Happy almost-holiday season, PPC Hero’s! For our second installment in the Jingle Your Bells All The Way To The Bank holiday PPC management series, I’m going to take you to the next step in your planning: account structure.

Yesterday, Sarah helped you make your way through specialized keyword research for the holiday season, including which holidays to target, gift recipients based on product offerings, research tools to expand your lists when needed and how to choose negatives to pull back those lists should they get a little too broad. So, now what? Now, we put all that research in to an account structure that will not only help you profit off the lucrative holiday season, but will help you manage your PPC account quickly and efficiently! On, Dasher! On, Dancer! On, Prancer and…ok, here we go.

  • Budget: Depending on how in depth you chose to take your holiday keyword research and how large your product offering, you may be sitting on a holiday-based keyword list that’s fairly expansive and could cost a pretty penny to cover. For this reason, your first step in determining account structure for the season is to decide how much budget you have to play with.My first recommendation would be to take the list of keywords you want to bid on for the time being and utilize the Keyword Tool. This will help you get a rough estimate of what you could expect to spend per click based on average number of monthly searches and competition for that keyword. Multiply that CPC by the number of clicks you’d need to convert the numbers you’re looking for and see what your budget looks like. From there, you can make decisions to limit the keywords you are going to bid on to meet your budget requirements or increase your budget to allow for full coverage. Holiday traffic for ecommerce accounts is not hard to come by; your biggest question is how much of that traffic you can afford to pull in.

Another factor to keep in mind is how you allocate an increased budget. Should you put it all in        your new holiday-specific account elements or evenly distribute it to your year-round campaigns? The simple answer is: both! Check out how much impression share you’re missing out on from your higher converting campaigns throughout the year and consider whether the gained leads from there could be more valuable than leads gained from holiday season campaigns, etc.

  • Incorporate a ‘Year End Holidays’ campaign with promotionally and categorically based ad groups: This is where efficiency will become the name of the game. In order to keep you from chasing your tail and turning individual ads on and off for the next two months, you’re going to want to silo your keywords in to ad groups based on their targeted:
    • Product category
      • Examples: ‘gifts under $10,’ ‘gifts for her’
    • Holiday
      • Examples: ‘Black Friday,’ ‘Cyber Monday’
    • Promotion/Offer
      • Examples: ‘15% off sale,’ ‘free gift with purchase’

As is best practice, you’ll want to make these ad groups as specific as possible so you can accurately write ad copy to fit all the keywords included in the group (more on that from Felicia tomorrow!).  Make an accompanying spreadsheet that includes specific dates you have promotions running and which ad groups should be enabled at that time so you can do a quick filter for promotion and pause those ad groups that do not apply. Finally, I’d suggest setting up calendar reminders if you have to keep track of very many date ranges for promotions so you’re sure to be offering the right sale price at the right time and can avoid upsetting customers for not delivering on an expired offer.

Arranging your holiday efforts in this way will allow you to easily pause and enable ad groups based on current promotional offers as they change throughout the season. Further, you’ll be able to keep the same holiday structure and optimize it year over year, saving you hours of research and spreadsheets in the long run.

  • Don’t forget to show your deals to the “normal” searchers: Integrate holiday-geared ad copy in to your year-round ad groups throughout the rest of your account. This will allow those shoppers who aren’t necessarily searching by promotional offer, specific holiday or gifting category to still see your product’s ad, just with a seasonal spin to catch their attention. For example, you could tout your fast delivery times through the holidays because even someone who could care less about Black Friday appreciates getting his or her products quickly, no matter the time of year! Of course, make sure your ad rotation setting is set to ‘Rotate’ or you’ll likely show your year-round copy and null the effort altogether.
  • Utilize site links in ‘Year End Holidays’ campaign: PPC Hero has time and again explored the benefits of implementing ad extensions and this holiday-based campaign is no different. You can ad up to 10 different site links for this campaign, which would allow you to direct general shoppers to areas they may be interested in (i.e. Gifts for Him, Gifts under $25, etc.). I’d also recommend now as the perfect time to light the product ad extension fire in your year-round campaigns, as these more easily entice customers to click since they can see the item being advertised to them.
  • Accelerate ad delivery, if possible: Budget permitting, my final recommendation for your structure during the holiday season is to set your ad delivery setting to ‘Accelerated.’ Electing this option under this setting will display your ads as often as possible until your daily budget for that campaign is reached. Combining this setting with increased spend allows you to more effectively reach as large a client base as possible and in turn, increase revenue.

What about your experiences? What have you found works for you when it comes to account structure during the holiday season? Share your experiences, thoughts and ideas in the comments section below!

Thanks for reading and make sure you check out the other posts for this series by Sarah, Felicia and Dave on how to conduct holiday keyword research, align ad copy with the season and optimize landing pages to match!