As an ecommerce marketer, Q4 is as difficult a season as it is important. While more companies are competing for ad space online, a new “Cyber Monday” also seems to appear earlier in the quarter every few years. Singles Day anyone? Once the time-crunch cycle of holiday promotions, fire drills, and last minute optimizations begins, it becomes increasingly difficult to find adequate time to ensure your ads are effectively reaching your target market.

Due to these competing factors, it is important to lay a foundation for the Q4 holiday season, especially within Google Shopping.

Google Shopping During The Holidays

Google Shopping has increased in importance over the past few years and is an area of digital marketing that deserves your attention. Because Titles act as the keywords for these ads, it is essential that they are optimized to ensure that they hit your core audience for each product.

Shopping Titles can be both a science and an art. Just as some keywords attract searchers who are more or less likely to convert, certain copy also will inspire better interactions than other copy. A/B tests act at the intersection of copy creativity and search results data analysis, allowing us to test new ideas and make informed decisions.

Setting Up Your Test

We explore setting up Shopping A/B tests with more detail here, but follow these steps as a quick refresher:

  • Brainstorm an opportunity for an impactful test; the more products impacted within the feed, the better.
  • Identify the least common denominator field for products that you want to test, this will be used to apply the test to a wide range of products.
  • Ensure that you have fields to house the test – this can be unused custom_labels or newly created unique_id and ab_test fields.
  • Run an IF, THEN function to generate a unique_id for each product within this group.
    • Be sure generate the unique_id off of each product’s ID field
  • Break out your new unique_ids evenly, using the begins_with function.A/B Testing in Google Shopping for Q4 Holiday Season
    • Tag one group of these ids as a control group and one as a test group.
Edit Your Titles

Once your products are broken out, it’s time to edit your Titles using your ab_test field. You can do this through the following steps.

  • Write an IF function that involves the test group identified in ab_test.
    • IF [title] contains ‘aquamarine’ AND [ab_test] equal ‘color_test’
  • Write a THEN function that changes this test group.
    • THEN replace (‘aquamarine, ‘blue’, [title])
  • Finally, and this is important, leave the control group alone.
Allow Your Test Time to Run

Now it’s time to allow the products to accrue data over a set time period. One month is typically sufficient, but for higher priced or high Average Order Value products, consider using a longer time period as single purchases can sway results to a greater degree.

Analyze Your Results

After the products have accrued enough data to reliably drive decision making, download the results for your ads in Google Reports and break out your product test group in Excel using VLOOKUPs. Perform PoP and Lift analyses to ensure that your results are evenly weighted, then make a decision according to which KPIs matter most to your account.

A/B Testing in Google Shopping for Q4 Holiday Season

For us, this is most often Return On Investment (ROI). However, for growth-oriented accounts Revenue and Clicks may be your top priority. Regardless, due to the typical increase in searches and clicks during the holidays, we recommend placing additional emphasis on ROI when planning for Q4.


A time investment in Q3 can deliver great returns in Q4. Keep in mind that multiple Google Shopping A/B tests can be run at once, and when testing on different product groups there are no new steps required when running additional tests. If started early enough in Q3, data can be accrued and analyzed just in time to implement final decisions for Q4.

If you have more questions on setting your feed up for success during the holidays or anything else in the Google Merchant Center, our product feed experts are here to help.