Avoid A Nightmare Before Christmas

The PPC Guide To Stress-Free Christmas Advertising

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I once saw a PPC Christmas meme which said ‘holiday PPC is like a David Hasselhoff music video; it is chaos, yet a work of art, you hate it, yet cannot turn it off’. This got me thinking that there’s surely an easier way to manage your paid search over Christmas than it being utter chaos and a truly traumatising experience? So grab an eggnog latte and read on for a less stressful Google Ads Christmas!


Firstly, you’ve gotta plan. There’s no point in moaning about how annoying and stressful the holiday season can be if you’re not going to try and combat things early – and I’m talking early. I’m talking October. Plans for Black Friday and Cyber Monday should really be in place already or at least be gathering pace, which will free you up to spend time thinking about prepping your Christmas ads and strategy.

In order to plan correctly, you’re going to need targets – this could be a number of sales, a certain ROAS, a specific amount of visits to your site – whatever it is, don’t leave this until the last minute.

Avoid A Nightmare Before Christmas

Yeah, don’t be those guys! Whether it’s Christmas ads or New Year promotions and sales, have a clear identity of what needs to be accomplished and you’ve already hit the ground running.

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Automated Rules

Secondly, create automated rules. Let’s say you have 10% off all products for Boxing Day only; you’d create the new ads in Editor beforehand, have them paused and set up an automated rule within Google Ads so that any ad with a ‘Xmas Sale’ label can be set live at a certain time on a certain date. These rules can then be used to re-enable the pre-Christmas ads, setting the ads back live that were running that you cleverly labelled ‘Pre-Xmas Sale’, so that on the 27th December, your ads go back to zero mentions of a sale. No logging in on Boxing Day and setting ads live – ain’t nobody got time for that! 

Merchant Promotions 

Next up: Merchant Promotions, which are those amazing little ‘Special Offer’ tags that you sometimes see under Google Shopping listings. They’re a great way to catch a users’ attention, straight away giving you an advantage on any competitors who aren’t using them to advertise their holiday offers. Google accepts the following promotions;

Google Promotions

These Merchant Promotions can be set up within your Google Merchant Center, and the Promotions strip should be on the left-hand side navigation panel. If it’s not, you need to apply for this feature here

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Remarketing Campaigns

The penultimate trick to avoiding a PPC nightmare before Christmas is having remarketing campaigns set up, or as most people refer to them as, ‘those annoying ads that follow you around. The days and weeks leading up to Christmas are when people are researching the presents they’re likely to buy for their loved ones, but not everyone just buys the first thing they see. People shop around and sometimes need that little visual prompt to bring them back to something they saw a week ago but didn’t end up purchasing because it was two days before payday.

Having either some great static, branded remarketing banners in place, or some highly-effective dynamic remarketing ads set up – or both – increases the likelihood that you can re-engage with that person who added the £150 headphones for their son to their basket, but didn’t end up buying because it was the last week of the month!


Finally, you need a sufficient budget in place. In the run-up to Christmas, there is, naturally, an increase in demand for retail products. If you fall into the retail category and know there’ll be a potential increase in traffic to your site and interest in your products, then you need to ensure your ads are going to be visible when you need them to be.

It’s no good blowing your daily budget by 3pm in the afternoon and not having any ad spend left for an evening when parents are browsing once the kids have gone to bed. You wouldn’t set off for a long car journey with a quarter of a tank of fuel, would you? You might need to increase your budget by a substantial amount, naturally this varies from industry to industry, account to account, but be prepared to spend a little bit more this Christmas, especially if you start seeing that dreaded ‘Limited by budget’ notification on your Google Ads campaigns. If you’re a client of ours, then be sure to speak to your PPC Account Manager to see what their recommendation would be where this is concerned.

There you have it, a quick guide to a less stressful Google Ads account this festive period.

If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed about managing your Ads account in the next few months, then contact Mabo today to see how your PPC advertising could benefit from working with our team of PPC management specialists.

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