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The focus of this week’s PPCChat discussion was on crafting effective PPC strategies for the upcoming holiday season tailored to eCommerce, B2B, and small businesses, as well as addressing the challenges PPC professionals face during this peak period. Here is the screencap of the entire session hosted by Julie F Bacchini

Q1: What type of PPC are you working in right now (Ecomm, B2B, B2C, Small Business, etc.)?

Retail, Travel, and Public Sector. not a lot of ecom around here. @JuliaVyse

B2B SaaS demand gen. @kytaylor88

Lead gen is my area. B2B and B2C. Some small biz in there too. @NeptuneMoon

B2B SaaS, Lead Gen and Affiliate. @BrandonCoward

B2C: healthcare series A startup. About to raise series B. Patient booking. B2C: mortgage company (established multi-billion $ business). Lead gen. B2B: packaging manufacturing. large, well-established business. Lead gen. @Austin_Dillman

I love seeing so many lead gen PPCers here! Guess we are not all up to our eyeballs in BFCM work @NeptuneMoon

Nearly all DTC ecomm, $1M-10M in annual sales (client profile) @teabeeshell

I’m typically B2C ecom, but have been hit with lead gen work this year. @Austin_Dillman

Ecom, DTC and retail brands. A nice health mix of all three. Retail is a fun place to plat in. @duanebrown

Lead gen is what we mainly do but we do some ecom as well. @adwordsgirl

Q2: Ecomm PPCers – What is your strategy for this BFCM, holiday and general Q4 period? Does it vary by platform?

For Google Ads, I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the Demand Gen campaigns I’ve launched this month. It’s difficult to extract direct, attributable value from the campaigns themselves, but there seems to be a “halo” effect on the PMax, Search, and Shopping campaigns run in parallel. @teabeeshell

@teabeeshell Would love to have you share more after the holiday season on your Demand Gen experiences @NeptuneMoon

I too would love to hear more about demand gen. @runnerkik

Same as last year. Put the money where it will be the best spent. A few launched BFCM yesterday. The rest are launching next week. Follow the process. Trust in the process. @duanebrown

@duanebrown I am starting to see real BFCM type offers coming into my email and on social this week @NeptuneMoon

I’d love to hear more about Demand Gen too! @adwordsgirl

Seeing a lot of IG ads with 30% off offers. I think maybe one was 40% and the rest were below 30%. Decent deals but nothing as good as a few years ago. Golden age of deals are over I guess. @duanebrown

Q3: Lead gen and B2B PPCers – What is your strategy for this BFCM, holiday and general Q4 period? Does it vary by platform?

This is the first year I haven’t had clients where I needed to have a separate BFCM/Q4 strategy. We’re continuing on as normal.  @Austin_Dillman

Unless my clients have a proven seasonal need at this time of year, I generally recommend dialing back during this period. @NeptuneMoon

I should say, we do pull back during the holidays though as conversion rates tend to tank. This is true of most holidays, not just Thanksgiving and Christmas. @Austin_Dillman

No BFCM strategy, we’re getting a new report out in market with a press release this week in order to start getting visibility on that before Thanksgiving, but otherwise it’s just continued focused on awareness and building the pipeline. @kytaylor88

Dial back usually. CPCs/CPMs will be too high even for branding campaigns. @BrandonCoward

Although Microsoft Ads tends to do well regardless. @BrandonCoward

In my experience (past lead gen and B2B clients), November through mid-December is a “hibernation” strategy. Sit out the most expensive auctions, when consumers are in a shopping mindset, and launch new initiatives come mid-December when auction pressure releases. @teabeeshell

Social platforms are so crowded with product advertising this time of year. So, if we have been using them for awareness, again I recommend cutting back as there is so much more noise and competition for attention for the next month. @NeptuneMoon

Most lead gen is business as normal; we have cost caps on every account, so- we’ll take what volume is there at or above our efficiency targets and live to fight another day.@DigitalSamIAm

When I worked in the auto industry, it was always a little bit different too. @runnerkik

You had incredible shopping not much buying and some industries. Do you wanna be careful about increase shopping activity and then no follow-through for purchase. @runnerkik

An interesting observation for B2B, though, is that with so many advertisers pulling back budget, I tend to see a drop in CPMs and CPCs for both search and social. @kytaylor88

I’ll put this here too – watch your query reports carefully! Matching gets fuzzier by the week on Google. @NeptuneMoon

Business as usual for the most part and pull back on budgets. @adwordsgirl

Q4: Small business PPCers – What is your strategy for this BFCM, holiday and general Q4 period? Does it vary by platform?

