While this year’s holiday season may feel like a long time from now, Q4 is approaching much faster than you think. Now is the time to gather learnings from last year and start making the proper adjustments to your PPC account.

blue and green presents

Make sure your account is ready for the holiday rush. Image via Pexels.

Analyze Last Year’s Holiday PPC Performance

No holiday prep is complete without an analysis of last year’s Q4 performance and trends. Evaluating last year’s PPC strategy and performance will allow you to better prepare for 2017’s budget and volume. Here are some questions you should think about:

  • Did you meet or exceed goals in Q4 last year?
  • Was there opportunity left on the table?
  • When do volume, conversion rates, and average CPCs really start to pick up for your account? Is it the week of Thanksgiving or three weeks prior?
  • How did volume & performance change on key dates like Black Friday & Cyber Monday?
  • Did you run promo-specific copy? How did it perform?

Perform a Mobile Audit

With the massive growth in mobile traffic over the last few years, it’s no surprise that a mobile audit is at the top of our list. Conducting a mobile audit now allows you enough time to dedicate and prioritize how you can improve your mobile experience before the holiday traffic really starts to pick up.

A thorough mobile audit should focus on the following:

  1. Site speed – According to Google, 53% of customers will abandon your site if it takes more than three seconds to load. Check out two user-friendly tools to evaluate your site speed and learn how you can improve this.
  2. Ease of navigation – Spend some time on your mobile site through the eyes of a potential customer. Can the site be easily navigated with one hand using your thumb? Is the call to action or checkout button above the fold?
  3. Ease of checkout – Try completing a few test conversions. Does the add to cart button make it obvious the item has been moved to the cart? Do you require an account to purchase? How many form fields are you requiring? The fewer steps required to make a purchase, the better for mobile.

Optimize Your Shopping Feed & Campaigns

Similar to mobile, Shopping is another major area of PPC growth. Google Shopping clicks increased 44% YoY in Q4 2016.

To capitalize on the increase in volume during one the most important quarters of the year, you’ll need to ensure your Shopping campaigns are set up for success. A solid feed foundation is the key to a successful Shopping campaign, so make sure to examine your feed for possible optimizations. Take a look at your top-performing search queries; if they’re not already included in your product titles or descriptions, make sure to add them in.

Prep Your Remarketing Audiences for RLSA

The holidays are a period of comparison shopping, and people often start window shopping and researching long before Black Friday rolls around. Make sure you ramp up your marketing budgets early enough in the holiday season or you will be leaving money on the table.

Start building long-term remarketing audiences to utilize as RLSA overlays for your Search & Shopping campaigns. Google allows you to create audiences with a maximum duration of 540 days, which can help you capture previous visitors and converters who might not have interacted with your website recently.

Test Growth Opportunities Now

If you’re going to test a new channel like Facebook or a GDN Display campaign for additional growth in Q4, the time to launch and start testing is now.

Launching a brand new initiative the week before Thanksgiving doesn’t give you enough time to make educated decisions and optimizations based on statistically significant performance. Testing early gives you a good sense of the most responsible ways to scale an account during the holiday season based on past device, placement, and gender performance.

By getting a head start with your PPC account now, you’ll be able to figure out your game plan for this holiday season to drive even more revenue for this year.