How to Run a Successful Holiday PPC Campaign


The holiday season is the busiest time of year for many businesses. With consumers looking to purchase gifts, decorations, food, and more, it’s a prime opportunity to connect with customers through paid search campaigns.

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is a type of online advertising where you pay a fee each time someone clicks on your ad. When someone searches for a keyword related to your products or services, your ad may appear at the top of the search results page. You only pay when someone clicks on your ad, so you can control your advertising costs.

PPC advertising can be a great way to reach your target audience during the holiday season. Here are some of the benefits of running a holiday PPC campaign:

Increased brand awareness: Your ads will be seen by people who are already interested in buying products or services like yours. This can help to increase brand awareness and make people more likely to consider your business when they’re ready to make a purchase.

Traffic to your website: Your ads can drive qualified traffic to your website, which can lead to more sales.

Sales: PPC advertising enables you to connect with motivated shoppers when they are ready to buy. More visibility and traffic leads to higher conversion rates.

Here are some specific examples of how businesses have used PPC advertising to reach their target audience during the holiday season:

  • A toy store might run PPC ads for seasonal keywords like “Christmas toys” and “best Christmas gifts for kids.”
  • A clothing retailer can target shoppers looking for “winter fashion,” “holiday party dresses,” and related searches.
  • A restaurant could promote holiday meals like “Thanksgiving dinner takeout” or “Christmas Eve dinner reservations.”
  • A jeweler might advertise engagement rings with keywords around “Christmas proposals”.

If you’re looking to reach motivated shoppers and drive sales during the holiday season, PPC advertising is a great option. By following the tips in this blog post, you can create a successful holiday PPC campaign that connects your brand with customers ready to purchase.

Planning your campaign

A successful holiday PPC campaign doesn’t just happen – it takes careful advance planning and preparation. Before launching your ads, you need to lay the groundwork and make key strategic decisions that will impact your results.

Set your goals

Clearly defining your goals is one of the most important first steps when planning your holiday PPC campaign. Without goals, you won’t know what metrics to track or how to determine success.

Start by asking yourself – what do I want to accomplish through PPC ads during the holiday season? Common goals include:

  • Increase website traffic – Aim for a specific increase in visits compared to last year’s holiday season. Traffics goals help ensure your ads are driving engagement.
  • Generate more leads – Set a target for lead generation or newsletter signups from your site. This helps capture interested shoppers in your sales funnel.
  • Boost online sales – Sales goals directly tie to revenue. Measure both sales and conversion rates from holiday traffic.
  • Improved brand awareness – Measure the impact through brand search volume or surveys. Branding builds recognition and future sales.

Make sure to set S.M.A.R.T. goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Tie goals directly to your business’ key holiday KPIs. Focus on outcomes that are realistic within your ad budget. Detailed goals give you benchmarks to optimize towards.

Setting well-defined PPC goals gives your holiday campaign direction and purpose right from the start. With clear goals, you can build an effective campaign strategy and accurately evaluate performance.

Identify your target audience

One of the keys to PPC success is understanding your target audience inside and out. Take time to research who exactly you want your holiday ads to reach.

First, define key demographic criteria like:

  • Age range
  • Location/region
  • Gender
  • Income level
  • Other demographics like parents or homeowners

Look at analytics from your website and past promos to see who your existing customers are. Find common attributes and patterns.

Next, determine psychographic factors like:

  • Interests and hobbies
  • Values and priorities
  • Shopping habits and behaviors
  • Motivations and reasons to buy your products

During the holidays, customers may have specific motivations like finding the perfect gift, getting a deal, or buying something indulgent for themselves.

Finally, research your target audience’s search behaviors:

  • What keywords and phrases do they use?
  • What questions are they asking on Google Shopping and search engines?
  • When and where are they browsing and buying?

