17 October 2023

Get your search campaign ready for the holiday season

Pine tree branch

In summary

  • Get ready for the peak season in several ways, including implementing strategies like Auction-Time Bidding (ATB), Seasonality Adjustment, and Ad Group Targets
  • Automate tasks for increased efficiency, such as adopting SA360 templates
  • Plan campaign preparations well in advance of peak seasons to guarantee optimal performance
  • Create a timeline and checklist to ensure you are thoroughly prepared for the upcoming peak season

Peak seasons tend to see a surge in customer demand and sales activity, but this year, the market faces economic challenges. According to surveys, consumers are inclined to purchase fewer items or seek discounts and promotions by switching to more affordable brands or retailers.

Advertisers are grappling with the evolving consumer behaviour, making it essential to adapt. This article aims to guide advertisers in preparing for the peak season using SA360 to capitalise on incoming opportunities.

Here are the top six key considerations in SA360 for the upcoming peak season!

1. Smart Bidding

Smart Bidding encompasses bid strategies that leverage Google AI to optimise for conversions or conversion value in each auction through ‘auction-time bidding’. Target CPA, target ROAS, maximise conversions, and maximise conversion value are all examples of Smart Bidding strategies.

Smart Bidding addresses the challenge of evolving consumer behaviour through three key feature highlights:

Faster reactions via Google Ads auction time bidding

Bidding decisions are made for each auction precisely when the auction occurs. This ensures that the bidding decisions can rapidly respond to sudden changes in performance and ever changing consumer behaviour.


  • Do not turn off Google Ads auction time bidding as all bids will be set to pre-action time levels and performance will be negatively impacted.

Better informed predictions via seasonality adjustments

Input expected change in conversion rates to help inform the bids at the start and end of a sale, giving you greater control to hit your goals.

Optionally, inform the algorithm of the sale’s average discount rate to take this into account as well.


  • Apply seasonality adjustment if predicted conversion rate change is more than 30% for less than 7 days.

  • When calculating predicted conversion rate increase, use click-date attributed conversion stat and be conservative in estimate.

  • Set 20-30% higher than expected daily spend to capture the opportunity from the increase demand, monitor the performance daily.

Precise targeting via ad group targets

Optionally set Ad group level targets* to let SA360 know if any ad group within your portfolio are valued differently. This allows for the system to increase or decrease bid accordingly based on the set ad group target.


  • Review the past 30 days performance and take into consideration conversion delay. If any of the ad group performance is different from the portfolio bid strategy, consider making the changes.

  • If you expect certain ad group to perform better, consider making changes to the ad group target.

In addition to all of the above, advertisers should also consider the following:

  • Distinguishing the value of online and offline customers to provide precise conversion assessments.

  • Establishing the appropriate targets by discerning value and profitability among products and customers, emphasising increased investment in those with the highest margin opportunities.

2. Performance Max

If you plan to employ a Performance Max (PMax) campaign for the upcoming peak season, it’s important to be aware that PMax offers more than just a lower-funnel solution. There are a few key considerations to keep in mind:

  • During the peak season, your usual targeting and goals may shift, and it’s crucial for advertisers to adapt their targeting strategies to capture the heightened consumer demand. Make these target adjustments as early as possible for at least 30 days to meet the growing demand.

  • When setting your budget, target ROI, or any other bidding settings, be sure to account for expected increases in total conversions by factoring in engagement view conversions.

  • If expanding your customer base is one of your primary objectives, there are several methods to establish PMax goals utilising the New Customer Acquisition feature to effectively bid for new clients.

3. Forecasting

By utilising Performance Center’s seasonality-aware forecasting, you can proactively prepare for seasonal spikes in spending. This feature enables a detailed analysis, providing recommendations for daily budget allocations to specific campaigns or campaign groups based on target objectives like ROAS, CPA, Clicks, Conversions, and Conversion Value.

4. Custom budget allocation for seasonality

If you have a preferred spending schedule in anticipation of increased demand, there are ways to allocate custom budget schedules.

Using Performance Center’s custom allocation feature can encourage spend amounts for a particular day or set of days. This feature should be used sparingly to encourage efficiency. For example a one day promotion or sale could fall into your campaign dates and increase spend.

SA360 spend allocation

Another approach is to employ rules for budget allocation management. There are various methods for configuring rules to achieve this goal:

  • Changing the budget based on specific dates or times
  • Changing the budget based on performance metrics, such as increasing the budget when the ROAS reaches 7x.

5. Campaign Management

Templates simplify campaign creation and streamline ad production for promotions, making them ideal for peak seasons that involve dynamic retail promotions. If you need to advertise numerous promotions with prices constantly changing, Templates offer a scalable solution to accomplish this task efficiently.

Three key steps to using Templates:

  1. Linking feed (Google Merchant Center or Non-Retail Feed)
  2. Configuration using updated template setting
  3. Control, adjust and monitor the output

Uses of Templates functions for common scenarios:

  • Pausing advertising activity for items that are out of stock
  • Provide inventory specific messaging on how many units are left in stock
  • Changing promotional price messaging
  • Tailor shipping message based on price or location
  • Create time sensitive sales specific messaging

6. Create a timeline

Creating a timeline is essential to ensure readiness for the upcoming peak season, allowing you to plan, prioritise, and execute tasks effectively. To help guide you through this process, here are the steps for creating a timeline that will prepare you for the peak season:

SA360 Xmas timeline

  1. Create a task checklist
  2. Review bid strategies
  3. Create custom dimensions
  4. Setup your reporting
  5. Ensure your holiday campaign is ready
  6. Plan for seasonality adjustments and ad group targets
  7. Monitor daily performance
  8. Plan your post-peak account transition

Next steps

As we start going into the peak seasons such as Black Friday and Christmas, learn more about how you can leverage SA360 for your search campaigns by getting in touch with the team at Louder.

If you’re interested in other GMP or industry news, head over to the Louder blog or sign up to our monthly newsletter to learn more.

About Daniel Lim

Daniel is a digital ad specialist with multinational experience in paid search and social. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking up meals and Netflix binges keep his fun meter maxed out.