This time of year can be hard on small businesses and those businesses with limited budgets! We try to put the dollars where they will likely have the most impact (certainly all the time, but especially during this period). @NeptuneMoon

Definitely watch for extra search traffic that isn’t always there. I have seen a related product increase volume for categories.. for example, when air fryer and cremi come out, increases certain protein powders. @runnerkik

This year in particular, I am going to keep a close eye on query reports with all of Google’s tomfoolery in matching in 2023! @NeptuneMoon

Therapist volume is up after being home with family. @runnerkik

For SMBs, it’s important to stay true to advertising financial fundamentals. Your acquisition costs don’t have to inflate just because there is more competition across platforms. Use bid/cost caps (Meta) and tCPA (Google) to acquire customers at an affordable clip. It’s not about competing in arms race (with everyone). Discounts erode margins. Design them with pricing in mind to preserve necessary profit. Or design bundles so that AOV increases and margin is preserved. Know your LTV and repeat buying cycles. Build retention strategies to preserve this secondary layer of revenue, and note anomalies in the customer swatch acquired between now and mid-December. Buying behaviours vary widely in this 6-week time frame. @teabeeshell

Q5: What is the biggest challenge, in your opinion, in running PPC during this holiday period?

Dealing with platform outages or issues seems to unfortunately be a big one every year… It’s a good idea to have a plan in place for this. And proactively let clients know it could happen and what your process is when/if it does! @NeptuneMoon

CPCs from competition.Operating with real-time data. Some clients in the past wanted me reacting to the data as it was coming in and adjust budgets/bids on the fly. @Austin_Dillman

On the topic of platform outages… also make sure you have language in your contracts that you are not responsible for platform issues or outages and their potential impact on client sales. @NeptuneMoon

Also, making sure clients keep me aware of inventory shortages. @Austin_Dillman

@Austin_Dillman Real-time data could be thorny this year too as GA4 doesn’t do real-time data…@NeptuneMoon

Yeah, I should say “near” real-time data. @Austin_Dillman

But I’m not dealing with that this year since I don’t have any ecom clients at the moment. @Austin_Dillman

Kinda funny (in a we laugh so we don’t cry) how “ish” so many things are in Google Land now…@NeptuneMoon

It’s patience. Most platforms have an attribution backfill of at least 1 day. Especially in Google Ads, that backfill can extend several days. While it’s often best practice to bid on a 1DC (less, minimal reliance on view-through conversions), some conversions are simply delayed in reporting. This makes intra-day optimizations opaque at best. These days, it’s best to trust the parameters you’ve set, trust in the acquisition strategy set forth, and stick to the plan. There’s nothing worse than pulling down spend on Sat-Sun, only to realize on Monday that Black Friday was (actually) a smash hit. How much revenue was left on the table because of a subjective optimization? @teabeeshell

@Austin_Dillman like minds @teabeeshell

Yep, lots of coaching required on our part to let the client know not to overreact to immediate data. @Austin_Dillman

I did the BFCM for an ecomm client once and I am getting vicarious agita reading these posts now. @NeptuneMoon

For Lead Gen search specifically, I find its difficult to maintain or hit targets (if you haven’t forecasted seasonality impacts). Still hurts when reports show declining performance over the holidays based on lower search volume and search intent. @BrandonCoward

Expectation setting is so important for this time of year for ecomm and non-ecomm accounts. It is really its own animal, so it should not be thought of or reacted to or judged with the same lens or criteria. But if you don’t establish that ahead of time you might be in for headaches. @NeptuneMoon

Also B2B I notice the search queries are a bit odd to your earlier point. @BrandonCoward

@BrandonCoward And those are just the queries you can see @NeptuneMoon

The huge delay in platform data. You would think at this point, the ad platforms would know how to keep up with this annual event. @duanebrown

But do they care if advertisers get real-time data @duanebrown? I think they don’t. They are counting on advertiser FOMO. @NeptuneMoon

Google in general. @AnthonyLloyd

Q6: Anything we can help you with as we head into BFCM and beyond?

Even into the new year, I would still like to hear from the community about success with YouTube-only campaigns as a demand generation lever (or performance lever). Everyone raves about TikTok, but YouTube Shorts has been a thing for a long while now. I’m curious if anyone has been able to merge successes, either porting over creative or eliciting more direct response activity. @teabeeshell

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