According to the National Retail Federation, 30% of sales for retailers occur during the end-of-year shopping season, so it is important for retailers to adjust their strategy to make sure they do not miss out on this important time of year. If that statistic wasn’t convincing enough, year-over-year Q3 online sales increased 13% to $47.5 billion in 2013, furthering the need for a strong digital strategy. In order to capitalize on the heightened search volume and sales, it is important to anticipate and adjust tactics for these spikes in volume.

With less than two weeks before shipping cut-off dates for Christmas, it is crucial to take advantage of the time you have left this season. Hopefully you’ve already taken the advice from our Seasonal Best Practices for Retailers, but if not, here are 4 tips to help you profit from the holiday traffic a last minute bump.

1. Analyze historical data 

Assessing last year’s Q4 performance is a good place to begin. A lot has changed in the digital landscape with the introduction of enhanced campaigns and an increase in mobile traffic, but historical performance can shed light on what promotions resulted in the largest lifts and what budget changes are necessary to support the volume. Identifying these opportunities is the first step to seasonal success.

2. Boost bids for key dates and times 

Historical performance data can help you anticipate this year’s seasonal performance so that you can stay proactive. Once you have identified historical trends and understand the expected performance, you should incorporate these learnings into your bidding and budgeting strategies. Boosting bids on high-traffic keywords on key days or times of day can help you capture additional conversions. A dayparting strategy can be automated in Kenshoo through Scheduled Actions so you don’t have to work around the clock over the holidays.

3.  Create alerts

It is also important to remember that your campaigns do not live in a vacuum, but instead reside in a vibrant marketplace where competitors are actively attempting to lure away your potential customers. Leading up to Christmas, retailers will be aggressively changing their ad copy and promotions in attempts to capture searchers’ attention.

It is important that you are aware of these market changes and their impacts on your campaigns. Creating alerts for top performing keywords or campaigns that will notify you if daily performance drops below a certain threshold (maybe use last year’s data as a benchmark) can help you stay vigilant on any ad copy or bid changes that may be needed.

 4. Set budgets at the portfolio level 

Last but not least, is the need to ensure that budgets are set to appropriately support heightened search volume. In an ideal world, you would not need to apply budget caps, but instead be able to continue to spend as long as you were within a set efficiency goal. For many advertisers this is not an option; budgets do exist and managing to them is critical.

It can be difficult to not limit your campaigns’ by setting too stringent of caps on days where there is more volume and/or potential. The best way to avoid this is to manage spend by keyword-level bids. This is a difficult task for a human but a bid policy that optimizes across a portfolio of campaigns can help ensure that you spend where you will see the most return. Kenshoo Portfolio Optimizer (KPO) offers an automated approach to assist with this task. KPO can also help guard against budgeting so that you have unspent budget on some campaigns while high-performing campaigns cap out.

Despite the passing of Cyber Monday, there is still time left in the year to take advantage of the seasonal lift. Take time now to verify that your seasonal strategy includes historical insights, accounts for competitive influences and is budgeted for properly. Happy optimizing!