HomeBlogThe Ultimate Holiday Text Ad: How to Optimize Your PPC Ads for the Holidays

The Ultimate Holiday Text Ad: How to Optimize Your PPC Ads for the Holidays

Author: Jeff Stevens
Last Updated: December 4, 2022 | Paid Search Marketing

As the holiday season approaches (very quickly), paid search advertisers should be well aware of the fact that their search and display campaigns are going to need some extra love to take advantage of the pure insanity of the holiday rush.

The holiday season is a time when quick, impulse-driven purchases are at their peak, and it is absolutely imperative that advertisers take time to optimize their PPC campaigns to accommodate holiday shoppers and ensure that their ads are being triggered, drawing attention and driving clicks. One of the core strategies that will support these goals is optimizing your text ads for the holiday season.

This post will discuss three key factors to focus on while editing ad text, with tips on how you can model your own text ads after some of the most effective (and successful) ads from the big guys (think: Target, Pottery Barn, L.L. Bean, Kohl’s, etc.).

Below is a quick outline of what we’ll be reviewing in this post.

Three Key Areas of Focus for Ad Text

1. Incorporate Holiday Messaging and Language

2. Implement Seasonal Promotions and Special Offers

3. Optimize for Clicks

Let’s start by discussing holiday messaging.

1. Incorporate Holiday Messaging and Language

Advertisers need to create new (or modify pre-existing) text ads to incorporate language and messaging geared toward holiday shoppers/searches. Creating unique, targeted holiday ad text is going to help your ads stand out from the crowd of robotic-sounding text ads that typically dominate the SERPs.

My message to you: DO NOT BE AFRAID TO GET CREATIVE! (Just be sure to stay within Google’s text ad policy guidelines.)

Inventive, playful and positive ad text consistently performs well, even outside of the holiday period. If you haven’t tried to flex your creative ad text muscles before, now is a perfect time to give it a shot. For a good example of a more unique text ad, check out this ad from Kohl’s that showed up on the query “fleece jackets”:

Holiday Text Ads

As you can see, the top description line has been modified to include some cheery holiday messaging. This is a great example of creativity being combined with targeted messaging.

Remember, depending on your consumer focus, your ad text messaging should change. Here are some quick ideas to consider if you fall into any of these three business categories:

  • E-Commerce: Emphasize the giving and whimsical spirit of the season, ability to avoid going to crowded stores by shopping online, guaranteed in-stock messaging, etc.
  • Consumer Services: Emphasize holiday specials/unique holiday-specific services or temporary seasonal changes to your offering.
  • Business-to-Business (B2B): Emphasize time-sensitivity, year-end deals/availability, etc.

2. Implement Seasonal Promotions and Special Offers

Updating or creating new text ads that incorporate specific, seasonal promotions and special offers is going to be an absolutely crucial step to take if you are looking to truly entice holiday searchers. Ads that include some sort of promotional offer or extra incentive to shop with the advertiser consistently perform well, largely because you are already providing some sort of messaging that differentiates you from the competitors.

Try to be as specific as possible with your promotional offers, and make sure it is very clear to the searcher how they can act upon your promotion (this extends to properly updating your landing pages as well – we’ll get to that in another post).

Again, depending on your business niche, you may want to think about the different promotions that can apply to your consumer category:

  • E-Commerce: Include coupon codes in ad text, %-off offers, free shipping, free gift box included, guaranteed delivery date, pre-prepared gift sets, etc.
  • Consumer Services: Emphasize last-minute offers for forgetful shoppers, year-end deals, extended offers beyond the holiday season.
  • Business-to-Business (B2B): Year-end deals, new fiscal year offers, extended promotions beyond the holiday season.

Let’s check out some examples:

Query – “Designer Scarves”

Best Holiday PPC Ads

Check out how prominently Ann Taylor’s coupon code and %-off offer are communicated in this ad text. Right away, I know that I’m going to be getting a tremendous discount by shopping with them.

Query – “Holiday Lights”

AdWords for Holidays

I love this ad for a few reasons. First, the entire ad is targeted to holiday shoppers from the display URL all the way down to the description lines. Second, we have a coupon code and %-off offer included. Very nice. Third, the offer is targeted to my “holiday lights” search, but it’s also general enough to communicate that this retailer would be a good place to shop for additional holiday items beyond just holiday lights.

Review the examples above for some ideas on how to incorporate promotions and special offers into your ad text. If you have an offer that, in your mind, your potential buyers need to know about, it should absolutely be incorporated into your ad text.

Here’s a quick list of common offers that are known to attract attention during the holidays:

  • Coupon Codes Included
  • %-Off Offers Included
  • Free Shipping
  • Pre-Wrapped Gift Sets
  • Free Gift Box/Custom Gift Message
  • Guaranteed Delivery Date
  • Guaranteed In-Stock
  • Extended Offers Beyond the New Year
  • Ability to Put Items on Hold

3. Optimize for Clicks (The Ultimate Holiday Text Ad)

Finally, after all of that effort to bling out our holiday text ads, we need to make sure we are giving our text ads the best chance to be clicked. To demonstrate what you need to consider implementing alongside your creative and promotional ad text, let’s use a comprehensive example.

Behold, the Ultimate Holiday Text Ad!

Ultimate Holiday PPC Ad

Let’s look at this ad piece-by-piece.

  • Relevant Keyword/Dynamic Keyword Insertion: A clear, relevant keyword is displayed in the headline. It’s entirely possible that this advertiser was also using dynamic keyword insertion to produce a more targeted ad.
  • Social Media Integration: There is at least SOME level of social media integration with this ad. Connecting your text ads to your company’s Google+ profile improves your ad’s relevancy in Google’s eyes and also opens the door to features like review extensions.
  • Location Extensions: Enable location extensions if you have a store that you would like to drive foot traffic to.
  • Sitelink Extensions: Always try to have sitelink extensions enabled for your ads and, if you can, develop seasonal landing pages/information pages that carry the theme of your original ad, as we see here.
  • Call Extensions: Use call extensions to ensure searches have a quick option to get in touch with you directly.
  • Holiday Messaging: This ad incorporates focused holiday messaging, it’s clear that Pottery Barn offers a smattering of holiday-themed items.

If you put the pieces together and do your homework, your text ads are going to be super stars during the holidays. Bring cheer to your PPC campaigns with these simple ad text improvements, and don’t be afraid to think outside the gift box!

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