Don’t Be a PPC Turkey: Last-Minute Tips for Your Campaigns

If you’re reading this on Tuesday November 25, 2014, then chances are good you’ve got the turkey defrosting and a good line on pumpkin pie. But wait! Before you leave the office to celebrate, take a few minutes to make sure your PPC campaigns are ready for the top three spending days of the year: Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday.

If you’re tempted to just leave all your PPC campaign settings as they are and get on with the cranberry sauce, consider these critical facts:

  • Half of the top shopping days for the year are in the same week, around Thanksgiving, according to Experian.com.
  • This year two of the top three spending days (Thanksgiving and Black Friday) fall in the last days of the month – when budgets are usually depleted.

18 Simple Last-Minute Tactics Before You Leave the Office

These tips for your last-minute PPC check-in come from the experts at Bing Ads, and holiday tactics can be applied on both engines.

Don’t Go Dark

  1. Increase budget to cover the increase in traffic, impressions and clicks you’re sure to get over the holiday. A good rule of thumb is to increase budget by the same percent your sales increased last year in this period. That said, many marketers plan for two to four times budget for each of these critical days. But even that might not be enough because along with consumers buying both clicks and CPCs increase during this time!
  2. Check that your billing information is up to date, payment methods aren’t going to expire in the middle of the weekend, and that there’s enough room on credit card or IO to allow for the surge in spending.
  3. Make sure you have a verified back-up payment instrument.

Resolve Editorial Issues Ahead of Time

  1. If you have account reps at Bing Ads or Google AdWords, make sure you’ve settled on an emergency contact plan. If you’re a self-managed account, connect with Bing Ads via chat or phone at 1-800-518-9580.
  2. If you think any part of your new ad copy might get disapproved, submit it (right now – literally stop reading this article and do it) so there’s time to resolve issues that might arise.
  3. If you’re directing users to a landing page or a holiday-specific micro site that collects personal information, you’ve got to include a Privacy Policy on your site.
  4. Create and submit new ad copy that creates a sense of urgency or highlight deals in copy for each day like Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. Use new ads, and then pause the old ones.

Show Up and Seize the Day

  1. Know your position for your top keywords and be prepared to adjust bids today to make sure you’re showing up where you want over the weekend. Because cost per click increases on these high-spend days, your bid will need to be higher than you think. Bing Ads has seen a 41 percent increase in CPC from a regular Monday to Cyber Monday – and also more buying!
  2. Triple check ad scheduling settings.
    1. If you’ve got your ads set to run for a specific span of time in the day, does that still work for this crazy holiday time? (Refer to the charts below to get a good picture of the spend pattern throughout the day.)
    2. If you have ads specific to Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, are they scheduled correctly?
  3. Opt in for mobile and tablet – 76 percent of smartphone owners plan to use their device for holiday shopping, according to Mobile Commerce Daily. And
  4. Now triple check bid modifiers. Remember they’re multiplicative!
  5. Study the search trend charts below to get a clear picture of how to target by time of day (times are Eastern Time Zone).

Black Friday (#2 Shopping Day)

black-friday-by-device

Time zone Eastern Standard Time: Microsoft Internal Data 2013

Cyber Monday (#1 Shopping Day)

cyber-by-device

Time zone Eastern Standard Time: Microsoft Internal Data 2013

Don’t Forget Product Ads

  1. Break out your SKUs or IDs of your top performing products. Many people search by these numbers while price checking, and they know exactly what they want so make sure your bids are competitive here!
  2. Make sure the product title has the most relevant information possible – the product title is the catalyst for your ad.
  3. Update your promotional texts for holiday promotions.
  4. Double check your feed categorization your products to each platform’s taxonomy. If you miscategorize, your items might not appear.
  5. Don’t make last-minute image changes to your feed because these must be re-indexed and re-crawled before they can display, and that takes time.
  6. And unless you’ve coordinated with someone on the service team, avoid making your feed more robust at the last minute. You’re bound to run into snags with fields, categorization, image indexing and other gremlins that cause your new additions not to show.

For an overview of the key moments for the holiday season check out the video below.

And for a great overview of the holiday opportunity for the rest of the year, check out SlideShare.

Give Us a Holler

We’d love to hear what other last-minute suggestions you have for fellow marketers looking too take advantage of the top spending days of the year. Let us know how you’re adjusting your PPC campaigns!

Homepage image via Shutterstock.

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