Holiday Advertising Advice from Google NYC HQ

Yesterday I went to a MuteSix digital marketing panel at Google’s headquarters in NYC. I went primarily for the free breakfast and to check out the Google offices, but ended up learning a lot and getting some good advice for my company. These are my notes.


They inexplicably listed my company name as “Nick Gray Media,” which I found funny.

The panel was held in a large room on the 14th floor with approx 40 or 50 seats. I counted 22 attendees. Breakfast was provided including bagels, cream cheese, lots of fresh fruit, coffee and tea and orange juice.

The fresh fruit was my favorite. I ate a lot of berries.
The title of the panel was “Marketing Must Dos this Holiday Season”

People on the panel

  • Steve Weiss, CEO of MuteSix
  • Chad Rubin, CEO and Founder of Skubana
  • Stewart Anderson, CMO of MuteSix
  • Harrison Phillips, MuteSix
  • Neerav Maniklal, Business Development Manager at Google
L to R: Neerav, Harrison, Steve Weiss (CEO), Chad Rubin (CEO), and Stewart (CMO).

Suggestions for the holiday season in Google AdWords

  • Winback campaigns and remarketing campaigns.
  • Day-parting and hour-parting: “Maybe we find that highest value customer is coming to us during Eastern business hours from a desktop. Helps us capture the most qualified candidates.”
  • Neerav: Three buckets of general advice, (1) Keeping the lights on. Holiday traffic is increasing. Make sure your ads continue to run. (2) Meeting your shoppers everywhere, on all platforms. (3) Measuring success.


  • CEO of Mute Six: Video is currently the most important driver of top-of-funnel for new users.
  • Video can be expensive to produce. So brands are working with influencers to help create these videos at low-cost with high impact.
  • “We implemented videos on most of our product pages. We saw a lift of 60% or more.”
  • VIDEO: We’ve talked a lot about it. Google just made a new app called YouTube Director. Easily, with your phone, make a video that is optimized for YouTube. Only for iPhone right now.
  • YouTube: 2nd biggest search engine. We use keyword planner tool within YouTube to drive more traffic. It’s free traffic that ranks really well in Google Organic.

SALES HACK: Allocate false inventory to your sales channel. Creates scarcity which makes urgency and demand. Forces the customer to make the purchase right away.

What are some of the biggest mistakes during holiday season advertising?

  • Not using expanded text ads for your Google Adwords. You get more characters to convey your product to the customer.
  • Price extensions, everyone should be doing this in their Google Adwords.
  • You will have a slower Q4 if you do not increase your ad budgets. CPCs are going to rise, there will be more search traffic, etc.
  • MuteSix CEO: Be careful with affiliate platforms. During the holiday season, they will compete with each other.
  • Example from Chad Rubin: RetailMeNot signed up as an affiliate, they used to give everyone 7% commission, but they changed their plan and moved them down to 2% commission.
  • Don’t forget about multi-channel sales. Physical goods, they are selling on Amazon, Walmart, Jet, etc.

More Key Take-aways

Responsive image sizes. In the past you had to upload many different ad sizes, now you can just do one ad size.

FACT: Nobody buys Christmas ornaments after December 12th. What is the December 12th for your business? Look at historical data, industry trends, etc. KNOW YOUR CALENDAR.

IDEA: Test purchase your competitor’s product. See how it arrives, how they deliver, what their customer newsletter is like, etc.

IDEA: “I look at eCommerce like Monopoly. I want to be all over the board, everywhere, and I want to take up the most space. Consider kitting and bundling as an example of getting in front of your customer more often.”

IDEA: Customer content portals, for example collecting testimonials and more. Give more landing page options.

FACT: Neerav says: We’re now spending 2 minutes or less on our phones. We need to be able to interact with our customers in that way. People check their phones over 150 times per day. 67% of people start their search on one platform, and then complete it on another channel.

Steve Weiss, MuteSix CEO: Remarketing ads should consider that these people already have some brand familiarity.

Chad Rubin from Skubana: I look at the box whenever I buy something and I check the return address to see who does their fulfillment. I actually look it up in Google Maps and sometimes check the Street View. For example, I know Bonobos is at Quiet Logistics.

Crucial Vacuum, this is Chad Rubin’s first website

“On a mobile phone, browsing in the elevator, nobody wants to see dirty vacuum filters as they scroll Facebook. But they did want to see that in Twitter we found.”


  • Try this with a friend or family member. (Nick’s note: Or do a free test with
  • See how long it takes them to sign up or complete a purchase on your site. Time it.

Google: Q4 is a great time to get new customers, and turn them into loyal customers. Brand loyalty transcends a transaction.

NOTE: Ad prices are going to get VERY expensive in Q4. Only at Christmas and into early January will we start to see traditional CPCs.

MY QUESTION: How to go after B2C?

I explained that we’ve been somewhat successful with our B2B ads for team building events in San Francisco with Museum Hack – but we haven’t had success with B2C, because we have lower margins and it’s harder to explain in a short ad.

Their suggestions:

  • Pattern-breaking. Break patterns. Museum Hack is something totally different, need to get people to understand that QUICKLY.
  • Consider Facebook ads, maybe doing more Facebook video to get some brand recognition, then retarget Google Display Network + Facebook ads after they visit the site.
  • B2C ad copy and landing pages should be TOTALLY different than B2B.
  • Google Reviews: Must get these, really helps us in showing up + relevance.

Photos from the 14th floor of Google NYC offices

Breakfast spread: Danishes!
Beverage station outside the event space.
Living wall outside the event space on 14th floor! These plants are all real.
Inside the event space on 14th floor of Google’s NYC HQ
I liked the stage lighting a lot.
Tech stuff: Wireless mics for each speaker, and two huge downstage monitors.
Google uses these Panasonic cameras on the 14th floor. There were 3-4 of them around the space pointed at the stage.
I can’t resist a selfie opportunity. MuteSix CEO, me, and MuteSix CMO
Looking downtown from the Google NYC HQ patio on the 14th floor
Looking west from the Google NYC HQ patio on the 14th floor


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