The more you can define your target holiday shopper, the better you can craft ads and choose keywords that closely resonate with their needs. Take time to get clear on your ideal customer and create a customer avatar. Identifying and understanding your target audience is key to maximizing your holiday PPC effectiveness.

Research keywords

The keywords and phrases you choose will make or break your PPC campaign. Thorough keyword research ensures your ads show up for all the relevant searches your customers are making during the holidays.

Start by brainstorming an extensive list of potential keywords. Think like your target audience – what words and phrases would they type into Google to find your products or services?

Prioritize keyword ideas that relate directly to your holiday goals, like driving online sales of specific products. Also think seasonally – for example “holiday gifts” instead of just “gifts”.

Next, use keyword research tools to analyze and refine your list. Look for terms that have:

  • High monthly search volume – this indicates consumer demand
  • Low competition – makes it easier for your ads to rank
  • Relevant search intent – people searching are looking to buy
  • Good cost-per-click (CPC) – enables you to set affordable bids

Also include long-tail keyword variations which are more specific (e.g. best family board games for Christmas). Long-tail terms often convert better.

Organize keywords into ad groups around topics, products and services. Avoid overly broad terms that will dilute your targeting.

With rigorous keyword research, you can hone in on the terms that matter most during the holidays. Choose keywords that align with seasonal search trends and your PPC goals. This helps maximize your ad relevance for motivated holiday shoppers.

Set your budget

Determining your PPC budget is an essential piece of campaign planning. Approach holiday budgeting with a strategic focus.

First, look at last year’s holiday ad spend and results. How much did you invest? How did it impact sales and ROI? This gives you a baseline to work from.

Next, factor in any expanded holiday shopping days and hours. Budget more to cover additional days you want your ads running around Black Friday, Cyber Monday, etc.

Consider increasing your budget if you want to scale up results. But stay realistic about what you can afford in your holiday marketing budget to achieve your specific goals.

When setting your budget, also consider:

  • Competitor spending levels
  • Cost per click trends for your keywords
  • Performance of past campaigns
  • Your profit margins on product sales
  • Volume of campaign management needed

A defined budget allows you to properly allocate spending across keyword groups and control costs. Remember to budget for continuous campaign monitoring and optimizations too.

Thorough planning and research is crucial for PPC success. Define your goals, target audience, keywords, and budget upfront to create an effective and high-performing holiday PPC campaign.

Creating Your Ads

Writing compelling ad copy

Your ad copy is one of the main factors that will determine the success of your holiday PPC campaign. Compelling ad copy grabs attention, conveys relevance, and motivates click-throughs to your site.

Follow these tips to write ads that convert:

  • Lead with seasonal headlines – Include keywords and make it abundantly clear how you can fulfill holiday needs.
  • Keep it concise – Shorter ads space allows for bigger, bolder text that’s more visible on SERPs. Stick to tight copy that’s scannable.
  • Speak to emotions – Trigger feelings of connection, nostalgia, or excitement around seasonal events and traditions.
  • Focus on benefits – Highlight how you can solve problems and enhance experiences during the holidays.
  • Add urgency – Consider “limited time only” offers or reminders of shipping cut-offs to prompt action.
  • Use visuals – Complement your text with holiday images, graphics or videos that catch the eye.
  • Include a strong CTA – “Shop Gifts Now” or “Find Your Feast” gives searchers a clear next step.
  • Be accurate – Don’t overstate with exaggerated claims. Represent your actual offerings.
  • Test different versions – Try different headlines, offers and ad styles to see what resonates best.

With compelling ad copy that speaks directly to motivated holiday shoppers, you can drive more qualified clicks to your site and sales.

Using relevant keywords in your ad copy

Incorporating your target keywords into your ad copy helps ensure your ads are triggered for relevant searches.

