Christmas is approaching which, for PPC marketers, means a busy period with a lot of changes happening to accounts while we’re trying to enjoy the festive time — but it doesn’t have to be this way.
With some careful analysis and planning, as well as making use of the automated rules in Google Ads, we can automate much of the account changes that would be required in December, allowing us to enjoy our time off in peace.
Below are some suggestions on strategies that can be implemented to automate certain tasks. Most of the suggestions below require creating automated rules. To find out how to create an automated rule you can have a read of this article by Google.
Change bids to tackle seasonality
Competitor bidding activity tends to increase during sale periods. If you’re planning on changing your bidding behaviour but won’t have time to do this during peak periods, then consider creating a rule to increase/decrease bids on certain days.
For example, on Boxing Day, you may choose to increase all bids on keywords containing the word ‘sale’ by 40%, and bids on all other keywords by 30%.
Then after a few days, you may choose to bring down bids slightly. The key here is creating a strategy on which keywords you want to change bids on, when you want to change bids, and by how much.
Tackle poor/strong performers
Consider creating automated bidding rules to tackle keywords that are doing very well or very poorly while you’re away.
For example, you could create a rule to drop bids or pause keywords that have spent an unusually high amount and have not converted in the last 30 days. Or you could increase bids on a keyword that is on a low average position but has vastly exceeded your ROAS or CPA goals.
Implement an automated bidding strategy
Google’s automated bidding strategies are now better at recognising peaks in performance, so if you set up the automated ROAS or automated CPA bidding option for example, Google Ads should be able to adjust bids to hit the target that you set while you’re away.
The system may struggle to adjust bids enough during periods when we would expect a high spike in traffic though (like on Boxing Day). In this case, you may need to go into Google Ads and temporarily increase the target so that the system thinks it can be more aggressive and then drop the target down again the next day.
Ads & Ad Extensions
Upload all ad copy at the start of December
To allow Google Ads to have enough time to approve the ad copy, we would recommend that all ad copy that is going to be used be uploaded (ideally) at the start of December or earlier. This will allow enough time for Google Ads to check and approve the ads and for disapproved ads to be fixed and reuploaded with time to spare.
Pause and activate sale ad copy based on automated rules
Create a calendar of all the various sales that you want to run for each campaign and then create a rule activating and pausing each set of ads at the agreed upon times. We would recommend creating Labels for each set of ad copy and then creating an automated rule to pause and activate all ads that contain a specific Label.
Add in all Promotion and Sitelink extensions with their start and end dates early
Create promotion extensions for all the offers that you’re going to be running and any sale Sitelinks that you’re going to be running early. You can then set the appropriate start and end dates on all of Promotion extensions and Sitelink extensions which means you won’t have to create these the day before the sale goes live when you’re busy doing other things.
Campaigns & Budgets
Automatically pause and activate campaigns when required
If you’re going to be pausing or activating campaigns at any time while you’re away, then to save time, you can create rules to do this so you don’t have to do this manually. Make sure these are in the account in advance and use the preview tool to double check that each rule will run as required.
Ensure budgets are increased/decreased to reflect changes in bids
Use any insights that you have available to you such as a combination of last December’s data, Google Trends data, insights from your Google account manager (if you have one) and any other sources that you may have to identify peaks and drops in search volume and general performance.
Once you have this data, you can start to break down your daily campaign budgets. If you’re going to be aggressively increasing bids on a certain day, then you will need to make sure that your budget is sufficient to cover the increased spend and that your campaign won’t become limited by Budget on that day.
Pause or reduce aggression during Christmas delivery cut off dates
Seeing as though there is a cut off date on delivery times, ecommerce businesses can create a rule to either pause all campaigns or reduce aggression during this period depending on their business strategy.
You may choose to create an automated rule pausing all campaigns after the delivery cut off date or you could keep the account running with reduced aggression but create a rule to drop bids or pausing the poorest performing campaigns/ad groups.
Send an email if Impression share drops below a certain percentage
Even if you put all of your projections and plans in place, it’s difficult to predict what competitors will do. You can create a rule that will send an email if yesterday’s impression share, average position, or CPCs change to an unexpected level. You can then go into the account and make any necessary changes.
Identify what you’re going to push on PLAs
Identify which products you would expect to perform the best on PLAs so you don’t have to spend as much time during peak periods changing bids.
Ensure you have sufficient stock levels
Create projections to get an idea on the number of sales you would expect from your best sellers and ensure you have enough stock — if not, then determine which products you’re going to push if certain ones go out of stock. This will save you from panicking on Boxing Day when you’re losing sales because your best performers have sold out and you don’t know what to push in their place.