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Get Your Holiday Advertising PPC Management Strategy Ready for This 2020 With Microsoft

White Shark Media

4 years ago



Is your Holiday Advertising strategy ready for success? With COVID-19 boosting eCommerce activity, this year’s Holiday Season is expected to be huge! 

A year ago, consumer behavior was experiencing a gradual shift online. This year, given all the Covid-19 precautions, 75% of US consumers are avoiding in-store shopping malls, and 53% are avoiding shops in general, according to Microsoft Advertising.

Expect double-digit growth to online sales for the Holidays

To avoid the myriad of shipping delays experienced this year, 51% of US buyers plan to start their holiday shopping a little earlier this year. Shipping companies such as FedEx, UPS, and USPS have been overwhelmed due to the pandemic’s unprecedented demand. Businesses alike should be preparing for the holiday season, given the unpredictable circumstances ahead. 

As consumers have reported a decrease in income, spending, and savings this year, a survey released in August by McKinsey & Company, claims that spending has increased to Mid March levels. 

Consumer's Reports on Income and Savings

These conflicting reports are not uncommon under challenging times. During the 2008 financial crisis, consumers estimated cutting back 29% of usual spending during the holidays, while retail sales only saw a slight drop of only 4.7% vs. the previous year.

Times have proved that retail sales often do well during the holidays despite shopper’s intent to save.

So, what does this mean for PPC management and holiday advertisers? A whole lot! This holiday season will be different from other years–in an inspiring new way.

First, given the stay at home precautions, it’s predicted that most research will migrate online. To boot, many of those searches should replace in-store shopping with quick and safe online purchases. This shift opens up marketing and closing opportunities for marketers.

This spike in online opportunities will require local and medium e-commerce retailers to step up their game to compete against big companies in the search results pages.

Create a Microsoft Advertising Holiday Marketing Strategy During The New Normal

Consumer Trends To Consider For Your PPC Holiday Strategy

To combat the chaos of these new times, we’ve pulled together some stats to consider in your holiday business strategy plan. If you’d like to read more about the shifts caused by COVID-19, read our Consumer Trends blog released earlier this year.


To stay safe, expect consumers to lean into online shopping across industries. This trend will make your online marketing strategy and the strategy for PPC agencies critical for this high holiday season. Additionally, it’s impossible to predict how this will affect the markets long term, so having a presence online may also prepare your business for the years ahead.

Microsoft Holiday Advertising PPC Management Strategy


Data shows that 68% of consumers will research items online before purchasing. Users will be on the lookout for brands and product options while also verifying if stores are stocked. PPC agencies leverage Search campaigns to capture users in this upper funnel and guide them through the stages that lead to a sale.

Microsoft Advertising Holiday Checklist - Banner


As Microsoft Advertising reports that “buy online pick in-store” (BOPIS) searches have skyrocketed, we can assume that contactless shopping is here to stay. eMarketer predicts this “BOPIS” format revenue will increase by 60% in 2020.

Curbside pickups are another format that is increasing. It will be increasingly crucial to include these services and highlight them within your holiday marketing ads.

BOPIS Searches In 2020

A Holistic Holiday Advertising Strategy for Your Microsoft Ads

The first thing that will contribute to successful PPC management of holiday campaigns will be to ensure your account settings are in order. Make it a point to confirm you have the proper tracking, create your audience lists, and claim your domain in the Bing Webmaster Tool to get your site indexed.

Having these things in order will secure the effectiveness of your holiday PPC strategy across platforms.

Microsoft Advertising has released several new products to enhance your Holiday marketing campaigns. We mention a few of them in this blog, but you can always find a complete list of items to revise in our Microsoft Advertising Holiday Checklist.

Search Campaigns

As you put together your search campaign optimizations, consider holiday shoppers research across devices and during irregular hours of the day. Some adjustments that will go a long way include:

  • Make your ads more visual and informative than usual.
  • Leverage action extensions, multi-image extensions, and flyer text ads extensions to give users a better idea of your products.
  • Highlight trending services such as contactless shopping.

Microsoft Advertising Flyer Text Ads and Multi Image Extensions

Your bidding strategy should focus on featuring your ads on top positions of the SERPs. You can increase bids for top-performing keywords and audiences.

Audience Campaigns

Audience campaigns are ideal for creating brand awareness and remarketing to past website visitors, shopping cart abandoners, and converting customers. Separate each of your ad groups according to the customer’s type to achieve a customized message for each.

Select high-quality images that don’t include watermarks or logos, compliant with Microsoft Advertising image size policies. The platform’s recommended dimension is 1200 x 628 pixels. However, it is always better to upload an image per size.

Shopping Campaigns

First things first, set up your product feed and merchant center correctly so that Microsoft Advertising Shopping campaigns are set up and optimized. Find a more detailed Holiday Marketing Guide on our checklist!

When you launch a Microsoft Advertising shopping campaign, make sure to enable local inventory ads. This feature will showcase your products to nearby shoppers.

Also, highlight contactless pick-up options (Curbside Pick-Up Badges), promotions, and special features to draw attention.

Microsoft Advertising Curbside Pick Up Badges

PPC agencies will focus on bidding on top-performing products and audiences (in-market or remarketing). Be sure you are doing the same to get the biggest bang for your buck.

A Note on What’s Expected

We are experiencing a current shift in consumer behavior while still preparing for the season we all know to be a hit.

Download our checklist and take the steps we’ve mentioned in this blog to create some strong campaigns for the holiday season. These PPC management strategies will contribute to your business shortly and for the permanent changes ahead that can be brought on by a temporary contactless period.

Microsoft Advertising Holiday Checklist - Banner