It’s been the biggest shopping season – ever! Are you ending December confident that you’ve hit every business goal you set out to achieve, or even better, that you’ve beat last year’s sales figures? Well done!

And what better way to finish 2019 than to reflect on your recent campaigns and revisit your old strategies? Use this 10-point checklist on how to avoid some all-too-common e-commerce mistakes, so you can start the new year smarter than the average marketer! 

Mistake #1. Overspending on under-performing keywords

The holiday season always generates a huge spike in traffic. If some of your keywords haven’t converted into sales, rethink your pay-per-click (PPC) campaign strategy and save on some ad cash in the process. Look at your initial bid; does it still makes sense for you? If not, lower the bid value and put your budget in areas where you can actually reach your goals. Keep monitoring and tweaking throughout the peak season, so you can make every ad cent count.  

Mistake #2. Not using negative keywords

Used right, negative keywords can work like magic for PPC campaigns, but not all advertisers know how to take full advantage of them. Stay ahead of your competition and learn how to specify terms where you don’t want your ads to display. 

Get in front of only those customers performing searches that are most relevant to you! By utilising the negative keywords feature, you can save on your precious PPC dollars, as well as improve on your clickthrough rate and get closer to making a sale.

Mistake #3. Not experimenting with keyword match settings

Advertising tools like Google Ads allow you to set up two types of keyword matches: exact match and phrase match. For an exact match, your ad is triggered when the exact keyword is searched. Phrase match, on the other hand, also considers close variants of the keyword.

Do some testing around these settings, so you can gain more qualified leads and filter out irrelevant traffic – a very useful tactic around the holidays, when PPC costs tend to rise due to increased competition.

Mistake #4. Not personalising ad copy

What message is your brand sending to your audience? Does it make you stand out from the competition? Use personal pronouns and keywords that create a sense of urgency among shoppers.

For example, you can put up a countdown widget on your site for discount promotions and limited-time codes or coupons. This holiday season, did you incorporate into your PPC campaigns top keywords surrounding seasonal trends?

Mistake #5. Relying too much on automated shopping campaigns

One basic rule of marketing: There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all strategy. It simply doesn’t work.

If you’re new to digital advertising, you might be tempted to automate your campaigns and let machine learning do the job for you. Sure, adjusting bids for seasonality might work in some cases, but you know your business best and only you know what works for you. Keep a close eye on what bid goes where, so that you yourself can track, tweak, and fix it, instead of just relying on software to do it for you.

Mistake #6. Poor audience targeting

This holiday season, it’s about local shoppers browsing, comparing products and prices, and ultimately buying – all on their mobile devices. And don’t forget about consumers looking to make quick purchases and grabbing last-minute gifts! How did 2019 shopper trends influence your advertising strategy?

Mistake #7. Not grouping seasonal ads

Organising seasonal ads into their unique groups will make things easy for you, especially over the busy holidays when you can’t give every single campaign as much personal attention as you would like

Simply by grouping your ads, you can collectively optimise the lot and get them ready for SEO success. Plus, you will likely be able to use these same ad groups in the future, with just a few tweaks to suit current trends.

Mistake #8. Not using dynamic remarketing

A shopping season as busy as this year’s demands more than just your garden-variety retargeting. Customise your ads with dynamic remarketing, to remind past visitors about products they once viewed on your website. Play around with a few ad layouts, button colours, and calls to action and see what brings you the most traffic.

Mistake #9. Ignoring ad extensions

Ad extensions, which are displayed below or beside the actual advertisement, are designed to boost your clickthrough rates and improve your search engine ranking. Choose from sitelink extensions, callout extensions, location extensions, and more, depending on your current ad needs.

Sitelink extensions, for instance, are the most common. They are used to drive visitors to specific pages on your website, all within the same PPC ad. Your average PPC cost remains the same for a bigger piece of real estate in SERPs, thus, improving your chances of converting.

Mistake #10. Making last-minute changes to your website

Ideally, planning for a holiday campaign is done months in advance, as it will give you time to test, experiment, and iterate. Making trial-and-error assessments on your website or your PPC campaigns just when your traffic is at its peak is tricky and will cost you valuable revenue. Instead, do your homework early, so you can bring your A-game and lose no sales opportunities when shoppers are in the mood to buy.


Did any of these 10 common mistakes hurt your revenues over the holiday rush? Keep this checklist handy and never miss out on seasonal traffic again. Let’s have a chat about how we can get your e-commerce strategy in fantastic shape for this year!

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