how to prep your ppc for seasonal search changes

While it is important to prepare for the more obvious recurring seasonal changes, digital advertisers must understand that winter, spring, summer and fall are not the only seasons that can impact your pay-per-click (PPC) digital advertising campaigns. So-called seasonal changes can also occur on a monthly, weekly or daily basis.

If you sell snowboards, the busy season is in late fall and early winter because that is when people shop for equipment for the upcoming season. What you may not have noticed is that every four years a major global event drives a massive spike in “snowboarding” search volume in February — the Winter Olympics.

rsz_1snowboard_olympics

If we drill down more deeply to the last 30 days, we can see that search volume is also higher every Sunday.

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The Top Tips for Leveraging Seasonality to Boost Performance and ROI

Keyword Strategies

When creating your keyword strategy to address seasonal changes, consider how the time of year impacts the customer buying cycle. In the beginning of the buying season, when consumers are further from making a purchasing decision, your keyword list should have the greatest breadth. As the season progresses, and potential customers get closer to making a purchase, your keyword list should be more highly targeted and specific to their possible choices.

For instance, if a marina is running an ad campaign in the winter, they should focus their campaigns on the full spectrum of services that they offer. Keyword lists may include boat sales, boat repairs, boat slips, winterization and so on. As the boating season approaches, the keywords should be gradually tailored to reach consumers deeper within the buying cycle. At this point, the campaigns should focus on specific makes and models of boats for sale, common repair issues, and boat slips (until all the docks have been filled).

For companies that rely heavily on specific holidays, marketers should also add holiday-specific terms.

A chocolate store, for example, should add keywords related to “Valentine’s Day chocolates” rather than broader, more competitive terms like “chocolates.”

Adjustments like this can drive down your cost per click (CPC) and, in turn, boost your ROI.

Bidding and Budgets

For more granular seasonal changes such as weekly, daily or hourly, simply adjusting bids and budgets can move the needle in a positive direction.

For days that typically receive more search volume, adding bid adjustments to increase bids by 5% to 10% can help maximize the ad’s visibility.

This strategy can also be effective for days that typically receive less volume, as it can help boost CTR on days that your ads receive fewer impressions.

Saving budget during slow periods and reallocating to busier times throughout the year can also be beneficial to companies that rely heavily on seasonal sales. This allows companies to maximize their sales during busy periods and spend less when the chance of converting a sale is less likely.

Ad Copy and Extensions

When approaching a busy season it is important to include seasonal hooks in your ad copy and extensions. You can increase the relevance of your ad by directly addressing where the user is in the buying cycle.

For example, before Valentine’s Day there is a spike in traffic of people searching for flowers for their loved ones. During this time of year, highlighting a Valentine’s Day special will resonate more with users than birthday flowers.

Landing Pages

Onsite performance metrics are the most important to consider when optimizing PPC campaigns. Therefore, making changes to a landing page can have the biggest impact on the conversion rate of a campaign.

By optimizing landing pages to reflect seasonal changes, you can improve user experience and generate more conversions.

To be most effective, update the copy and design of ads that direct people to your landing pages to reflect the onsite changes and ensure consistency in messaging.

Not only could creating more relevant and consistent landing pages and digital ads help improve the user experience, it can also improve your quality score and lower your the CPC of your PPC ads.

Conclusions

Seasonal changes in search volume are inevitable, and fairly easy to predict and understand.

Learning when and why these seasonal changes happen is the first step to developing a plan of how you can capitalize on the changes that are going to occur.

When addressing seasonal changes it is important to be proactive and plan ahead rather than being reactive and playing catch up with your competitors.

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