Top mistakes ecommerece businesses make in their PPC strategies during the build-up to Black Friday/Christmas

30 second summary:

  • For many businesses, the holiday season can be a busy time, so a solid PPC strategy can go a long way
  • Don’t forget to consider your company’s long-term sales goals as you tackle the vacation rush
  • Data collection and analysis is critical and can influence long-term strategy

For many ecommerce businesses, Black Friday / Christmas season is the most lucrative and can even beat or break the trade of the year. With so much driving in this time, however, some of the key steps to maximizing profitability can easily be neglected.

Whether you are a seasoned Black Friday seller or are preparing your business for the holiday season for the first time, there are a number of considerations and processes that can pay off if you invest some time and energy upfront.

Peter Marshall, Chief Marketing Officer, AddPeople

That’s why we asked Peter Marshall, Chief Marketing Officer at Add People, to highlight some of the most common mistakes he and his team see again and again to make sure your vacation PPC strategy is ironclad this year.

The nine most common mistakes ecommerce businesses make on Black Friday and Christmas

1. Anticipate a single peak

Although Black Friday is historically the day after Thanksgiving, it has become an international sales holiday that is driving a huge increase in sales for businesses of all types. However, as Black Friday has spread to e-commerce and physical retail, sales typically run during the build-up phase (7-14 days before) or all of November. If so, then you need to prepare your PPC strategy in advance for the whole period.

On Black Friday, the cost per click (CPC) of your ads tends to go up dramatically. So, we’ve found that by extending offers on both sides of the holiday ourselves, we ensure that our customers benefit from lower average CPCs and make more sales for a longer period of time.

Also, think about your strategy throughout the holiday season and see how you can maximize sales by Christmas.

2. Overcomplicated discounts

Our UK and US customers bring their Black Friday strategies to us with multiple discount codes for different brands or ranges, the complexity of which can result in customers abandoning or abandoning the cart. Since selling during the holiday season offers an opportunity to increase sales to make up for the drop in prices, it is important that the transition be as easy as possible.

Having a unified strategy that spans Black Friday through Christmas will help you streamline your shopping process and entice shoppers to come back at different times during the holiday season.

Scaling discounts is a strategy we sometimes use with our customers, e.g. B. 10% discount over £ 100, 20% discount over £ 200.

3. Having unclear goals for sales periods

The best companies will take advantage of sales times like Black Friday or Christmas to meet multiple business goals. While high-traffic events are the perfect time to grow sales, you should also consider the far-reaching consequences of these activities.

Black Friday and Christmas are a great way for businesses to get new customers who have never shopped from you and build their audiences for repeat purchases. Our clients can combine their PPC strategy with other channels such as email and paid social networks to increase their profits later when the original sale may have been made at a lower than usual margin.

To capitalize on the vacation, it is a good idea to define in advance how your activity will fit your long-term goals. For example, if your Black Friday campaign includes loss leaders, forecast the revenue you will need to generate from your other marketing activities in order to make them profitable in the long run.

4. Make changes to the day

Google Ads is good, but not perfect. Changes made on the platform cause the algorithm to adapt and some changes may take hours or days to settle down. If you make bid adjustments that day, the algorithm may not respond optimally and your performance may be affected.

For this reason, planning ahead is essential and we start organizing Black Friday sales for our PPC customers early on. Some of the changes you can make include increasing your budget, activating your campaigns that day, or activating ad copy, but any other changes could seriously jeopardize the performance of your Black Friday campaign.

If there are changes throughout the period, consider how this fits your forecast and other dates before Christmas that you need to be prepared for to avoid destabilizing your ads.

5. Violation of Google guidelines

Google Merchant Center can be very strict on promotions on your product feed, especially when it comes to the ad title and feed labeling. While it’s best to set up your promotions as early as possible, you should take at least five days to make sure they can be tested and improved before setting up.

If you have not already done so, it may take a few days for GMC promotions to be added to your account from the Promotional Opportunities tab. Especially for new businesses, planning ahead of the restrictions Google expects you to keep going smoothly over the holiday season.

6. Mixed news across platforms

Much like complicated discounts, a lack of consistency in your sales channels can put your profits at risk. The use of different codes and different messages on social networks, PPC and your website creates additional hurdles in the buying process that need to be removed during the Black Friday period.

Regardless of whether our customers use us for multiple services or just for their PPC, we make sure that everyone involved in the process is aligned with the goals and strategy so that the message to the customer is as clear as possible.

7. Make sure that your web server can handle the expected traffic

If your ads are generating unfamiliar levels of traffic, it can test the limits of your hosting provider. To avoid the risk of your website crashing, plan ahead and make sure your provider provides bandwidth provision for the expansion when it gets full.

You can also find tools to check web downtime that you can run throughout the holiday season. These tools send notifications when your website is down and can be configured to notify you more often during busy times so you can quickly fix the problem and avoid disruptions to your shopping process.

8. Lack of opportunities for remarketing

While Black Friday and Christmas are the ideal opportunities to reach new customers, neglecting your remarketing opportunities is a big trap to avoid. Thinking your vacation PPC strategy holistically will ensure that no sales opportunities are missed.

Within Google Ads, features like the Google Display Network and Search Ads remarketing lists can help you set your strategy for customers who have already visited your website. Other remarketing channels like Facebook and YouTube can all be included in your vacation strategy to maximize your share of voice for multiple audiences at the same time.

9. Leave data behind

The holidays are held at the same time each year. Whether you are a new Black Friday seller or a veteran of Christmas e-commerce, the data you collect during this time frame is invaluable.

Once the holidays are over, you can start planning your next Black Friday sales plan by analyzing the current year data. This will help you understand how to improve, where you may want to spend more of your budget, or opportunities that you may have missed.

This data can also feed into your marketing strategy for the rest of the year outside of sales, giving you an idea of ​​which products and services have brought you new audiences and where remarketing efforts can best be used.

Get ready for Black Friday and Christmas

Peter’s final piece of advice is, “You need to figure out how this time frame fits into the rest of your sales strategy to make sure everyone knows exactly what you’re trying to achieve and are making the right decisions to maximize sales for as long as possible. It is also important to consider your January strategy and inventory control for the early phase of next year. “

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