When choosing which keywords to feature in your holiday PPC ads, consider these factors:

  • Keyword popularity – Prioritize terms with higher monthly search volume so your ads reach more searchers. Check Google Keyword Planner.
  • Keyword competition – Opt for long-tail variations like “gifts for golfers” instead of just “golf gifts” to improve ranking potential.
  • Keyword cost – Balance search volume and competitiveness to control costs. Bid strategically on the keywords that will drive conversions.
  • Searcher intent – Include keywords that indicate a purchasing intent like “buy,” “shop,” or “order”.
  • Keyword relevance – Only use keywords closely related to your products/services and campaign goals. Generic terms dilute targeting.
  • Keyword seasonality – Incorporate holiday keywords like “Christmas,” “stocking stuffers,” “New Year’s Eve dresses,” etc.
  • Keyword placement – Put the most important keywords at the beginning of headlines or ad copy.

By optimizing your ad copy with relevant, high-converting keywords, you can increase your Quality Score and decrease your Cost Per Click this holiday season.

Using eye-catching images or videos in your ads

Visual content in your holiday PPC ads grabs attention and conveys more information. Images and videos can boost engagement compared to text-only ads.

Follow these tips for optimizing visual assets:

  • Use high-quality, relevant images – Show your products or convey the desired emotion. Images should reinforce your ad message.
  • Highlight seasonal products – Feature holiday-specific items, gifts, decor and food. This increases relevance for shoppers.
  • Include people and emotions – Connect with customers by showing happy families, friends, and celebrations.
  • Use animations – Cinemagraphs and animated GIFs add motion to capture interest.
  • Leverage product videos – Short demos and testimonials build trust and credibility.
  • Ensure quick loading – Compress files so they don’t slow page loading speeds on mobile.
  • Test different visuals – See which images, animations, and videos perform best.
  • Follow image ad guidelines – Adhere to image specifications and text overlap rules.

Compelling ad visuals make your message memorable and can significantly lift CTRs. Just make sure your assets reinforce your offer and keyword targeting. With eye-catching creative, your holiday PPC ads will capture attention across the buyer journey.

Offering a call to action

Effective call-to-action phrases turn holiday shoppers into customers. CTAs tell people exactly what next step you want them to take.

Some best practices for holiday PPC CTAs:

  • Place your CTA prominently at the end of your ad copy. This is the most visible spot.
  • Use urgent, seasonal language like “Shop Gifts Now” or “Find Your Feast”. This prompts immediate action.
  • Try action-oriented verbs like “Buy”, “Get”, “Order”, “Reserve” or “Find”.
  • Make your CTA large and contrasting. Use buttons, different colors, capital letters, etc.
  • Test different CTAs to see which initiate the most clicks.
  • Tailor your CTA to your specific offer or holiday goal.
  • Use CTAs like “See Deals” if you want to highlight sales or discounts.
  • Include CTAs like “Order Today” to emphasize shipping cut-offs.

An effective call-to-action is one final nudge to get searchers to click your ad. Use direct language, seasonal urgency, and contrast to compel the next step you want. The right CTA will help you turn holiday interest into sales.

By following these tips, you can write compelling ad copy that will help you create successful holiday PPC campaigns.

Launching and Managing Your Campaign

Launching your campaign

Once you’ve put in the work on planning and setup, it’s time to get your holiday PPC campaign live. Follow these tips when launching:

  • Set clear goals and objectives. What do you want to achieve with your campaign? Do you want to increase website traffic, generate leads, or drive sales?
  • Choose the right keywords. Your keywords are the foundation of your campaign, so it’s important to choose the right ones. Use a keyword research tool to find keywords that are relevant to your products or services, have a high search volume, and are not too competitive.
  • Write compelling ad copy. Your ad copy is what will convince people to click on your ad, so it’s important to write compelling copy that is relevant to your keywords and targets your ideal customer.
  • Set a budget. How much are you willing to spend on your campaign? It’s important to set a budget that you can afford and that will allow you to achieve your goals.
  • Monitor your results closely. Once your campaign is launched, it’s important to monitor your results closely so you can see what’s working and what’s not. Use this information to make adjustments to your campaign as needed.
  • Optimize for mobile – Most holiday shopping searches happen on mobile, so ensure ads display and function well.

