Light up the holidays with Google Ads

Best practices for making your holiday advertising shine.
Strings of colorful bulb lights

 

Bells icon

Ring in the holidays early

As of June, 26% of shoppers in the US reported already having started their 2022 holiday shopping1. Get in front of these customers by planning out your holiday advertising strategy early.

Review your budget and bidding strategy

Review your holiday budgets from last year and scope investment for this year to capture the big uptick in seasonal demand. When adjusting your budget, leverage Performance Planner (available for most campaign types) to see how changes in advertising spend affect overall campaign performance. 

You can also view demand forecasts on the Insights page to see upcoming trends relevant for your business, such as greater interest in wedding and bridal party dresses around the new year.

Example demand forecast showing "Wedding & Bridal Part Dresses predicted to start trending the week of Jan 1"

Leading up to these peak periods, adjust your automated bidding strategies to maximize your products’ visibility when people may be browsing.

  • Decrease your target ROAS before key holidays to show your ads more frequently during relevant moments. (Note: If you have a brand new Performance Max2 campaign expected to be live for less than 2 weeks, we recommend maximizing conversion values without a target ROAS to benefit from shorter campaign learning periods.). You can use target simulators to better understand what might happen to your ads’ performance with a target ROAS change.
  • Apply seasonality adjustments to help inform Smart Bidding of temporary but significant changes you’re anticipating in conversion rates for future events, like promotions or sales. Smart Bidding already accounts for predicted seasonal events, so you should only use seasonality adjustments if you foresee major changes to conversion rates that are sudden or atypical.
  • Use conversion value rules for store visits and store sales to express how you value different conversions for your business. For example, if you have a large brick-and-mortar presence but want to prioritize growing e-commerce sales over the holidays, you can use a multiplier to decrease the weight of in-store sales compared to online during Cyber Week. Alternatively, you can set a higher store visit value to prioritize store visits after shipping cutoff dates for last-minute shoppers.

Tip

Automatically apply recommendations in your Google Ads account to save time optimizing your budget and bidding strategy for the holidays.

Boost your audience strategy

Put in place a conversion measurement system to understand how shoppers interact with your holiday campaigns.
  • Start by building a foundation of first-party data using Google tags, which enables enhanced conversions. Once you’re tracking the right conversions, designate conversion values in Google Ads to show which actions are most relevant to your business. 
  • You can also measure the clicks and impressions that your free listings products receive in a third-party or proprietary web analytics tool, such as Google Analytics. Learn more about the setup process here.
Knowing how your audience behaves will allow you to reach new shoppers or re-engage existing customers. You can create custom segments to signal which audiences are most likely to convert with Performance Max, Display, Discovery, Gmail, and Video campaigns. In addition, you can upload your data segments, such as an email list of last year’s holiday shoppers using Customer Match, so Google Ads can re-engage high-intent audiences who have previously interacted with your brand.

 

Icon of a sparkling star

Make your products sparkle

Google Merchant Center lets you list your in-store and online product inventory for free. To make your products stand out in your advertising campaigns, make sure to get your product feed up-to-speed in advance of important holidays.

Troubleshoot any issues with your product feed

Spice up your product creatives

Use holiday-themed images and videos to make the best impression and improve product performance. For YouTube, you can use holiday-themed images to quickly make holiday-themed video ads using a variety of templates available in the Asset Library. For other channels, like Search or Discover, high-quality, product-first visuals using bright, high-contrast colors are more likely to show for relevant search queries and will capture the attention of your customers, especially on high resolution devices. Make sure to add your assets or creatives a few days before the campaign launches to allow enough time for approvals.

Entice shoppers with deals

Attract attention to your ads and free listings by adding sales price annotations to all your products that are currently at a discounted price. If you have special promotions, such as a 15% off Thanksgiving code, create a promotion in Google Merchant Center so potential customers can see your offer details on Google. You can also create local promotions to advertise store-specific offers, such as discounts on post-season merchandise. In Merchant Center you can measure key performance metrics, like impressions and click-through rate, for any of your products with a deals-related badge. With this information, you’ll know the top performing promotions and which categories perform the best when on-sale.

