How to Maximize Paid Advertising ROI for the Holidays


It’s the final stretch of 2020 – and what a year it’s been. Regardless of your business size, industry, location, and marketing efforts, everyone has felt the effects of COVID-19 on everyday operations and revenue. But, as with any year, there’s opportunity to squeeze in increased marketing efforts around the holidays to boost sales and close the gap leading to year-end goals. If online advertising isn’t part of your general digital marketing strategy, well, it should be! If it already is, you’re speaking our languag

Now’s the time to think about your paid search strategy for the upcoming holiday season. How much can you afford to spend? What did or didn’t work this time last year? What are your goals? How do you measure success? As we prepare for the holiday season, Sage Digi has collected helpful tips to help you maximize PPC ROI for the holidays.

1. Start Planning Early

The only thing worse than not having a holiday PPC strategy is realizing you’re behind on planning one. Ideally, the Sage Digital Marketing team advises clients to start thinking about their holiday spend and additional marketing efforts as early as July.

Think about it this way: with Black Friday, Cyber Monday already behind us, it is extremely important to keep a sharp-focus on December-long holiday deals. Have a concrete digital ad game plan and communicate it to everyone who touches the e-commerce side of the business often. This allows businesses and marketing teams to further-explore audiences, make adjustments to ads as needed, and maximize the online shopping season

2. Look Back at Last Year

Ready to start planning? So are we! The best way to hit the ground running is to pull up last year’s data, analyze trends, identify new or missed opportunities, and put in work. Here are some thoughts to consider:

  • Was there a combination of keywords, bids, and ad timing that worked well?
  • Which campaigns or promotions pulled in the most traffic?
  • Did you peek into a new target audience this year? How can upcoming ads speak to them?
  • When did you see the most engagement? (Think: days, times, channels, etc.)
  • Which types of creative material performed best?

3. Re-Familiarize Yourself with Your Audience

Ideally, as business grows, so does your audience reach. 2020 has been an unprecedented year for digital marketing efforts since so many people have turned to online shopping more than ever before. Does this present new business opportunities? Sure does!

Think about the audiences you already have, as well as the ones you’d like to build over the coming year. These audiences should be captured via Analytics for potential Retargeting with deals and loyalty incentives. Some points of influence may include past customers, repeat customers, wishlist-creators, those who engage with social content, etc.

Did You Know: According to the National Retail Federation, 40 percent of holiday purchases occur in the last 10 days before Christmas. It doesn’t hurt to reconfigure ads to meet this audience!

4. Make More of Your Search Budgets

People are more willing to spend during the holiday season, and so should you when it comes to your paid ads budget. The holiday season presents a fantastic opportunity for brands to promote products and services, and in turn, see an increase in clicks, conversions, and sales. However, to see this kind of return, you’ll need to carefully allocate enough budget to support these efforts and be prepared for slow-downs in traffic during weekends.

The savvy Sage team has an eye for collecting data from seasons past, checking out the competitive landscape, and coming up with custom strategies that suit your campaign goals. Once this strategy is set in place, here are some points to help you calculate how much ad spend you should budget for the holiday shopping season:

  • How long did previous ad budgets last you?
  • Were you bidding high enough, and on the right terms?
  • Have you expanded search terms in your most profitable ad groups?
  • Are we including holiday-specific keywords? (This may vary based on industry, services, or products, but it’s certainly worth considering since campaigns are time-sensitive.)

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5. Test New Options

Have your eyes been set on Facebook ads and nothing else? What if we told you your audience is active on other channels, too!

Don’t miss out on brand exposure and audience engagement by sticking to what you know – the holidays present an important opportunity to test paid ad campaigns on other channels.

Another idea is to set aside a certain portion of your PPC budget to try new initiatives. Or, experiment with different bidding strategies. Instead of turning off manually-bidded campaigns, create a copy of a campaign to test an automated bidding strategy. This way, you can test and see which performs better!

6. Create Holiday-Centric Landing Pages

While paid ads can lead online shoppers to your website, it’s the landing page that secures the sale. For this reason, creating high-quality landing pages is key for PPC optimization. With a touch of SEO and a sprinkle of content strategy, our team of SEO content strategists and PPC managers work together to create strong landing pages that influence that final “make a purchase” transaction!

A Helpful Tip: Remember that “Free Shipping” is a major motivator to proceed through the checkout!

Are you ready to boost holiday ad spend, come up with a streatgy that suits your goals, or just want to learn more about what we do? Chat with us!
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