Considering how important and chaotic the Q4 shopping season can be for advertisers, it’s never too late to start setting up your campaigns. Buyer behavior trends have changed over the years during Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and December holidays and now we’re seeing consumers shopping earlier than before.
One thing is for sure: billions of dollars will be up for grabs.
With all that said, let’s see how you can prepare in advance and make this 2023 shopping season a profitable one for your business.
On that note, our CEO, Frederick Vallaeys recently spoke to Marcel Smal of Roots Network on PPC Town Hall. Marcel shared how his agency is gearing up for Q4 and how he recommends you set up your Performance Max and other campaigns.
Watch the full episode below.
This article is a collection of tips shared by Marcel during that conversation.
5 Tips to Get Started With Setting up Your Campaigns
1. Start early.
Initiate preparations well in advance. Briefings for creatives, alignment, budgets, etc. take time. Allocate sufficient time for planning.
2. Set efficiency targets.
Set aggressive efficiency targets before promotional days. Use seasonality adjustments during promotions. Use negative seasonality adjustments afterwards, or conversion exclusion events.
Note: Seasonality adjustments don’t work for Video and App campaigns.
3. Try Discovery ads.
Use a ramp-up period before promotion. Allow time for the campaign to gain traction. It can take a few days to a week to start seeing some volume.
4. Build a pre and post-Black Friday strategy.
For instance, during pre-Black Friday, you can focus on lead generation, app downloads, and audience building. Push those goals during the promotion days.
And post-Black Friday, plan to promote follow-up products (e.g. accessories for products your audiences have bought, refills, etc.).
5. Don’t ignore ad extensions and customizers.
For retail campaigns, add promotions to your Merchant Center. Use site links and ad customizers.
Performance Max tips for 2023 Q4 Shopping
Marcel suggests the following tips for Performance Max.
1. Align your goals with your business objectives.
Make sure your measurement and reporting are aligned with your business objectives: revenue, profit, CLV, etc. If new customers are worth more to you than existing customers, then use ‘New Customer Acquisition’ as your goal.
2. Give Performance Max time to learn.
Performance Max campaigns look promising and Google is pretty active in adding more features to improve it. I suggest Pmax be included in your setup, but don’t make them your top priority over other campaign types. And don’t create too many Pmax campaigns.
Related reading*:* How to Manage and Optimize Your Performance Max Retail Campaigns
3. Keep an eye on the results.
If you see an uplift of +30%, analyze where that uplift came from. Is that traffic from existing customers? Or from branded traffic? Also, check which interactions drove the conversions.
4. Make use of Mike Rhodes’s PMax script.
It’s clear that insights and reporting in PMax campaigns are limited. So Marcel suggests taking the help of Mike Rhodes’s (of WebSavvy) PMax script which allows you to see the performance per platform.
5. Don’t create too many asset groups.
Creating too many asset groups can take quite a bit of manual work to optimize and make adjustments. Again, use the script by Mike Rhodes to find out which asset groups get the most volume.
You can use these insights to decide if it is necessary to split up your asset groups further. And, based on the volume, you can check if it is worthwhile to create or refresh new assets.
Also, add your own video assets. And check with Google if its automatically-created videos can be turned off.
6. Set up good targeting settings.
Take your time to set up targeting. Prepare an extensive list for custom intent audiences, competitor websites, competitor apps, brand websites, etc.
tROAS or tCPA? If your conversions have different values (retail, travel, leads with different values), then you can choose tROAS bidding. If you are a lead-gen advertiser with multiple types of leads and multiple CPA targets, then assign that CPA value to the different conversion actions.
And if you then let a tROAS bid strategy optimize towards a ROAS of 1.0, you will work towards your original CPA targets.
Related reading: 5 Ways to Manage Smart Bidding
2. Measuring conversions
Should you prioritize revenue or profit? If profit is your bottom line KPI, and this information is available, then always optimize towards profit. Implement this in your measurement if possible so that you can actively steer towards profit instead of revenue.
Make sure you measure everything that adds value to your company. If you have physical stores, measure store visits and store sales. If people can also buy via telephone, track phone calls. If you run app campaigns, track app downloads and assign a value. If account sign-ups have a value, track them too and assign a value.
Try to measure as close to the business objectives as possible.
Conversions -> Revenue -> Profit -> CLV
The Bottom Line
As we near the end of Q3, last-minute preparations for Q4 are in full swing. Search marketing has changed, and we need to be watchful of these changes as they affect data analytics and audience behaviors.
At Optmyzr, we’ve seen a massive shift across industries as more and more marketers and agencies are starting to trust machine learning, automation, and data-driven optimizations.
But in order to thrive with automation, you need to look for powerful search systems and highly effective management tools.
Not an Optmyzr customer yet? Thousands of advertisers — from small agencies to big brands — around the world use these tools to manage over $4 billion in ad spend every year.
Sign up for our 14-day free trial today to give Optmyzr a try. You will also get the resources you need to get started and more. Our team will also be on hand to answer questions and provide any support we can.