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Are you ready for the Q4 Retail Peak?

October 12, 2023
Niki Grant
written by Niki Grant
Retail Feature

Are you ready for the higher search volumes and demand this Q4? Use our Q4 Retail Readiness checklist to get your Microsoft Ads account set up for success, and make the most of this year’s festive season.

And so, in the blink of an eye, Q4 is upon us! Most channel and budget planning will (hopefully!) have happened a while ago, but now we’re closing in on the festive season, it’s time to look at the nitty gritty of our strategies, and start thinking about implementation. 

Paid search is often a key revenue-driven channel, given the high levels of intent shown by customers, and the highly-accountable costs, so it’s no surprise that many brands rely on their Search campaigns to boost end-of-year sales. 

With rising query volumes (27% query volume increase YoY during June, with similar expected in Q4), and low CPC forecasts for this year, Microsoft Ads offers a fantastic incremental opportunity for brands looking to scale their activity. 

We might not have Christmas trees up quite yet, but the key to success is early preparation. We’ve compiled a monthly Microsoft roadmap for Q4 to get you on the right track for festive success, and making the most of the gifting season. 

Firstly: Nail the Basics. 

Here, we’re talking about the features that are needed for data, insights, and foundational success. 

  • Make sure your UET is implemented and configured to record conversions, and collect remarketing audiences
  • Apply pre- built and remarketing audience segments to campaigns as ‘Bid-Only’ to identify high-performing audiences
  • Prepare your Shopping feeds through the Bing Merchant Centre, or import from Google. 

September and October are all about testing and getting ahead. Figure out what works and what needs tweaking ahead of higher search demand, and ensure your campaigns have solid foundations for the coming months. 


  • Make the most of available formats; the use of Dynamic Search Ads indicates higher conversion rates, whilst advertisers with higher Shopping spends enjoy higher traffic volumes and conversion performance. 
  • Test Shopping campaign structures based on audience, query, product category or profitability for hands-on management
  • Test Smart Shopping for a time-saving approach for multiple SKUs
  • Build and test a through-the-funnel approach with Microsoft’s Audience Network; customers who see both search and Audience Network ads are 8.1x more likely to convert!
  • Implement Dynamic Remarketing for a up to a 37% lower CPA, and 147% higher conversion rate
  • Remember to join the Microsoft Ads Performance Max beta! 

Get ahead: 

  • Use the Microsoft Audience Network to lay upper-funnel foundations, and grow remarketing lists
  • Ensure goals and parameters are prepared for bid strategies to work at their best
  • Update seasonal messaging to promote product benefits, delivery & returns, and offers

November and December have the highest volumes, so for the end of the year the focus should be on ensuring coverage across this higher level of opportunity. 

  • Use Shared Budgets to allow higher-volume campaigns to serve for longer rather than being hindered by campaign budgets
  • Promote ‘buy now, pay later’ options to support cash-conscious consumers during this expensive season
  • Ensure gift cards are included within your shopping feed for those gifters who have left things a little late!
  • Don’t forget holiday travel; expect uplifts for queries regarding hosting, party decor and supplies, as well as home security. 

And there you have it – a roadmap for seasonal success on Microsoft Ads. If you’d like to receive our full Q4 Retail Readiness guide, please email us at, and one of our elves will get back to you. 

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