Stand out to shoppers with your differentiated fulfillment options

Set up shipping information, like “Get it by 12/24” and free and fast badging to show you can ship quickly and with reliable fulfillment experiences for customers. If the products don’t fit the bill, give shoppers the assurance they need by highlighting return windows with return annotations like “Free 90-day returns.”
Example ad with shopping info "Free by 12/24"

 

Icon of a folded letter with a heart on it

Greet your customers wherever they shop

Google Ads helps you meet seasonal shoppers whenever and wherever they’re discovering and buying new products. We recommend using a holistic marketing approach that includes Search, Performance Max, Discovery and YouTube. You can further customize your goals to reach in-store shoppers or even use App campaigns if you have a mobile presence. Don’t forget to adjust your campaigns prior to peak holiday season to best reach customers and capture their demand throughout the entire holiday purchasing journey.

Be present in moments of Search to capture shopping demand

  • Use broad match with smart bidding so Google can show your ads to shoppers when they search for something related to the meaning of your keyword. For example, if you are selling ‘snow boots’, you’ll want your ad to appear when someone searches for ‘waterproof snow boots’ as well. 
  • Use responsive search ads to mix different headlines and descriptions you provide based on what shoppers search for. These ads will perform better if your ad strength is ‘Good’ or ‘Excellent.’
  • Use dynamic search ads to generate headlines and landing pages based on your website’s content. For example, someone searching for “winter boots in New York” sees your ad, clicks on it and lands on your exact web page for winter boots. Keep in mind that these ads work best if you have a well-optimized website and large inventory. 
  • Use image extensions to showcase your products, sitelinks to take customers to specific landing pages like store hours or a specific product, and promotion and price extensions to showcase holiday deals.

“Through adopting a fully automated approach we have expanded the amount of search volume we can profitably reach. This has given us the confidence to adopt automation more widely to drive next level growth.”
— Horus Chan, Growth Marketing Manager of Casetify

Complement your Search campaigns with Performance Max to drive online sales

  • Go beyond your product feed to serve on all Google Ads channels: Performance Max campaigns work with your Google Merchant Center product feeds to pull in product information for your ads. However, you should add a variety of high-quality text, image and video assets in Google Ads to ensure your campaigns serve on as many Google Ads surfaces as possible. 
  • Segment your campaigns for holiday-specific products or bid strategies: Create a separate Performance Max campaign if you want to prioritize certain types of products, creative or promotions during the holiday season. However, avoid over-segmenting campaigns as this could lead to reduced performance. You can consolidate campaigns again after the holiday season. 
  • Separate asset groups to secure approvals in time: Start creating new paused asset groups with promotional assets in advance of special holiday events or sales to test holiday creatives and get them approved in time, without disrupting your evergreen products. 
  • Differentiate your most important products: Reevaluate custom labels in your product feed so you prioritize the right holiday inventory (ex. “holiday bestseller”). Custom labels will allow you to filter your products for reporting or bidding (ex. setting different target ROAS).
  • Enable Final URL expansion to expand your reach: Make sure to keep Final URL expansion ON to capture more conversions from increases in search demand for specific products. Utilize URL exclusion rules if you have pages on your website that you need to exclude from sending traffic to.

"3Q/DEPT was able to unlock 206% revenue growth and efficiently capture 2x more category traffic for Skechers  earlier this year after upgrading from Smart Shopping campaigns to Performance Max - all the while delivering strong customer and retail centric results."
— Diana Gordon, SVP, ECommerce & Marketplace Strategy of 3Q/DEPT

Capture foot traffic from local shoppers by adding omnichannel & store goals to your Performance Max campaign

  • Set your goals: Use store visits or store sales goals in addition to your online goals, to measure and optimize for omnichannel & in-store actions and increase shopping traffic in your brick-and-mortar locations. 
  • Target your business locations: Bid by location, automatically targeting shoppers near your stores who are likely to visit your business, by linking either your Business Profile or by associating a Location Group populated with locations from a location extension or affiliate location extension.
  • Update your assets:
    • For existing evergreen campaigns: Swap out your non-seasonal/promotional creatives for ones with your seasonal/promo messaging and images starting about two weeks out from holiday and adjust your budgets to capture increased demand as you near peak. 
    • For new campaigns during peak holidays: Start your campaign early with non-seasonal/promotional creatives so machine learning can optimize before peak holiday periods. As peak holidays approach, swap out your non-seasonal/promotional creatives for your seasonal/promo messaging and images and adjust your budgets to capture increased demand as you near the peak.

