SEO

5 Holiday Season Signals To Avoid & Learn From

Digging Deeper Into Holiday Season Numbers

Smart marketers don’t always follow the rules. Sure there are best practices, but every once in a while there is an exception to every rule, and consequently a learning to be had. I’m referring to the wacky, crazy, and intense holiday season which demands best practices and tweaks to be implemented with a twist for the maximum bang for your buck.

I’m a big believer in the little tweaks that make the difference now, rather than the big fixes that take effect later, when it comes to any optimization campaigns for the holiday season. Seasonality affects every industry, but it’s important to be cognizant of the impact of any big changes any form of optimization can have, in a time when good positioning is critical. In a classic risk vs. return scenario, many a marketer will try to optimize it all, or understand the wrong signals that are an effect of seasonality to be a defining trend for the year.

Here are 5 common and sometimes counter-intuitive holiday season anamolies that might sound odd at first, but aren’t at all:

1. Day Parting Saves Cash and Increases Click Volume

Turning your ads off at 4am in the morning makes sense during the rest of the year, but might be a bad bad idea during the Christmas season. Why? Simply because folks shopping this time of year don’t follow regular shopping patterns. Chances of a search to find that ‘Wii game’ or ‘Pokemon Toy Set’ are pretty good even at 4am in the morning.

2. Call Tracking Trumps Leads Through Contact Form Data

I’ve heard this from a couple of my own clients – Dev, why would I care about someone’s email address if I knew all of their call tracking data? Well for one, an email list presents the opportunity of multiple offers being delivered by email. Just look at Newegg, TigerDirect, or any other popular e-tailer to get an idea of what I’m talking about.  Call tracking numbers are great to understand markets and customer service levels, but they aren’t exactly going to help you sell more in peak holiday sales season.

3.  Ignore The Long Tail and Go BIG on Buyer Keywords

ROAS can be boosted in many ways, some of which include paying less (or the same) overall for paid search but still managing to score more revenue. If that sounds tough to accomplish during the rest of the year, then you can bet your bottom dollar that competition beefens up during the holiday season, making the task that much harder. Instead of going guns-a-blazing in a price war with competitors over the same list of generic keywords, it pays to investigate every permutation and combination of the long tail. Think keyword themes such as colours, models, cities, towns, free shipping etc. to add to your ad groups.

Know why this approach will work if you still maintain a healthy presence over the top generic keywords in your niche? Most folks won’t put the suggestion into action!

4. Social Media Traffic Sucks For Holiday Season Conversions

This depends on whether the social media traffic is fairly targeted to what you are promoting. For example, visits from an environmentally friendly social media site will convert much better in the holiday season (folks want to spend money) than other times of the year, if a relevant offer is put into place. Sometimes social media conversion doesn’t have immediate dollar value effects, but can have indirect future revenue through additional subscribers, e-mail base, and sharing via the net and WOMM.

5.  Customers Don’t Decide to Buy Online. They Visit Stores Instead.

The holiday season is a great time to test out this theory in your niche. Besides strong emperical evidence proving that online research results in offline sales, customers do not have as much time on their hands to visit stores to weigh in buying decisions. Futhermore, most may even want to avoid visiting a store as much as possible due to inventory availability, crowds, or due to horrid weather (happens a lot in Canada.)

Dev Basu blogs about online marketing for small businesses, search marketing, and all matters in local seo and social media. Catch up with him at his blog, twitter, or connect on Linkedin.

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3 thoughts on “5 Holiday Season Signals To Avoid & Learn From

  1. This is sage advice. The best of all possible worlds is when you can determine a way to see what organic keywords and what paid traffic is generating calls and chats on your site so you can replicate that behavior. The call is so much more valuable than the contact form.

  2. I agree. A call can create a sale, more than the best web page in the world.

    We must profit from Christmas sales, and give buyers the opportunity of testing our services… maybe we can get new customer this next weeks. :-)