The end of the year is finally in sight, and most of us are looking forward to taking some well-deserved time off.
While there’s no teacher to wheel out the TV set, we are slowly slipping into our coats and creeping out the door.
The problem is, our PPC campaigns don’t get this memo, and we need to leave them with some instructions as to what to do in our absence. And there’s no one-size-fits-all master plan that works for everyone – some ads are so needy they keep their managers prisoner all holiday long.
We asked some top marketers their tactics for ensuring their ads stay hot over the holiday season, without burning themselves out. Here’s what they had to say.
“I’ll Deal With That In January”
As everyone begins to wind down, there’s a temptation that we all feel to leave things until January.
Perhaps it’s blind optimism that the “new year, new you” will be better equipped, or more likely that you’ve entered sloth mode and want to focus on more things like researching why Celebrations removed the Galaxy truffle.
If you fall into this category, and your industry does experience less traffic around this time of year, then automation is your best friend.
Use and trust automation options where possible. If appropriate for your business, set your Google Ads onto specific festive period schedules (and name them accordingly, so when they trigger you know precisely what they are, and you can use them again next Christmas too!); this way they’ll continue to run until a specific date automatically.
If you’re planning seasonal offers, set new ad variations to run for the boxing day sales or New Year’s deals. Get your ad sets done in advance, and set the campaigns, schedules, and rules up now. Your future self will thank you, as this way you can start to take your foot off the pedal for the well-deserved break.
Personally, I set all scheduling automation and rules to email me when it triggers (on or off) and if any errors occur. I don’t turn on my laptop where possible and instead, use the Google Ads mobile app to check on the high-level data once per day. Do this in the morning only (definitely not in the evening, as if there was an issue, you may be unable to correct a problem effectively if you’ve had a few mulled wines).
Finally, have a simple conversation with your clients around the process if there is an issue. Set honest and realistic expectations around turnaround times on urgent requests during the festive. That way, there is no confusion or stress over delayed email responses or actions taking a little longer than what they’re used to.
Merry Christmas to all my fellow PPCers!
If you can’t leave things to their own devices, making sure you’re not the only one on-hand to deal with last minute changes will make things run more smoothly.
Now’s the time to be working smart, not hard. The key is communication and planning. We always discuss the best approach and decide accordingly. We try to have a second pair of hands on each account to remove the need to contact our colleagues, or partners, during their holidays.
Plan carefully and then hopefully this won’t be you when you return in the new year.
Keeping Clients Happy
When you’re managing campaigns for others, what you get to leave until January and what you have to do in a chocolate-fueled haze is out of your control.
We spoke to PPCers at agency level about their approach for their clients and how they ensure everyone stays happy over this quieter period.
During Christmas, we take this on a client-by-client basis. Some will pause, some will have big pushes right after Christmas. This comes down to good communication, planning and strategy. One tip for clients who want to slow down during Christmas, but not pause campaigns altogether, is to decrease bidding at the device level. This means you aren’t messing around with bids and once the New Year comes around you can just adjust bid devices back to their original level.
Make sure clients are given plenty of time to set their promos and send them to me and schedule, schedule, schedule! I will also give clients a cut-off time to get info over, it helps them be more prepped and gives me enough time to get everything in order.
Even PPCers need a Christmas break, so I log in once in the morning and once in the evening to check emails and that all is running as it should. Ten minutes each day is worth its weight in gold to have peace of mind the rest of the time.
The Grinch View
While there’s all the automation in the world, if the Christmas period is a big time for your business, then there’s no way you’ll be leaving your campaigns alone – so set a place for your laptop at the dinner table!
PPCers do not relax at Christmas. Holidays are crucial for all online purchases and very important for the discovery phase for all goods. Daily checks, strong alert and historical data and you can have a more relaxed day but at the end of the day something can always happen. The internet is always on, and PPC is the engine of the internet.
If you are having to work, then make your life easier by going back to basics. Take a look at the tips PPC marketers shared on Black Friday about how to ramp up those big wins.
Team Take A Break
And last, but not least, there are those of us who are looking forward to kicking back and relaxing. Well, half-relaxing as we can never seem to stop ourselves from “just checking our email.”
If you’re guilty of this, make sure you’ve got the right notifications turned on so you have a genuine excuse for getting out of those awkward family conversations.
Christmas is the time of year to wind down and spend time with your family and is the perfect opportunity to see if your hard work throughout the year has paid off! Adjust any time-sensitive ads or conversions ahead of time and let any brand Ads run. Have confidence in your campaigns and leave them running, they will be fine and continue working for you whilst you enjoy a well-earned break.
Whilst you’re relaxing with a full belly, automated rules and alerts will keep your mind at ease. For advertisers running Shopping, make sure you have ‘Product data alerts’ email notifications enabled in the Merchant Center for any feed issues. Alongside this, set up a range of rules around clicks, impressions, avg. CPCs and other key metrics to notify you of any significant changes.
Take A Step Back
Finally, there are benefits in taking a step back from your campaigns as it allows you to see the bigger picture. As you dial down your budgets, things may behave differently than you expect.
For instance, when Uber cut their marketing spend by $100 million and saw no change in their conversion rates, it led them to discover that all that had been previously wasted on invalid activity.
If you come back in January and your PPC data is doing wacky things, give us a call and we’ll be able to show you what’s been going on with a free Traffic Audit.