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Are Your Google Shopping Campaigns Ready for Black Friday?

Steve Costanza

It’s that time of year, ladies and gentlemen. Though the end-of-year holiday shopping season has already begun for many retailers, we’re just two weeks out from its marquee event: the days spanning from Black Friday to Cyber Monday.

You’ve probably already circled Nov. 23-28 on your calendar and put a plan in place. Good work, but don’t forget that Google Shopping campaigns require special attention during this retail bonanza.

For extra credit, here are five simple and quick ways to set yourself up for a winning Black Friday weekend in Google Shopping:

Break Out Promoted Items Into A Separate Campaign

To many shoppers, Black Friday and the days surrounding it mean one thing: promotions. Doorbusters, deals, whatever you wanna call ‘em, hot items offered at rock-bottom prices define Black Friday weekend. The expectation is no different in the digital world, and you may have a group of items to promote online (including in Google Shopping) that weekend.

To make your life easier during the impending shopping spree, break out all of the items you are promoting into a separate Google Shopping campaign. This will tighten things up, and allow you to raise bids on promoted items with a blanket adjustment that would likely be too aggressive and far-reaching for your normal campaign. You can also more easily monitor this campaign and bid up exceedingly popular promoted items further if needed.

Get Aggressive Before Thanksgiving to Attract Researchers

Most retailers are likely planning to increase their Google Shopping bids during Black Friday weekend to ride the coming wave of traffic. This is the right idea, as increased competition for positions on the Google SERP will undoubtedly cause CPC to rise during Black Friday weekend. However, it’s also a good idea to pump up your bids starting a few weeks before Thanksgiving (aka now).

Don’t forget that Google Shopping campaigns require special attention during this retail bonanza.

Here’s why: Just like digital marketers nationwide, many shoppers are planning out their strategies for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, what they’ll buy, where they’ll buy, and for whom they’ll buy it. And all this planning results in a surge of traffic leading up to those days. Make sure these highly-motivated shoppers are finding your products — and your site — in the research phase with higher bids for Shopping ads.

Update Your Remarketing Lists

If you’re investing in Google Shopping to deliver sales during Black Friday weekend and the rest of the holiday season, make sure you get all that you can out of that investment with AdWords’ native remarketing tools. RLSA for Google Shopping will help put you back in front of visitors that hit your site in the weeks before Thanksgiving when they finish their turkey and pumpkin pie, and begin searching for deals once again.

Customer Match is another valuable tool for capturing more Black Friday sales if you have sufficient data in your CRM to support it. I’m talking here about a list of shoppers who have purchased from your site during previous Black Friday weekends. If you’ve got this data handy, pull the list and upload it to your AdWords account before Black Friday starts again this year. For more tips on setting up these features in your campaigns, grab our e-book Customer Match & RLSA for Google Shopping: The Ultimate Guide.

Revisit Your Dayparting Settings

Dayparting is a valuable feature that provides an automated way to juice up or lower your Google Shopping bids during specific days and times. You may already be using dayparting, but if not, check out this nifty primer from Google. For those who have already joined the dayparting party, now is the perfect time to square up your schedule and bid adjustments for Black Friday.

These five days are unlike the remaining 360 on the calendar, so you need to prepared for anything. 

The Monday before Thanksgiving, it’s a good idea to increase the bids on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday in your campaign schedule. 50% is a good starting point. When Cyber Monday has passed, you can bring those adjustments back to zero, or reset them back to where they were before Thanksgiving.

Be Smart About Your Budget

Finally, examine your campaign budget and the delivery method you’ve selected for spending it. If you have allocated extra dollars to Google Shopping during Black Friday weekend, make sure to boost the daily budgets for your campaigns so that money actually gets put to use.

And if you have a limited budget that you don’t typically exhaust during regular shopping days, double check that the delivery method for all of your campaigns — including any new ones you’ve created just for Black Friday — are set to Standard delivery, and not Accelerated. Standard delivery means Google will throttle back your ads to ensure they are distributed evenly throughout hours and days when your campaign is active. Accelerated delivery means that your ads will appear as soon as possible, as quickly as possible.

Standard AdWords Delivery

During high-traffic shopping times like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, campaigns set to Accelerated could exhaust their daily budgets before lunchtime. Avoid this by heading to Campaign Settings, selecting the All Settings tab, and confirming that your delivery method is set to Standard for each of your campaigns. You may have accidentally enabled it and not realized, but when traffic begins ramping up, you certainly will….

After you’ve implemented all or some of the tips above, stay on top of your bids throughout Black Friday weekend. Cost-drivers (items that are being clicked, but not converting) can spiral out of control during the high-traffic, high-CPC shopping days.

A parting thought: During this weekend, all Google Shopping bets are off. These five days are unlike the remaining 360 on the calendar, so you need to prepared for anything. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Check in to our blog for more tips this holiday season and read last year’s recap to get a feel for what to expect from Google Shopping.

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