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AdWords Holiday Checklist

The holiday season is fast approaching! This is the time of year where you’ll want to spend lots of time with friends and family, and spend as little time as possible working. However, as the end of the year is the busiest and most profitable time for many advertisers, this can be hard to balance.


To help you out through the many days of the season, the AdWords Community team have put together this Holiday Season Check List counting down the important aspects of your AdWords account in this busy time of year!


Update: Check out the recording of this Hangout on Air:



Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 11.35.01.png Tip Number 12 - Review Historical Data


To ensure you are drumming up as much business as last year by reviewing the historical reports from 2013. Did you run seasonal campaigns last year? Go back and check out what worked, and what didn’t:


  • Increase bids on keywords that performed well for you last year, and reduce bids for those that did not. Did a specific ad copy bring in more clicks than others? Consider re-using that.
  • Have a look at your Conversion data, what days of the week converted better than others? Consider having a higher budget on the historically profitable days.
  • Using Google Shopping? What were your top selling products of 2014 so far? Consider creating an AdGroup for those products with higher bids.
  • Don’t forget to just look at AdWords traffic for your performance data, Google Analytics can tell you where other leads came through last year (such as social traffic, or specific industry websites) that can point you in the right direction as to where you need to be focusing your efforts this season.
  • Consider your budget for this time of year. Review your planned spend for 2014 and if there was a month where you underspent, allocate any unused budget to these last few weeks.



Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 11.35.01.png Tip Number 11 - Check out your Competitors


Make sure that when you pipe up with your messaging, that you are heard! Use the tools available to you to ensure that you are benchmarking yourself against your competitors.

  • By using the Auction insight report in AdWords, you can compare your performance with other advertisers who are participating in the same auctions that you are. This will allow you to see how often your ads rank higher in search results than those of other advertisers, and how your share of total possible impressions compares with theirs.
  • As well as that, the benchmarking report in Google Analytics allows you to compare your data with aggregated industry data from other companies who share their data.



Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 11.35.01.png Tip Number 10 - Use Seasonal Keywords


Leap ahead of the competition at this time of year and add in seasonal keywords. Consider the way that people search around the holidays and make sure you are capturing their searching and shopping style. Terms like “last minute gifts”, “holiday menu”, “party dresses” and “office party entertainment” are just the tip of the iceberg at this time of year.



Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 11.35.01.png Tip Number 9 - Get your Ad Copy ready


Dance your way through this holiday season by making sure you have ads that display the best messaging.

  • Create all the ads you’ll need for the various campaigns and promotions that are coming up. It’s never a bad idea to have all your ads uploaded and ready to go - and that goes for Banners too!
  • Also consider the unique selling points that will make a customer click on your ad versus your competitor and include these in your ads; free shipping, next day delivery, free gift wrapping are just a few things that you might offer and could set you apart from your competitors - so include them in your promotional text!


Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 11.35.01.png Tip Number 8 - Set up Automated Reports


Milk this time of year for all its worth and see your friends and family, this time of year isn’t just about making sales. The last thing you want to do while you are sipping eggnog, or eating latkes is checking on the performance of your campaigns to make sure everything is running according to plan. Use Automated Reports feature to set up conditions in which you and your team will be sent an email such as a low ad position, or if you didn’t record a specific amount of conversions that day. You can also use Google Analytics to send you a custom report of the top level information so you can review performance in an “at-a-glance” view at the end of the day.



Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 11.35.01.png Tip Number 7 - Set up Automated Rules


Swim ahead of the competition and save your energy at this time of year with automated rules. Automated rules let you make changes in your account automatically, based on settings and conditions you choose. You can change your ad status, budget, bids, and more. For example, if you want to boost your keyword bid any time your ad falls off the first page of results, you can set a rule for that.


Using automated rules can save you time, by cutting down the need to monitor campaigns and make frequent, manual changes.



Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 11.35.01.png Tip Number 6 - Use Felxible Bid Strategies


Lay down the foundation for the best bidding strategy at this time of year with Flexible bid strategies. Flexible bid strategies give you automated bidding exactly when, where, and how you want it -- across multiple campaigns, or within a single part of a campaign. Match these strategies to your business goal at this time of year;

  • Want more visibility at the top of the search results page? Apply “Target search page location”.
  • Focusing on Conversions within your CPA? Apply “Target cost-per-acquisition”.  

Take the manual work out of your bidding strategy by applying one or more of these to your keywords, AdGroups or Campaigns.




Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 11.35.01.png Tip Number 5 - Update your Ad Extensions


You’re golden when you are using ad extensions, so make sure they are updated for this holiday season!


Ad Extensions can help to increase your Quality score and Click through rate so make sure they are in place at this busy time of year.


  • Are your opening hours extended at this time of year? Make sure you update the scheduling on your Call Extensions to reflect your new opening times.
  • Did you create a specific “Holiday Products” page on your website? Create a sitelink to showcase that page.
  • Do you have a pop-up store for the holiday season? Create a location extension to show that off.
  • Lets not forget about the newest form of extensions, Call Out Extensions. You can add in a short, snappy text to get people to notice your unique selling points, and click through to your site at this time of year.



Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 11.35.01.png Tip Number 4 - Create future Data Feeds


Make sure you are calling out the right prices for your products at various times of the holiday season. You’ll start off the season with your normal priced products, but these will probably vary multiple times throughout the next few months with pre-holiday sales, post holiday sales and new year sales! If you are manually updating your data feed make sure they are uploaded and ready to go with the correct scheduling date.

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 11.35.01.png Tip Number 3 - Create a Seasonal Campaign


Make sure you’re staying ahead of the competition by setting up an entire campaign dedicated to the season. Focus your efforts on seasonal campaign with specific ads and keywords dedicated to the promotions you have running at this time of year.

  • Why not use the new Countdown Ads feature to remind people that there are only a few shopping days left to have your presents delivered on time. With Countdown Ads you can add in a simple parameter that will update your ad, which means less manual work for you.


Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 11.35.01.png Tip Number 2 - Update your Forms of Payment


Check your forms of payment - are your Credit Cards about to expire? Ensure that they’ll make it through this busy and important season. Its also recommended to have a backup form of payment added to the account, just incase anything happens, your ads will keep running.



Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 11.35.01.png Tip Number 1 - Don't forget about the New Year


Don’t forget about the New Year! The holiday season stretches from November straight into January. Make sure your campaigns are prepped and ready to go to start the New Year off on the right foot!




Thanks for joining us while we counted down our 12 Holiday Tips for your AdWords accounts. From all of us here on the AdWords team, we hope you have a Happy Holidays and a successful advertising season



John Paul Sing
November 2014
Thank you Kathleen. Thanks for Sharing.
ShashankSingh Rising Star
November 2014
Excellent Article here Kathleen! Thanks for sharing this.

I personally feel steps 11, 10, 9, 6, 5, 3, 2, 1 are very important and have followed them myself every year.

November 2014
Thanks everyone for everything, really usefull :-)