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TPE #10: how to prepare Google Ads for the Holiday Season

Sep 27, 2022


Read time: 5 minutes

Black Friday, Christmas, Sinterklaas – The holiday season is upon us! In this week’s newsletter, we will talk about Holiday preparations. 

Let's dive right in.


Start early.

Every year more shoppers worldwide plan to start buying gifts earlier than last year. Did you know that 26% of the shoppers in the US have already started their 2022 holiday shopping? That’s why you should have your holiday strategy in place as soon as possible. Here’s what Peak Season looks like in Northern Europe. 

Source: Google – Onepager trends & insights


Major shifts in consumer behavior.

Before we dive deeper into campaign-related strategies, we’d like to share some major shifts in consumer behavior this holiday season, according to Google.


  1. Big shift in priorities.

Since consumers are getting crushed worldwide by higher energy prices and inflation, there’s a big shift towards functional and conservative spending. People tend to focus more on day-to-day necessities while shifting away from luxury goods (such as watches) and leisure (such as travel).


  1. Value-seeking behavior.

Because of the shift in macro trends, consumers are becoming increasingly conscious of the value they are getting from spending their money. They are actively searching for utility and value. Consumers are looking for more affordable alternatives.


Prepare and plan for the holiday season

There are 5 important pillars for succeeding this Holiday season. 

  1. Network coverage
  2. Bids (including seasonality adjustments)
  3. Budgets 
  4. Holiday campaign segmentation 
  5. Holiday creative optimization


Let’s dive in. 


  1. Network coverage

After two years of pandemic-driven shopping and supply chain issues, shoppers are researching and buying well in advance, so they can get what they need, at the price they want. Be there for shoppers throughout their entire journey, so you can capture demand early

If you want to get the most out of this Holiday Season, we’d suggest setting up ToFu & MiFu campaigns, such as Display and YouTube. This way you can capture and convert early intent. 

Of course, Performance Max will reach customers and capture their demand throughout their holiday purchasing journey as well. Make sure you will leverage this campaign type fully. Ideally in combination with dedicated campaign types, such as Display/YouTube/Discovery.

  1. Bids (including seasonality adjustments)

Leverage smart bidding during the Holiday season. Are you in eCommerce? Leverage target ROAS strategies. Are you in Lead Generation? Leverage target CPA strategies. 

Why? Smart bidding learns at the query level to set auction-time bids and helps you navigate sudden changes in demand. Including those occurring in the upcoming Holiday season. However, if you expect a large change in CVR over a short period of time, you can prepare by adjusting your CPA or ROAS targets manually or using seasonality adjustments.

Since people start buying gifts earlier than last year, we’d suggest adjusting your CPA or ROAS targets a minimum of 4 weeks prior to peak periods. This way you can capture additional opportunities while maintaining efficiency goals. Make sure you think through your efficiency and volume goals. Do you want to maximize volume this Holiday Season? Calculate your break-even point and go all in. Would you still like to make some profit? Be more conservative in your bidding.


Important! - Keep in mind you’ll most likely run aggressive sales/discounts during this period of time. This means your gross margins will be thinner and have a big impact on your break-even levels. Make sure you calculate your CPA/ROAS break-even points, so you don’t overspend.


  1. Budgets

Make sure you have enough budget to spend. You can leverage the Performance Planner, Google Trends, the accounts’ insights tab, or your third-party keyword research tool to predict the peak and calculate how much budget you need in order to capture as many impressions as possible.

Source: Google

Make sure to increase your daily budgets early and closely monitor your campaigns during peak season, and ensure that all campaigns continue to deliver (when running on target).


  1. Holiday campaign segmentation

If you have certain products you’d like to prioritize during the Holiday season, you might want to create dedicated Holiday campaigns for these items. Setting more aggressive targets can help maximize visibility for these products in (the weeks leading up to) peak periods.

We’re a big proponent of consolidation. Avoid over-segmenting campaigns as this could lead to reduced performance. Only segment if your business goals require it to do so. Once the holiday period is over, you can consolidate campaigns again.

Tip – Do you have a large inventory and are you running various product-level deals? Leverage custom labels (such as holiday sale values) so you can easily segment these products into separate campaigns. 


  1. Holiday creative optimization

This might be the most important bit. Create dedicated assets so you stand out during peak season. Remember, everyone and their mom are running Black Friday & Christmas deals. You want to differentiate on other parts than your sale price alone. The more creative assets that you provide, the more improvement you will see in your performance.

Highlight information about your product and promotions within your headlines and descriptions. Use creative, high-quality images that inspire people to engage with your brand and avoid stock photography like the plague. Create holiday-specific video ads to include in your Holiday Performance Max campaign(s) and dedicated Video for Action (Prospecting + Remarketing) campaign(s). Stand out from your competitors. Don’t be your average Joe. 

Tip – By segmenting your promotions into dedicated Holiday campaigns (or at least asset/ad groups) you make sure your holiday creatives will not disrupt the creatives of your ‘evergreen’ products.


TLDR recap:

The Holiday Season is around the corner. Failing to prepare, is planning to fail. This is how you prep successfully:

  1. Capture demand early
  2. Leverage Smart Bidding and use Seasonality Bid Adjustments
  3. Use the Performance Planner for accurate forecasts and make sure you have enough budget
  4. Segment out specific sale products in separate (pMax) campaigns
  5. Create Holiday-specific ads


We hope you liked this edition of our weekly newsletter. Have fun optimizing for this upcoming Holiday season and kick some ass! Let your competitors see how great marketing is done.


Bob & Miles

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