Black Friday Tips for Online Retailers: Are Your Google Shopping Ads Ready?

The weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are crucial for your online business. To add to the pressure, competition in the PPC space also heats up as other retailers ramp-up ad spend on Google.

So, how can you make sure you succeed during these pivotal money-making holidays? First, find out how much to spend. Next, choose your promotions. Then, dig into your top performing products, direct your spend, and optimize your feed!

Here’s a foolproof plan for running successful holiday campaigns.

How Much Should You Spend on Holiday Advertising?

a back view of a man sitting in front of a computer. The computer screen shows search results for "holiday gifts."

Don’t spend like crazy

Your spending during the holiday season should increase, but only to a certain point. In other words, you need to spend enough to ensure your ads appear, but beware of spending with abandon. A massive increase in ad spend can also negate any profit you make from your holiday campaigns, so it’s not wise to throw “all the dollars” at your ads during the holidays without having accurate revenue and profit metrics to help keep your ad spend in check against the money you’re bringing in.

Don’t cap spend

The opposite side of the spectrum also poses a problem. Many marketing agencies will cap spend year-round—including around the holidays—because they are not managing your campaigns through a profit-driven approach. While capping spend does provide you with a solid expectation of ad spend month over month, this tactic seriously limits your profit potential. With a capped budget, you’re likely missing out on opportunistic sales.

At Omnitail, we never cap spend; if an advertising program is driving revenue and creating profit, we’ll ensure ads are serving and providing you with those opportunities for sales. For clients who partnered with us in the previous holiday season, we’ll analyze last year’s spend and pull current trends to provide measurable expectations for this year’s holiday campaigns.

In general, avoid ad spending extremes and find your own goldilocks zone—don’t spend too much and don’t cap spend. Find the “just right” spend for your business that will keep ads serving and making your brand money this holiday season.

Which Holiday Campaigns & Promotions Should You Run?

a photo of a laptop. the screen displays a pie graph and bar graph.

Look at last year & consider your goals

Now’s the time to begin planning your holiday campaigns and promotions (if you haven’t been already!). Think about the deals you offered last year and what happened:

  • 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 strategizing holiday promotions, it’s important to consider your goals for both the season and the entire business quarter. Your e-commerce digital marketing agency should be able to discuss your objectives and offer promotion suggestions to help achieve them.

Choose the length of your promotion

For brands running Google Shopping ads, one-day promotions often do not allow Google Merchant Center enough time for approval. We encourage our clients to consider extending Black Friday sales through the weekend, and running Cyber Monday deals through the end of the week to account for this approval time.

Your digital marketing agency should also review each promotion the first day it’s set to go live, to ensure it’s been approved by Google Merchant Center 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.

Black Friday Tips: Which Products Perform Best?

two sets of hands, each holding a cell phone. one phone has a picture of a pumpkin, and the other has a christmas tree. the phone with the pumpkin has a sticky note on it that says "-1.50," and the phone with the christmas tree has a sticky note that reads "+.50"

Look at last year’s top performers

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

  • Which products performed better than others?
  • Are the bids for those high-performing products set to allow them to also perform well this year? 

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

Segment by performance

Your digital marketing agency should work with you to identify top products from last year, as well as help determine new products to prioritize this year. You may want to segment these products to better track their performance and ensure they’re getting adequate spend to appear in qualified searches. 

Here at Omnitail, 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. Reach out to learn more about how we can help organize (and optimize) your product feeds in time for the holiday season.

How to Direct Your Holiday Google Shopping Ads Spend

Look at numbers from last year’s holiday campaigns

While you’re exploring last year’s sales, you should also take time to look at your advertising dollars:

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

Your digital marketing agency should offer an analysis of last year’s holiday campaigns and provide suggestions for the upcoming season. You should know when your agency partner plans to ramp-up ad spend, as well as when they will begin cutting back, so your ads don’t abruptly become inefficient and unprofitable after the holidays end.

How to Optimize Your Product Feed for Black Friday

a sample search engine result for a holiday shirt
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 Google Merchant Center
It’s the most profitable time of the year—so make sure you put your best foot forward and use these Black Friday tips! We offer more details on improving your product feed for the holidays in our blog post 4 Product Feed Fixes to Make Before the Holiday Season. Give it a read today! If you’re worried you can’t finish everything in time for Black Friday we’re here to help. Don’t put this off and set up a free strategy call today—Black Friday is just around the corner! 

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