PPC & Media

The Ultimate Holiday PPC Checklist – Check It Twice!


We all know the lyrics to Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town. I can hear you humming “he’s making a list and checking it twice”. Well, that is the very theme of this post. We’re kicking November off with the ultimate holiday PPC checklist to make sure “you better watch out, you better not cry” when it comes to your PPC campaigns this holiday. Get everything prepped and ready to go, to master this holiday season. We know little fires are bound to arise during the next few months, but the more prepared you are can directly affect your bottom line when it comes to managing PPC campaigns.

If you happened to miss our post in August about prepping for your holiday PPC campaigns, it’s now or never. The below list assumes you’ve already dialed in your holiday PPC strategy.

Holiday PPC Checklist

  1. Campaign Goals Identified – You’ve already outlined your holiday PPC goals and projected total revenue, conversions etc. so you’ll be able to trend performance against your estimated targets.
  2. Marketing Calendar – Depending on your brand, you could be offering a new promo every day from Black Friday to the New Year. Promotions aren’t always discount related, so make sure your marketing calendar includes details into January. We know things change and they will depending on your sales/inventory, so be prepared to adjust.
  3. Special Holiday Campaigns Built – If you’re launching specific holiday campaigns with time sensitive keywords or adding holiday keywords to your campaigns, make sure these are already built out and ready to go.
  4. Ad Text Messaging Prepped – Whether you’re manually updating your ad copy throughout the holiday using AdWords Editor or using Automated Rules to pause and launch new messaging, make sure all ad tex variations are approved and ready to go.
  5. Display Banners Prepped – Hopefully your creative team has already been briefed with the banners you need and you’ll be ready to upload everything well in advance so you don’t run into slow ad approvals over the holidays. Have someone on standby if you need new banners created throughout the holiday.
  6. Holiday Budgets – Have your PPC budget outlined by day/week and watch spend levels like a hawk to get the most out of your holiday season. Double check your fiscal year budgets to confirm you’ve got the correct amount to spend, also checking to see if there’s an unused budget (Unused budget? What’s that?)
  7. Mobile Bid Strategy – Keep a close eye on your mobile CPCs as traffic and competition from mobile will increase over the holiday shopping season.
  8. Campaign Settings – Ensure your campaign settings are tightly targeted, so you aren’t spending dollars getting traffic from Japan if you can’t ship to Japan.
  9. Monitor Competitors – We aren’t sure what it is about the holidays, but competitors start breaking the rules (more than normal). Monitor your retailers, affiliates, and true competitors to make sure everyone is playing nice.
  10. Automated Reporting Setup – If you’re normally doing monthly reporting that means weekly reports for the holidays or if weekly reports is the norm, that could turn into daily reporting depending on your business model. Get your automated reports setup now, so you’ll have more time to analyze the data and make changes to your campaigns, rather than wasting time building a new report.
  11. Credit Card Check – Make sure the credit card attached to your accounts isn’t about to expire, also be sure you have a backup credit card on your accounts just in case. If your accounts are on monthly invoicing, make sure you’re up to date and there aren’t any past due invoices. You don’t want your campaigns to pause during your most profitable season!
  12. Contact List – Just in case you need to get ahold of your PPC team, make sure you have everyone’s cell phone numbers.
  13. Bonus #13 – 2014 & Beyond – If your fiscal year aligns with the calendar year, do you have 2014 budgets confirmed starting January 1? If you’re in the midst of next year’s planning, be sure you’ve outlined budget for the month of January at the very least.


If you’re able to check all these items off your holiday PPC checklist, you’ll be golden for the holidays and will be ready to tackle all that comes your way. Black Friday is 23 days away, what other PPC items do you have on your checklist? Let us know if we missed any, even though we did “check it twice”.

Heather Benson

Heather Benson - Senior Account Manager

Heather is another one of those Portland transplants from the bay area. She's been in the SEM world for 6 years now and is all about delivering results for clients. Heather's most recent adventures include parenting an adorable goldendoodle puppy named Dunckley.

2 Responses to “The Ultimate Holiday PPC Checklist – Check It Twice!”

  1. SearchCap: The Day In Search, November 6, 2013

    […] The Ultimate Holiday PPC Checklist – Check It Twice!, SwellPath […]


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