Online Retailers: Are You Ready for Black Friday?

Make it-or-break it—the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are crucial for your online business. To add to the pressure, competition in the PPC space heats up as other retailers ramp up spend on Google Shopping and Amazon.

So how can you make sure you succeed on these pivotal money making holidays? First, find out how much to spend. Then, choose your promotions. Dig into your top performing products, direct your spend, and optimize your feed! Read the fool-proof game plan below:

How Much Should You Spend on Holiday Advertising?

Don’t Spend Like Crazy

Not sure how much to spend?

You need to spend enough to ensure ads appear, but a massive increase in spend can also erase any profit you make. It’s not wise to spend like crazy during the holidays without accurate revenue and profit metrics.

Don’t Cap Spend

The opposite scenario also poses a problem. Many agencies will cap spend year round — including around the holidays. While this gives you a solid expectation of ad spend, it seriously limits profit potential. With a capped budget, you’re probably missing out on available sales. 

At Omnitail, we never cap spend — if an advertising program is driving revenue and creating profit, we’ll continue to ensure ads are serving. For clients who worked with us in the previous season, we’ll analyze last year’s spend as well as current trends to offer measured expectations for the season.

As the holidays get closer, we offer updates regularly on performance trends. Learn more about our profit-driven strategy in our whitepaper: “Breaking Up With ROAS: Trading Up to Profit“. 

Which Holiday Promotions Should You Run?

One-day promotions often do not allow Google enough time for approval—consider making your sale longer. Also don’t forget to include the “promotion_id”.
Look at Last Year and Consider Your Goals

Now’s the time to begin planning your promotions (if you haven’t already!) Think about the deals you offered last year, and the outcome:

  • Did they increase revenue or average order value?
  • Did these promotions come with any extra costs (like additional shipping or a higher return rate?)

When choosing holiday promotions, it’s important to consider your goals for the season. A good agency should be able to discuss your objectives and offer some simple suggestions on promotions to help achieve those.

Choose the Length of Your Promotion

One-day promotions often do not allow Google enough time for approval. We encourage our clients to consider extending Black Friday sales through the weekend or Cyber Monday deals through the end of the week.

Your agency should also be reviewing the promotion on the first day it is set to go live, to ensure it’s been approved and is eligible to serve. (Omnitail offers this year-round as part of our basic product feed optimization services!)

Add Promotion IDS

Finally — don’t forget to add promotion IDs to your product feed if your promotion requires them. Without them, Google won’t be able to show the promotion on the appropriate products.

Which Products Perform Best Around Black Friday?

Identify top products from last year as well as any new products you want to prioritize this year. Be prepared to need to raise some bids if your business is highly seasonal around the holidays.
Look at Last Years Top Performers

Take a deep dive into last year’s holiday season sales.

  • Did some products perform better than others?
  • Are the bids for those products set to allow them to perform well this year, as well? 

Remember — with increased competition comes increased costs, so be prepared to need to raise some bids if your business is highly seasonal around the holidays. 

Segment by Performance

Your agency should work with you to identify top products from last year as well as any new products you want to prioritize this year. You may wish to segment out these products to be able to more closely track their performance (and to ensure they’re getting the spend needed to appear in qualified searches!) We segment all of our clients’ product feeds according to a number of variables, so it’s easy to tell which product segments or brands are the most profitable.

How to Direct Your Holiday Advertising Spend

Look at Advertising Dollars

While you’re exploring last year’s sales, it’s a good idea to take a look at your advertising dollars as well.

  • How much revenue and profit did Google Shopping drive?
  • Were there any areas of concern (like a low conversion rate?)

A good agency should offer an analysis of last year’s holiday season advertising, and provide suggestions for the upcoming season as well. You should have an idea of when they plan to ramp up spend, and when is a good time to begin cutting back so your ads don’t abruptly become inefficient and unprofitable after the end of the holidays.

How to Optimize Your Product Feed for Black Friday

Finally, ensure your product feed is fully optimized and ready for the holiday season. This includes…

  • Optimizing titles and descriptions
  • Ensuring promotion IDs are synced to Merchant Center.


It’s the most profitable time of the year—make sure you are putting your best foot forward! We offer more details on product feed improvements for the holidays our blog post: 4 Product Feed Fixes to Make Before the Holiday Season.” 

If you’re worried you can’t get everything done in time for Black Friday—we are happy to help. Set-up a free strategy call today.  Don’t put this off. Black Friday is just around the corner! 

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