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TPE #70: 5 steps to prevent overspend after Black Friday

Nov 27, 2023

Read time: 4 minutes

What’s up everyone — Miles here with The PPC Edge!

Black Friday is officially behind us.

What a week — smashed records, happy clients, and on top of that we welcomed hundreds of new students to our courses and The PPC Hub.

Can’t wait to take a few days off later :).

Anyway, today is Cyber Monday so I expect fireworks again for my clients.

But after that, conversion rates will likely drop for a while, before they shoot back up before Christmas.

Lowie Verschelden, member of The PPC Hub, asked a very good question:

“How to prevent overspend after 2 weeks of sales?”

 

 

In today’s newsletter, I want to give you my approach to make sure my clients don’t overspend.

Quick note: today is Cyber Monday so please decide for yourself when it’s the right time to scale down — it totally depends on how long you run promotions and conversion rates stay up.

Let’s dive right in!

 

How I prevent overspend after Black Friday (5 steps)

I’m all for scaling as hard as possible on peak moments, but afterwards I’m not afraid to make drastic changes to protect my client’s efficiency.

The worst that can happen: massive overspend 1-3 days after peak moments, and seeing all that juicy extra profit go up in smoke.

Here’s what I do to prevent that:

  1. Decrease budgets
  2. Increase ROAS targets
  3. Negative Seasonality Bid Adjustments
  4. Pause overperformers (keywords etc)
  5. Reset campaigns (ads, landing pages etc.)

 

All of these work together.

Typically for my clients, the scaling down starts the day after Cyber Monday.

Let’s zoom in on each of these.

 

1: Decrease budgets

You’ve likely pushed hard to maximize revenue and profit at the peak, but now it’s time to scale down by decreasing the budgets.

I’m usually pretty aggressive when I’m scaling down because I want to protect my efficiency at all cost.

I plan to cut spend by an average of 50-60% to bring it back to the levels we had before Black Friday.

How much you should decrease your budgets depends on your targets, actual results, expected conversion rate drops, and performance stability.

If your performance has been really stable, maybe you don’t need to scale back as much.

But if you had a massive peak, you may need to scale back more.

Remember: “The higher they fly, the harder the fall.”

 

Seasonal impact is also an important factors to take into consideration: if your products are suitable as Christmas gifts, then maybe you don’t need to scale down as much (because your expected conversion rates are probably higher throughout December).

My recommendation is this: don’t be afraid to cut budgets after the peak to protect your efficiency. If the performance stays good, you can always scale up again later.

Trust me, nothing is worse than seeing extra Black Friday profits go up in flames due to overspend after the peak.

But decreasing budgets alone is not enough…

 

2: Increase ROAS targets

Before Black Friday, you’ve probably ramped up your spend by decreasing ROAS targets. Now is the time to increase your ROAS targets again.

Either revert back to the ROAS targets you used before, or if the gap is too big, make a few daily adjustments this week.

Note: adjusting ROAS targets daily is not the ideal way to manage your bid strategies, but this period is an exception.

The regular rules and best practices don’t always apply in the peak season, in my opinion.

I’m ok with making +20% adjustments for a few days in a row to protect my efficiency.

 

3: Negative Seasonality Bid Adjustments

If I expect a conversion rate drop of more than 30% (either on the account-level or on specific campaigns), I will use Negative Seasonality Bid Adjustments (SBAs with negative targets).

This will inform the Smart Bidding algorithm that you’re expecting a conversion rate drop, and as a result it will spend less aggressively.

Don’t use negative SBAs lightly.

Only use them if you really think there will a huge drop-off after a big peak. Beware that if you use Seasonality Bid Adjustments with a negative target, your spend will go down drastically and so will your conversions.

If you need it, here’s a guide on how to properly use (Negative) Seasonality Bid Adjustments.

 

4: Pause overperformers (keywords etc.)

Listen, I love scaling the living sh*t out of my campaigns — but I also love to protect the efficiency when the time is right.

Nothing goes up forever.

Around Black Friday, everything overperforms: keywords, products, optimized targeting, upper-funnel campaigns etc.

The worst thing you can do is to keep everything on, assuming that it will continue to perform well.

I will pause (or significantly decrease) anything that only performed well on the peak.

I’m not afraid to pause specific (broad) keywords, products, upper-funnel audiences etc. if it’s needed to ensure we don’t overspend.

Don’t assume anything will continue to perform well, just because it worked on Black Friday.

Even more so: if something ONLY worked on Black Friday, it’s probably not going to work afterwards — kill it quickly.

Now on to the last part.

 

5: Reset campaigns (ads, landing pages etc.)

The last step to make sure you don’t overspend — reset your campaigns:

  • Pause all sale ads
  • Reactivate evergreen ads
  • Pause all sale assets (extensions…)
  • Reactivate the right landing pages
  • Sync your product feeds
  • Double check if <price> in your feed is correct
  • Reset shipping & returns information

Last but not least: get ready for the next peak (the ramp up towards Christmas).

 

Bonus: Data Exclusions

If your data is completely messed up (e.g. due to a tracking issue), Data Exclusions could be a solution.

Shoutout to Ruben Runneboom for bringing this to my attention:

 

 

To set them up, go to: tools & settings > bid strategies > advanced controls > data exclusions

 

 

Important: I suggest to ONLY use Data Exclusions if your data is messed up — if you just want to scale back, use the steps I mentioned in this newsletter.

 

Last note: don’t forget to celebrate your wins!

As performance marketers and Google Ads Specialists, it’s our work to help clients grow.

But don’t take it for granted.

You’ve worked hard — so celebrate your wins together with clients:

  • Send them screenshots of great performance.
  • Congratulate them with epic results.

This is great for team spirit, and helps build the client relationship like nothing else.

 

Your action step: get ready for the Christmas peak!

To recap, here’s how you prevent overspend after Black Friday / Cyber Monday:

  1. Decrease budgets
  2. Increase ROAS targets
  3. Negative Seasonality Bid Adjustments
  4. Pause overperformers (keywords etc)
  5. Reset campaigns (ads, landing pages etc.)

But that’s not everything…

 

 

Christmas is coming…

Your action step: analyze what worked well, and get ready to implement your learnings fast so you can maximize performance one last time between now and Christmas.

Seven blessings to you all.

(I just finished watching Game of Thrones for the second time so the GoT lingo is strong with me atm).

I hope you smashed those performance records.

And hopefully this newsletter helps you stay safe from overspend after the peak.

I wish you good fortune in the Christmas peaks to come ;).

Cheers,

Miles (& Bob)

 

p.s. I’m taking a few days off later this week and want to play some video games. Got any tips for PS5 or MMORPGs like WoW/Runescape? Just reply to this email to let me know!

p.s.2: I received a lot of DMs from people who were too late to grab our Black Friday Deals. We won’t be sending out a “24 hour extension” email…

But in order to reward you for being an awesome reader of The PPC Edge, here are backdoor links to grab our Deals:

After today, these links won’t work anymore so this is your last chance — cheers!



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