The most wonderful time of the year is approaching, fast, and if I’m guessing correctly, you’d rather be opening presents/ yet another bottle of wine instead of opening your Google Ads account, right? Well, fear not, Impression has some tips for you that will keep your time spent with egg-nog to a maximum.

Automated Bidding Strategies

Let’s start simple. Google’s automated bid strategies should be your first point of call if you’re not using them already. Select a campaign(s) you’d like to automate, then click ‘edit’ and ‘change bid strategy’ from the drop-down menu.

You’ll see a number of options here, from maximising clicks to target impression share. Now which strategy you would choose depends on your campaign aim and whether you’re looking for lead generation or product sales.

A key thing to bear in mind when choosing your strategy is how much conversion data you have, as both target CPA and target ROAS require historic conversion data to work effectively.

If you are selling products (e-commerce) and want to ensure your account doesn’t spend a fortune whilst you’re away, then target ROAS might be the one for you. Here Google will try to attain a specific return in revenue on your advertising spend based on a percentage you determine. For example, if for every £20 you spend on Google Ads you would like £100 worth of sales, you’d set a 5% ROAS target. Then whilst you’re away, Google will continuously optimise bids on your campaigns to ensure it is only spending if it has a high chance of delivering the target revenue you set. 

If you’re lead generation based then target CPA might be the best strategy. By using this you can set how much you’re willing to pay for a conversion (lead) and Google will aim for this figure when optimising its bids. By using this strategy, it will reduce the chances of you coming back after Christmas and your CPA having massively increased because you weren’t there to reduce the bids. Where possible, we’d recommend automating your bids on an ongoing business – not just Christmas. For most businesses, taking advantage of the sheer volume of signals available is better than a more manual approach.

If you don’t have much conversion data in your account and won’t be there to keep an eye on it for a little while, then enhanced cost-per-click could be the best one for you. With this strategy, you will still need to set manual bids but Google will automatically adjust them to help generate more conversions, whilst also trying to achieve the same cost-per-conversion. An easy way to take advantage of automated bidding without too much risk of it going wrong whilst you’re away.

Automating Budgets Through Scheduling

A second handy technique is automating your budgets over the Christmas period. If you run an e-commerce store and have a sale planned for Boxing Day, you may want to have a bigger budget than, say, the 4 days running up to Christmas Day which is past your last shipping day. This is where scheduling comes in. You could set it so your average budget is reduced by 30% on these 4 days and then on Boxing Day it increases. Just be careful with the maths when you want to increase your budgets again, I’d recommend taking a look at this blog as it may not be as simple as you think. You’ll then achieve the same overall budget amount, just allocating it where the predicted demand will be.

This can be done through the Google Ads scheduling feature. Firstly select the campaign(s) you’d like to add the automated rule too. Then select ‘edit’, ‘create an automated rule’ from the dropdown menu. 

Give your rule an appropriate name (so you know what it’s doing), select ‘change budgets’ under Action and filter it by ‘avg. daily’. Next you can set the percentage increase or decrease you’d like to change your budget by.

After this you should ensure the campaign status is set to ‘all enabled’ and you can choose the date and time you’d like this rule to come into effect. Finally, enter your email so you’re alerted if something didn’t quite go to plan. 

Then repeat these steps for each rule you’d like to create (e.g. the increase on Boxing Day) and voila, you’re all set!

Scheduling Ads and Extensions 

If you are wanting to use specific ad copy or extensions that mention Christmas or time-limited promotions then it’s best to know exactly when these ads are going to start and when they’ll end. I’d recommend creating an Ad Christmas schedule in Excel so you know when all your ads and extensions will be running. Another top tip would be to ensure you get them uploaded into Google Ads by the start of December so they can be approved in time. 

In order to include this you simply click on the ad or extension you’d like to schedule and click on ‘advanced options’. Here you can set a start and end time so they’re not still showing after Christmas.

Using Scripts to Implement Changes & Alert You

Finally, for those willing to go the extra mile for extra security, it might be worth installing a Script. These can run 24/7, make automated changes to your account and email you if something isn’t quite right. These are added by going to ‘Tools & Settings’ in the top right hand corner of your Google Ads account and selecting ‘Scripts’. In fact, Impression uses many custom Google Ads scripts throughout the year to manage our clients campaigns, but there are plenty of free ones available online that you could be running over Christmas.

Now you’ve read this guide, go and get your account automation done so you can put your feet up this Christmas and eat your body weight in mince pies!

Reuben Hewitt

Paid Media Analyst

I’m a Paid Media Analyst here at Impression, having joined the team in September 2020! I graduated in July 2020 from Nottingham Trent University in International Business. My biggest passion is travelling (hence the degree), as I love exploring new countries and meeting new people, oh - and the food! My favourite sport is Skiing, having learnt to ski in Canada and more recently exploring the Alps. Now I’m excited to start my career in Paid Media and get to work on some exciting campaigns!

Reuben has specialist knowledge in Paid Media and PPC / Paid Search.

Greg Holland

PPC Account Executive with a love for data-driven analysis. Puts the "fun" in "conversion funnel."

Greg has specialist knowledge in PPC and Paid Media.