The launch period is critical for gaining momentum before peak holiday demand. Monitor closely and be ready to make rapid optimizations as needed.

Making adjustments to your campaign

As you monitor performance, be ready to make rapid optimizations to improve your holiday PPC results:

Adjust Keywords

  • Add new seasonal and product keywords to expand reach. Check search query reports.
  • Remove irrelevant, low-performing keywords that are wasting budget.
  • Change match types (broad, phrase, exact) to balance targeting and traffic.
  • Improve quality scores by optimizing for relevance.

Modify Bids

  • Increase bids on high-converting keywords to get more impressions.
  • Lower bids on keywords with a high cost per conversion to control spend.
  • Expand use of bid strategies like target ROAS to automate optimization.
  • Bid higher on critical days around holidays, events and deadlines.

Refine Ad Copy

  • Test different ad copy variations to lift CTRs.
  • Make your ad copy more compelling by highlighting benefits, deals and urgency.
  • Use dynamic ads to automatically show relevant products.

Enhance Landing Pages

  • Improve page load speed and user experience on mobile.
  • Ensure your sites convey trust and social proof.
  • Create dedicated landing pages tailored to your ad offers.
  • Make your call to action buttons more prominent.

Monitor data daily and keep optimizing your campaign for maximum holiday performance.

Tracking your results and measuring your ROI

To determine the success of your holiday PPC campaign, it’s essential to closely monitor performance and continuously track important metrics. This allows you to optimize efforts and maximize ROI.

Use these best practices to track holiday PPC results:

  • Set up campaign tracking early – Implement conversion tracking, UTM campaign tags, and integrate with analytics platforms like Google Analytics. This enables detailed reporting.
  • Track daily metrics – Closely monitor impressions, clicks, CTR, conversions, cost per conversion, bounce rates, and other KPIs on a daily basis.
  • Measure ROI – Calculate return on ad spend by factoring in CPC, conversions, and revenue data. Evaluate profitability.
  • Compare to goals – See how metrics stack up against the goals and targets you outlined during campaign planning. Identify gaps.
  • Segment data – Break down performance by factors like keyword, placement type, device, ad creative, etc to see what’s working best.
  • Optimize over time – Use learnings to refine targeting, bids, budget, ad messaging and other elements to improve results.
  • Leverage reports – Use automated reporting within PPC platforms to easily monitor metrics and customize data views.
  • Track beyond clicks – Measure downstream behaviors like email signups, dwell time on site, repeat purchases.
  • Assess end-of-season – Conduct final performance reviews and document takeaways after the holidays wrap up.

With comprehensive tracking and measurement of your campaign’s results, you can maximize the impact of your holiday PPC investment and make data-driven decisions.


The holiday shopping season presents a huge opportunity for driving sales through paid search campaigns. By following the strategies outlined in this post, you can create effective PPC ads that connect your brand with motivated gift-buyers during the busiest ecommerce period.

Start by setting clear goals based on your holiday KPIs. Identify and understand your target audience to inform keyword research and creative development. Craft compelling ad copy and visual assets that speak to holiday shopper needs. Monitor campaign performance daily and be ready to optimize bids, targeting, and messaging as the season progresses.

Most importantly, implement comprehensive campaign tracking so you can measure results and maximize your ROI. Assess key metrics like clicks, conversions, return on ad spend, and goal achievements. Use these insights to refine efforts and improve future holiday season PPC performance.

A well-planned and expertly managed holiday PPC campaign allows you to cut through the digital noise in this high-volume sales period. Drive qualified traffic to your site, boost brand awareness, and significantly grow revenue. Follow the recommendations in this guide to fully capitalize on the pivotal holiday shopping rush.

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