PPC Study Tips for Back To School

Is your paid search program ready for the back to school season? Here are 10 study tips to make your program successful this year!

Start early!

Schools are starting earlier and earlier, and with more high school students using summer to get ready for their first semester in college, searchers are starting to look for sales and value as early as August.

Back To School Searches Over Time:

Back to school searches over time

You might be surprised to see interest in Back To School starting as early as July last year and June this year. Hopefully you’re already geared up and ready to go!

End later than planned

This might seem eerily similar to the advice above, but look at where the search interest ends. Your customers are still thinking about Back To School all the way into September. So think about unplanned purchases, and ad copy that reassures a busy shopper who suddenly needs an unexpected item. Then set an end date closer to late September.

Make ads for your audience

This isn’t just for Back To School, but it’s very important at this time of year. If your program is focused on school supplies, you might be talking to a parent rather than a child. If your aim is to get a service to new college students, write for a young adult away from home for the first time. And hey, profs are shoppers too!

Think about who will buy your product and write your ad copy and landing page copy for them.

Match Ads with Landing Pages

When promoting your specials, coupons and sales, make sure your landing page copy matches your ads. CPCs are high enough without a ding on the Quality Score to push them even higher!

Combine Sales, Value Prop & Promos

Back To School sales are eye-catching, and definitely highly competitive search terms, but sometimes people need more than a coupon. Talk about what makes your products valuable and mention promos along with your brand promise. Now is the time to talk about Free Shipping (always on) and the discount offer (right now).

Start Bidding for High Positions

You may have a bid position strategy for the year, but at a high priority time of year like Back To School, aim for getting higher in search results. Just remember to be ready to bring the bids back down to earth when the promo ends.

Shopping Campaigns

If your program is focused on retail, definitely bump up your Shopping campaigns on Google and Bing. Edit your headlines and descriptions to discuss Back To School sales – and make sure to tie that back to the landing page connected to your Shopping campaigns.


Back To School is a perfect time to reach out to people who have visited your site – specifically your category pages – and remind them to give you a try. Split test visits to the website vs visits to the pages that feature items that are now on sale, and test promo copy designed for previous visitors.

Day Parting (not minute parting)

During a high priority time like Back To School, keep an eye on when you make the most sales. If you have data from last year, even better! With a roughly 12 week period, you don’t need to overanalyze and in fact, you could do harm to your account with hour-to-hour bid adjustments. Look for peak sales times, and high cost/low conversion times and bid accordingly. Then get back to monitoring your SQRs and ad copy.


Here’s the thing about Gmail Sponsored Promotions : they work. Offer a back to school promo to people on the lookout for sales, and invite them to forward the promo to other busy shoppers they know, just like an email. Target people who receive emails about your products (make sure to exclude your own domain). Remember, the keyword targeting for a GSP is related to keywords in received emails, not the whole search ecosystem.


Get yourself a pumpkin spice latte, you just rocked Back To School this year!

Julia Vyse
When not in the Adwords UI, Julia can be found in jazz clubs and music festivals listening to music, celebrating music, writing about music and generally enjoying music. Possibly as a result, she is not a morning person.