7 Tips For Getting Your PLA Campaign Holiday Ready

By Cassie Oumedian | @cass_oumedian | Associate Director of Services at Hanapin Marketing

With just 15 days left until Black Friday, are your Product Listing Ad Campaigns optimized and ready to go? If not, it’s time to get them ready, ASAP!

According to Google 40% of annual retail sales will happen during the holiday season. With Hanukkah a week earlier and 6 less shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the time to start preparing is now! In 2012, Black Friday online sales increased 26% and Product Listing Ads are a crucial piece of online sales for eCommerce accounts during this time so we want to help make sure your accounts are ready.

Google has made several recent updates to Product Listing Ads over the last few months – especially with mobile – so it’s important to make sure your campaigns are up to date and optimized. Whether you are a veteran PLA advertiser or new to the game, below are 7 tips to help prepare your PLA campaigns for the holiday push.

1.    Create a New Holiday PLA Campaign

With all the changes you will be making to your PLA campaign during the holidays, it’s probably a good idea to create a new Holiday PLA campaign. This way your non-holiday campaign is left in tact and ready to come January.

2.    Update That Feed!

Review your feed and make sure you are including all the key information that would help the user find exactly what they are looking for. The more data the better (every PPCs account managers favorite saying)! If you are able to show the user you have exactly what they are looking for, it will help build trust and confidence in your product which can help sway users that have never purchased your product before to buy.

Holiday shoppers shop differently than they do the rest of the year because they are giving gifts. People make their lists and the giver wants to get exactly what is on the list so this is one reason it’s crucial to make sure you have all the information about the product included in the feed. Google gives an example below.

Update Feed

3.    Mobile PLA Bid Modifiers

According to Google, 84% of shoppers will be using their smart phones to compare, research and purchase items while shopping in a physical store. There is no denying the impact Mobile has eCommerce. If your campaign is not opted into mobile, it’s time to opt in and make sure you adjust your bid modifiers accordingly. Stressed out over the holidays people are up and shopping at all hours of the night so make sure you are ads are up and ready.

Google Shopping recently updated the look of PLA ads on Google.com so users can easily swipe to view more items without having to leave the search results page. One online clothing retailer saw a 537% increase in conversions and 77% increase in ROAS. These updates should help increase PLA performance significantly over the holiday shopping season.

Mobile PLA

4.    Create & Upload New Promotional Ads ASAP

I’m sure most online marketers using PLA are already on top of this but just another friendly reminder to make sure your ads are updated and promoting the latest and greatest promotions. It’s best to get these updated at least a week before you are ready to launch them so they can go through editorial review – which can take anywhere from 1-3 business days. You can just leave them paused and then activate when you need them so there is no delay.

Update Ads

5.    Update Your Shipping Settings in Merchant Center

The number one phrase that will sway an online holiday shopper during the holiday season is – FREE SHIPPING. When free shipping is involved, brand loyalty goes out the window. If you are offering free shipping make sure you update your shipping settings in merchant center to reflect this.  Here is a link that walks you through how to update your shipping settings.

6.    Segment Product by Category

If you have specific products that you know will perform differently during the holiday season, it’s best segment these products by category. This will allow you to bid accordingly for these different products.

7.    Review Negatives

Take a quick scan of your negatives and make sure there are no terms that could be blocking traffic or wasting money.


Fellow PPC folks, the time is upon us. That time of year when your fingers start to cramp from writing new ads, your friends are planning their Black Friday shopping plans while you are preparing to tether yourself to your computer for the weekend. It’s a fact of life in our world and I hope these 7 tips help prepare your PLA campaigns for another record-breaking season of online sales.

What other PLA optimizations do you plan to make to your campaign this holiday season?