Tis the PP Season: Preparing your SEM Campaign for the Holidays


In life we take pleasure in a certain consistency: stars in the sky; the turn of the seasons; birthdays and summer holidays.

However, the yearly increase in competition for Paid Search real estate is not one of those things.

To give some context, in 2014, the jump in Black Friday keyword spend didn’t occur until October 26. In 2015, the increase in Black Friday keyword spend occurred a full month prior, on September 27. It is clear marketers are trying to get an edge on the competition this year by staking their claim early, and often.

Luckily, there are ways to leverage the holiday season without draining your search budgets.

Get Your Budget Right

According to Search Engine Land, retail advertisers are spending approximately 34% of their yearly budget leading up to and during the holidays. In some cases, advertisers are spending 85% of their budget around this time.

In most cases, you won’t find your competitors spending at that rate. However, regardless of the industry, you will want to take their spending increase into consideration and plan accordingly. Users are in the market, and you want to be certain that you are present and ready to have your ads clicked on. Clicks takes budget, and with more competitors in the market, be sure to expect higher CPC’s.

Being a Scrooge Doesn’t Hurt

With competition high, it isn’t always worth your penny to keep bids high. If you have a minimal budget, and are bidding to maintain a first position in the SERP, you can see your daily spend vanish very quickly. By establishing a lower bid, you will place your ads in a lower position, increasing your ad frequency, which will lead to more traffic overall. Similarly, there will be more overall data, which should help you make informed optimizations.

Don’t Let the Early Conversion Data Frighten You

Whether you’re running a holistic marketing campaign, or using SEM as your primary channel, do not be discouraged by the lack of conversions in the early stages of your campaign. Oftentimes the first round of clicks do not lead conversions, as users are still weighing up purchases and shopping around. This is really true for most of the year, but it is even more so during the holidays. According to Search Engine Land, “The pre-Black-Friday weekend research period is often characterized by lower transaction date revenue because consumers are holding off on their purchases.” However, these early clicks have a strong influence on later conversions.

If you are running a promotion, expect the time lag between first click and purchase to diminish over time. Users are eager to capitalize on seasonal deals and get the biggest bang for their buck.

The holiday season is a stressful time, but it doesn’t have to be with a little planning.

Anna Chu
Just Media, Inc.

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