Get Your Search and Shopping Campaigns Ready for Holiday Success
Unlock Holiday Shopping Success
The holidays can be a hectic time. Prepare early to keep the coal out of the stockings for your Shopping campaigns.
Before jumping into Google AdWords or Merchant Center, let’s talk about your plan.
Forecast your budget and set KPIs
Estimate your spend by pulling historical data for the holidays and layering your account’s current year-over-year trends. Capture missed traffic by budgeting more for days where your historical click share decreased but retail query volume or your competitor’s click share increased. Allow flexibility in your budget to survive holiday shopping peaks and valleys. When setting KPIs, factor in cross-device and in-store impact.
Set your promotional calendar
Determine what and how long you want to promote your products with your merchandising team. Identify which promotions historically drove the highest profits or conversions. Don’t forget to ask about new products, doorbuster deals, site-wide promotions and exclusive promo codes.
- Shopping tip: Use Merchant Promotions to highlight offers and add the sale_price and sale_price_effective_date feed attributes to schedule price changes in advance for promotions.
Establish a crisis-response plan
Be prepared in case trouble arises and confirm holiday on-call contacts. Define what’s considered a crisis, who needs to be involved to fix the problem, and what’s the expected lead time. Loop in relevant team members, vendors and your Google account team.
- Shopping tip: Determine who’s available to troubleshoot account suspension warnings, item disapprovals or performance issues immediately. Create an email alias so everyone stays in sync and add it as the primary technical contact in Merchant Center.
- Search tip: Set up automated rules to monitor conversion rates alerting you of any potential landing page or website issues.
Build your digital storefront
Now that you have a plan, start preparing your foundation. It’s important to start with your inventory and have a strong presence on the digital shelf at all times.
Expand coverage of increased holiday queries
Check that you’re advertising on all seasonally-relevant keywords and products.
- Shopping tip: More products in the auction means you’ll qualify for more impressions and be visible to holiday shoppers. Submit your entire inventory if you’re not already doing so. Use the Diagnostics tab in Merchant Center to fix top issues and get disapproved products back in the auction long before the holiday season. Take advantage of feed rules to make feed changes directly and continue adding GTINs to drive search relevance. Gain insight into demand for popular products that you don’t already stock with the Assortment Report and talk to your merchandising team about adding them to your catalog.
- Search tip: Hunt for missing keywords by running a keyword report for the same time last year, then filter for conversions > 0 and cross-reference against your current keyword list. Then broaden your match types. Capture all relevant queries by expanding high-performing exact match keywords into phrase and broad match types.
Keep your product price and availability fresh
Shoppers will bounce from your store if they don’t see the price and availability they expect.
- Shopping tip: Enable automated feed delivery (including Online Product Inventory Updates), the Content API and/or Automated Item Updates to make frequent updates to fluctuating product price and availability during the holidays.
Optimize your product data and maximize the relevance of your ads
Show the most compelling and relevant information to match what your shoppers are looking for.
- Shopping tip: Sway shoppers with the best-performing product titles and rich images in your Shopping ads. Differentiate your Shopping ads using Merchant Promotions, Product Ratings and Local Inventory Ads. Check our Feed Optimization list for more ideas.
- Search tip: Pause ad copy testing and pick winners. Set your ad rotation settings to optimize for clicks or conversions. Make sure to align ad copy with your promotional calendar, launching ads with the right offers and deadlines in a timely manner.
Capture more holiday shoppers
With fully stocked shelves, expand your reach and attract customers throughout their holiday shopping journey.
Double down on mobile shopping
It’s increasingly important to be visible on and optimized for mobile devices. Use cross-device conversions to assess mobile impact on your performance. Get your mobile site to load in less time and create a positive mobile shopping experience by using autofill forms, avoiding interstitials and placing the product’s price and “Add to cart” button above the fold.
- Shopping tip: Include your mobile landing page URLs in the mobile_link feed attribute if your site does not have a responsive design.
Set the right bid for every auction based on your conversion rates
Enable and test enhanced CPC to automatically adjust bids in real time based on the likelihood of a search query to convert without increasing cost. Check for Opportunities that appear as a light bulb next to ad or product group bids to increase traffic at the same cost.
Reach new and qualified customers
Drive additional traffic and re-engage shoppers who have already shown interest in your products. Use signals from your site to bid based on audience segments with remarketing lists.
Let shoppers know you have what they want nearby
Don’t miss this opportunity to drive online traffic to stores. Enable location extensions to bid by location and proximity of your shoppers to your stores.
- Shopping tip: If you have local feeds ready, opt into local inventory ads. Allocate more budget to promote local inventory on days when you expect more foot traffic, like weekends and after holiday shipping cutoffs.
With your product data and campaigns locked-and-loaded, you’re ready to pour the eggnog and ring in the holiday season with merry spirits. Don’t forget to check out our guide to Ramp Up Your Search and Shopping Campaigns to Survive the Holiday Season with more tips to survive through the holidays.