

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