Tip

You can update your creatives by either creating new asset groups or swapping creatives in existing asset groups. Make sure to allow for enough time for ad approvals.

Drive customer loyalty through your app with App campaigns 

  • Acquire new and retain existing customers: Your mobile app is a critical lever to better connect with your customers during the holiday season and increase lifetime value. App campaigns help promote your app across Google’s largest properties – all from a single campaign. Share your business goals – whether that’s driving in-app holiday purchases, or reminding shoppers to complete check-out – and we’ll use automation to help you find and engage these customers. 
  • Make your shopping experience seamless
    • Set up deep links: Send shoppers directly to the relevant page in your app where they can easily complete their purchase. On average, advertisers who have implemented deep linking are seeing over 2X uplift in conversion rate. Now, you can also set up deferred deep links at the ad group level for your app install ads. For example, by doing this, after a customer clicks on your app install ad which promotes Black Friday deals and downloads and opens your app, they will be taken directly to the relevant in-app deal page. 
    • App campaigns integrated with dynamic search ad technology:  After deep linking is set up we can better understand your in-app content and automatically improve query targeting, creative relevance, and the post-install experience of your app install ads served on Google Search. From early testing, with this integration, advertisers who have high deep link coverage have seen a median 30% increase in installs for their app install ads served on Google Search.

"Black Friday is becoming an established shopping event and, last year, we were surprised to see how much success we were able to drive through our dedicated campaign. More than 2/3 of that traffic came from mobile, and we were able to offer shoppers a great experience by smoothly directing them to our app through deep linking."
— Roger Graell Sole, Ecommerce Director of Mango

 

Gift box icon

Wrap up the holidays with insights

Activate data from Google Merchant Center and Google Ads to discover insights about your products and campaigns during the holidays.

Pinpoint your popular products within Google Merchant Center

Use the best sellers report and competitive visibility report in Google Merchant Center to see your most popular products and how they stack up against your competitors in terms of reach. This information allows you to double down on promoting the right product mix. For instance, you can improve your pricing and bidding strategies on top products using insights from the price competitiveness report, and see how changes in product pricing might affect sales with the price insights report.

Evaluate your advertising performance with detailed insights in Google Ads

  • Demand forecasts: View upcoming predicted trends to prepare your budgeting and marketing plans for changes in consumer demand.
  • Consumer interest insights: View how customers search for your business on Google to incorporate trending search categories into your creatives, landing pages and Google Merchant Center feed descriptions. 
  • Audience insights: View unique characteristics, interests, and behaviors of your converting customers to customize your creatives for even better performance.
  • Change history insights: View how changes in your account or campaign impact performance.

 

 

1. Google commissioned Ipsos Consumer Continuous, US, n=1001 online consumers 18+, June 10-12, 2022
2. In CSS Program Countries, Performance Max campaigns can be used with any Comparison Shopping Service (CSS) you work with. The ads will show on general search results pages and on any other surfaces the CSS has opted in to.

 

 

Sign up for the Best Practices newsletter to get advanced Google Ads tips and updates right to your inbox.
Was this helpful?
How can we improve it?

Need more help?

Sign in for additional support options to quickly solve your issue

true
Subscribe to our Best Practices newsletter

Approved by the team who built Google Ads, the Google Ads Best Practices newsletter provides actionable tips and tactics to help you get the most out of your campaigns.

Subscribe

Search
Clear search
Close search
Google apps
Main menu
Search Help Center
true
73067
false
false
false