Pre-Holiday Online Ad Planning for Retailers

Are you ready for the season?

We’ve just come away from Labor Day barbeques and back-to-school sales. Some of us are holding on to those last few opportunities to be poolside, while others are looking forward to apple cider and pumpkin spice flavors to re-appear. But as online advertisers, what we should be thinking about is Black Friday, Cyber Monday and all of the online shopping the holiday season brings. That’s right, if you haven’t started game-planning for the holidays, you are behind.

Online shopping is only going to increase between now and the start of the New Year. Use these tips to help stay ahead this holiday season.

1. The “shopping season” is shorter this year.

With Thanksgiving falling at the end of November, this season has fewer shopping days. Keep these key dates in mind and prepare ahead of time to take full advantage!

  • Black Friday – Friday, November 29th
  • Cyber Monday – Monday, December 2nd
  • Green Monday – Monday, December 9th
  • Christmas Day – Wednesday, December 25th
  • Day After Christmas – Thursday, December 26th
  • New Year’s Eve – Tuesday, December 31st

2. Use 3rdparty tools or automated rules to turn promotional ads on and off on key dates.

Prepare your promotional ads ahead of time and upload them as ‘paused.’ Schedule them to turn on and off during promotion days so you aren’t worrying about walking away from family gatherings to ensure your ads are running.

3. Incorporate mobile.  

First, be sure you’re incorporating mobile advertising into your online advertising plan. Then, be sure your messaging is consistent across all devices. With consumers searching from multiple devices, having a uniform look, wording, and overall experience is very important! According to, “1 out of every 3 monthly visitors to the average digital retailer website comes exclusively on mobile platforms.”  Be sure you’re accessible to those users and that they can have a mobile experience of your site comparable to the desktop experience.

4. Be competitive with product ads and consumer shopping engines.

  • Make sure your data feed is up to date and uploaded frequently
  • Include unique product identifies in your data feed
  • Take advantage of “best sellers” and bid up on your best sellers/products that make you the most money
  • Monitor pricing and be sure your prices are competitive in the space
  • Use promotional text—What makes you different?

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5. Don’t neglect remarketing.

You’ve already done the work to get the user to your site, don’t give up on those who didn’t convert right away. Stay top-of-mind with remarketing before they head to a competitor’s site … or bring them back to purchase again if they bought something the first time.

Google has quite a few remarketing options:

  • Standard remarketing
  • Dynamic remarketing
  • Remarketing lists for search ads

Whether you’re using Google’s tools or 3rd-party remarketing services, be sure your audience lists are granular and segmented so you can share timely ads with appropriate users (e.g., discounts to get non-converters to come back, newly added/similar products to users who did convert, etc.)

Reviewing your successes from last year and taking advantage of these pointers will help you navigate the busy, fast-approaching shopping season. So, what are you waiting for? Go start planning!


Prepare for the August 2014 shopping search transition with Google Shopping and data feed optimization:

Guide: The New Google Shopping

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