Holiday Remarketing: Last Minute Tips for Procrastinators

by Aden Andrus December 10, 2018

During this year’s holiday shopping season, consumers are projected to spend around $120,000,000,000 online. That’s a lot of zeros. With 40% of holiday spending happening in the 10 before Christmas, that means there’s still a lot of money left on the table.

So, even if you didn’t quite make the most of Black Friday or Cyber money, it’s not too late to try and get in on the holiday action.

To do that, however, you need to be able to beat the competition—who already has a leg up on you—at their own game. One of the best ways to do this is with remarketing. Now, you might be thinking, Remarketing, don’t I need a lot of prep time to build a remarketing list? How am I supposed to pull together an effective remarketing campaign in a day?

Fortunately for you, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’re going to look at a few ways to build a holiday remarketing campaign overnight. Not all of these tactics are best practices, but at this point, the time for “ideal” is over. Now it’s time for quick and dirty. Let’s dive in.

1. Start Now

If you know anything about remarketing (if not, check out this article), you know that putting together a remarketing list takes time. Remarketing lists are built by placing cookies in the browsers of people who visit your website. Once you have enough users tracked in your remarketing pixel, you can then run ads to them using Google Ads or Facebook Ads.

Unfortunately, unless your website gets thousands of visitors a day, that means building a meaningful remarketing list will take weeks or months. At this point, that’s time you simply don’t have.

Now hopefully, you set up your remarketing pixels a long time ago and have a huge remarketing list that you haven’t been taking advantage of. If that’s the case, just skip down to points 4 and 5. If you haven’t set up your remarketing pixels, check out this guide we wrote on setting up remarketing and get started today! It might not make a big difference this year, but by next holiday season, all you’ll have to worry about is what to do with your massive remarketing list.

2. Expand on What You Have

If you don’t happen to have a pre-existing remarketing list handy and it’s going to take some time to put one together, you’ll have to make the most of what you do have. If you happen to have even a small email list, you can use that to build a highly targeted audience. It’s not quite as good as remarketing, but it’s a pretty good backup option.

To create this targeted audience, you’ll need to use lookalike audiences in Facebook Ads and similar audiences in Google Ads.

The great thing about lookalike and similar audiences is the fact that you only need 100 matching emails to build an audience. Obviously, the more matching emails you have, the better, but with this approach, you can put together a relevant audience for your campaigns from even a small list of existing customers.

With similar audiences, Facebook and Google identify users who are very similar to the people on your list, which makes them much more likely to buy than a random audience built from characteristics you think are associated with your customers.

The bad news is, of course, is that this audience isn’t familiar with your business or your brand, so you’re basically starting from scratch. The good news, however, is that this audience probably wants what you have to sell and is looking to buy (it is the holiday season, after all), so if you can set up an effective marketing campaign, you stand a good chance of convincing them to buy from you (more on that in a minute).

3. Broaden Your Horizons

When it comes to remarketing, most people think of Google Ads and Facebook Ads…and for good reason. Both of these platforms are massive and have huge remarketing potential. But, they aren’t the only remarketing options out there.

If you want to get scrappy with holiday remarketing, however, it pays to look beyond these two platforms. While Google and Facebook are certainly the biggest marketing gorillas in the room, many other sites like eBay, Twitter, Bing and Reddit also offer ways to stay in front of your target audience.

For many businesses, looking for options outside of Google and Facebook during the holiday shopping season can be a game-changing move. Most of your competitors are focusing their time and efforts on Google and Facebook, so if you can find a way to get scrappy and target your audience on other platforms that they frequent, you may be able to run ads without having to fight with the competition.

As a final plus, since the holiday season is a high-traffic, high-purchasing intent time of year, the holiday season is a great time to quickly test out a new marketing platform. If a new channel works during the holidays, it will probably work during the rest of the year, too!

4. Scale Up Your Offers

Since we’re pretty late into the holiday shopping season, everyone is under a lot of pressure. You need to drive more sales and your customers need to get affordable gifts before Christmas.

Fortunately, if you play it right, this can actually work out to your advantage.

Discounts are always a good remarketing tactic, but during the holidays, they’re particularly compelling. Now that being said, since your audience is in a rush to get their gifts, you don’t have to start with the biggest discount you can offer. Even if you can afford to offer 10% off and free shipping, you don’t have to offer all of that up front. People need quick gift solutions, so if you offer a 10% discount on something they’re looking to buy, there’s a good chance that they’ll jump at the opportunity.

If that doesn’t work, you can offer free shipping. If they still don’t buy, you can then offer both free shipping and 10% off. That way, you can scale up your offers and advertise something new that will catch people’s eye while simultaneously increasing the likelihood that people will buy at something other than your maximum offer.

5. Focus on the Whole Funnel

With Christmas right around the corner, you might be tempted to set up for campaigns that go straight for the kill. You want people to buy from you, so why not focus your ads on, you know, getting people to buy?

The problem is, that approach doesn’t always work—even during the holiday rush.

Even during the holidays, lots of people like to research before they make a purchase. They have questions, concerns or other hindering factors that keep them from making a purchase right away. If you can address those concerns and help them feel more comfortable with your remarketing campaigns, they will be a lot more likely to buy.


Obviously, holiday remarketing works best with prep time, but there are ways to put together a last minute holiday remarketing campaign. With the tips in this article, you can still create something that will deliver value for your business this Christmas season.

At this point, anything is better than nothing, so get started and put something together today! By the way, if you’d like help putting together remarketing campaigns, either for the holiday season or the future, let me know here or in the comments. I’d love to help!

How do you approach holiday remarketing? Do you have any tips you’d add for last-minute remarketing campaigns? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

  • Ecommerce

Aden Andrus

Aden Andrus

Over his career, Aden has developed and marketed millions of dollars of successful products. He lays awake at nights figuring out new marketing tactics and is constantly upping Disruptive's internal marketing game. He loves to write, dance and destroy computer monitors in full medieval armor.

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