Remarketing Strategies For The Holiday Season

imageLet’s face it – people just go crazy during the holidays. Your CPCs will increase, but so will your click-through-rates, and your cost per action should even go down even through your CPCs have increased. It’s an insane time full of people who want to find deals.

Marketers are willing to oblige and throw offers and discounts at shoppers. It’s party time for the credit cards. It’s also a time to break many of your tried and true marketing rules, and your remarketing campaigns are no different.

Today, we’ll examine a method for setting up and executing holiday remarketing campaigns.

Collect All The Cookies You Can

I’ve written previously about how to segment your remarketing campaignsso that your ads are always reflective of the visitor’s behavior on your site. While that strategy works throughout the year – either don’t use it, or add this strategy to it during the holiday season.

This is not the time to start overly segmenting your visitors or letting your remarketing cookies expire.

If you segment too heavily, then you have locked a consumer into a certain set of ads. During the holidays, we aren’t looking for ourselves – we’re shopping for others. Therefore, interests change as often as the Christmas tree lights burnout.

You can either create new lists that are just for the holidays with long cookie durations, or you can increase the length of your current cookies.If you’re the planning type, I’d suggest making new lists so that you do not have to remember how you’ve affected your current lists after the holidays.

Now, put everyone in this list. Yes, everyone. Those who shopped, abandoned their carts, or checked out. You might not even think of this as a remarketing list; but as another type of targeted display advertising.

During the normal year, you might exclude those who converted from seeing your ads immediately after the conversion event. However, if someone checked out on your site and had a good experience, when they need something else (and we all need something else during the holidays), then your ad is a reminder to come back to buy from you yet again. Set as many cookies as you can to increase your shopper list size.

Create Ads By Holiday Deadlines

Next, create a list of holiday segmentations based upon your offers and limitations. For each time frame, think about your offers and benefits for that timeframe. For instance:

  • Black Friday / Cyber Monday – deep discounts
  • From Cyber Monday for two weeks – typical discounts for the holidays
  • Two weeks before the Holidays – Free shipping until December 24th
  • One week before the holiday – last chance to order for Christmas Eve delivery
  • The day before the holiday – forgot to order something? Buy a digital giftcard.
  • Post-holiday – After Holiday Sales Special
  • etc…

This is a very generic list. Take a look at your marketing efforts, offline material, previous holiday offers, and write something that is much more geared towards your business. Just remember these two facts:

  • The closer it gets to the holiday, the more ‘good enough’ suffices
  • During holiday seasons, the benefits should be for the product buyer, not the product user

Submit All Your Ads Now

Once you have your timeframes created, write ads for each timeframe. Then pause the ads and submit them now. By submitting them now, they will be approved (Google reviews paused ads) so that you aren’t trying to get ads approved at the last moment. Put the dates in your calendar for each timeframe. When the date arrives, pause one ad and unpause the next one. If you don’t want to try and remember to pause and unpause ads, you can create a different campaign for each timeframe and use the campaign start and end date feature.

Raise Your Frequency Caps

Lastly, raise your frequency caps. You have to be careful not to creep out your customers; however, during the holiday season, consumers are more accustomed to being bombarded with ads from every direction. Since their credit cards are sitting next to their keyboards, make sure your ad is there the next time they want to type those numbers into someone’s shopping cart.Put a reminder in your calendar to adjust your frequency cap downwards after the holiday to your typical levels.


The holidays are one of the most stressful times for people. We all want to give the perfect gift. We also want to find that perfect gift on sale. The only way for us to find the perfect gift on sale is to pay more attention to ads and offers during the holidays. The further the holiday is away, the lower the stress levels; and the more willing we are to look for the perfect gift and deep discounts.

As the holidays approach, the stress levels increase; and the more we want to find ‘good enough’; but we still want it on sale. Segmentation in your marketing efforts is always essential. However, instead of segmenting your remarketing ads based upon site activity; segment your ads based upon the stress levels associated with a quickly approaching holiday.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: SEM | Paid Search Column


About The Author: is the Founder of Certified Knowledge, a company dedicated to PPC education & training; fficial Google AdWords Seminar Leader, and author of Advanced Google AdWords.

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  • Pam G

    Great advice for a holiday marketing plan! Submitting ads for approval ahead of time will definitely help avoid the last minute rush. Thanks!


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