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Was Christmas and holiday season a gift for your business?

Since it is one of the largest retail holidays in the UK, with consumers spending millions of pounds, if you feel like you missed out on some revenue, here’s how you might want to diagnose why. It will help you improve your performance on other holidays in the future.

Impression Share

Check out your Impression Share (IS) and look at it at a granular level to see if the parts of your account that contribute the largest amount of conversions/revenue have the highest impression share.

Action: If you find that you lost some impressions due to Budget, reassess how you assign budgets for the next holiday.

If you find you lost a lot of impressions due to rank and some keywords or ad groups are beating your conversion KPI by a lot, ensure you set higher bids (not just for holidays but overall) for these.

Year on Year (YoY) comparison

The below metrics should be reviewed for this year’s holiday vs the same last year and see what the differences were in terms of:

  • Volumes.
  • IS.
  • CPCs (Cost per Click).
  • Conversion delay - both after the holiday and how much build up is needed prior to the holiday.

The latter can be established by understanding through cohorts (in Google Analytics) can show you customer behaviour from visit to purchase.

Action: If volumes were lower, this should lead you to look at ranking, bids and Quality Score (QS) to understand the underlying cause. If QS is lower, it may take more work to learn why - review ad copy for relevance and if there were any changes to landing pages could also help to resolve this.

Other YoY checks should be Ad Copy messaging - is it the same or different and does it seem that this year’s copy was not as effective?

Also, review how the device-related landscape has changed. Maybe you had a bid modifier that reduced mobile bids but Mobile grew in impression share or improved on conversion rate but bids did not reflect this.

Beyond that, did you do anything else - display advertising different remarketing, non-PPC marketing, added or removed product offerings, etc. - that was different to this year and that could have had a material effect on performance?

Action: Adjust your tactics according to what you learn from this assessment and you should see a better performance next time.

Final Tips

Finally, here are some ideas to drive your holiday and sale performance further even if your account has good fundamentals.

Try building up to the holiday through display ads to drive awareness before they start searching. The best way to do this is to target by interest, page topic and audiences like “Similar Audiences” and Remarketing lists.

For the latter, carefully segment for bids, budget and messaging, the audience lists by those who bought during the last sale or holiday and those who have visited but not bought.

When the holiday starts, add Similar Audiences on the highest-converting search campaigns from the year before and bid aggressively for them. They should be more receptive to buying than the wider internet audience.

Also employ RLSA with a particular emphasis on targeting people who made purchases from last year’s holiday and the most recent holiday. Learning which of these two performs best can be a learning opportunity for refining your RLSA for the following sale or holiday.[box]


The great thing about digital marketing is that, due to its data-heavy nature, even if your campaigns don’t do that great on a certain occasion, you can nearly always isolate the cause and not just guess, which gives you the chance to make it better next time.

Reviewing the performance in the above way should keep your account developing in the right direction.
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8 January 2018