Market Trends

Written by Kat Peake October 9, 2019

Boosting Black Friday and holiday sales with Google ads

Back to articles

Christmas shopping 7Getting your end-of-year advertising right is essential for all kinds of businesses. For retailers especially, Black Friday and holiday sales are critical, with some 40% of sales taking place in the last two months of the year. And to succeed in driving sales today, getting your online ads right is an absolute must. Whether they’re shopping online or in-store, today’s customer journey is omni-channel, and consumers depend on online channels. In fact, during the holidays, 84% of shoppers are using their mobile devices to go online for research, price comparison, reviews and inspiration before they make purchase decisions.

Google is one of the main places consumers go to research and discover new products, so it’s a key place to reach holiday shoppers. Which of Google’s powerful ad features should you be using to help drive sales during the holiday period this year? And what should you consider when running your Google ads to make sure you’re getting the most out of your advertising spend?

Keep it local

Retail sales still happen mostly in-store (90% of sales in the US!) Even the youngest shoppers still depend on brick-and-mortar shops, with 55% of Gen Z reporting they plan to do a majority of their holiday shopping in-store. But even when shopping in physical business locations, consumers are looking online for information and inspiration. According to Google, 78% of holiday shoppers turned to online search before going to a store.

Google offers a few features to help your business drive in-store sales.

Local Inventory Ads

sneakersLocal Inventory Ads (LIA) from Google provide shoppers with a way to discover stores near them selling products of interest. They let you turn browsing into buying by showing your products and providing users with information on your store when they search Google nearby. LIA does a great job of responding to customer expectations, since globally, 44% of consumers would like retailers to better communicate about their inventory.

When someone clicks on your LIA ad, they are redirected to a Google-hosted page for your store, called the local storefront, where they can see stock, store hours, directions, and more. With Local Inventory Ads, you can’t set your own radius but, as long as your business is listed, it will appear in searches within a distance set by Google.

Local campaigns

These campaigns are designed to use Google advertising to drive store visits and are available across Google properties including Google Search Network, Maps, YouTube, and the Google Display Network. You provide Google with store locations, campaign budget, and ad assets. Using these inputs, Google’s machine learning technology automatically optimizes bids, ad placements, and asset combinations.


Location extensions

By providing a list of the closest locations to a user at the time of search or inspiration, location extensions are the best way of letting customers know you’re close by and that you have what they’re looking for. Location extensions are leveraged when you run local search ads, which lead users to call or visit your locations.

Use machine learning

Google’s machine learning technology can help showcase your products to the users most likely to be interested in them.

Smart shopping campaigns

With smart shopping campaigns, you can leverage your product catalog to promote your inventory across Google networks. Google’s machine learning takes your product feed and assets to automatically create ads to display across its properties. Google automates ad placement and bidding for maximum conversion value, helping you get the most out of each ad.

Best practices for your holiday search ads

Whatever type of ads you’re running on the Google Search Network, there are some best practices you can put into place to get more out of your holiday ad investment.


Christmas shopping 4

  1. Continue running your high-performing ads throughout the holiday season, but add some holiday-specific ads to the mix to attract holiday shoppers specifically. Make sure you’re using strong CTAs that create a sense of urgency.
  2. Don’t reduce your bid when adding new creative elements to your ad set, which could negatively impact performance.


  1. Use Smart Bidding to optimize your bids in real time. To make this feature work best for you, activate Smart Bidding before Black Friday.
  2. Leverage seasonality adjustments if you anticipate short peaks in your conversion rates. This can be a great tool for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Search coverage

  1. Avoid missing any keywords by leveraging Dynamic Search Ads (DSA) for your website. DSA captures new searches, helping your business find new opportunities.
  2. Try out new search terms for the holidays.

Get your holiday advertising right across networks

BOOK_HOLIDAY_ADSWe’ve seen it proven again and again: online ads work better when brands leverage the strengths of each network to build a strategy that breaks down the silos between them. A strong cross-network strategy is key to reaching consumers through the full funnel and driving conversions during the holiday season, from Black Friday all the way through Christmas. To help you get more out of your holiday ads, we published a step-by-step guide! Download the e-book today.

Subscribe to our Blog

Receive a summary of our new articles once a week