How Search Volume Shifts Should Inform Holiday Marketing Strategies
Although this is a holiday shopping season like no other, retailers should market with confidence knowing they have pre-holiday data to help them not only understand how consumers are likely to act, but how they’ll search. In order to keep up with the shifts in what shoppers search for online, fast-moving retail teams are quickly adjusting their paid search and search engine optimization strategies as the pandemic evolves.
The benefits of analyzing consumer searches cannot be ignored. Whether it’s guiding copywriters to produce content on the benefits of a product, how to use a product, or helping pay-per-click managers make smarter real-time decisions, it's more important than ever for retailers to know what’s driving search volume so they can quickly react and capture sales.
Regularly Mine and Examine
Examining consumer search trends is a key component of retail digital marketing strategies during this unique holiday season. Paid search and SEO should adjust based on search volume, which might be a retailer’s guiding light in the coming weeks. Identifying the next category trend or popular search terms often comes from taking a good look at consumer searches, as well as their perceived intent.
By using a combination of tools such as Google Trends, Adwords, Conductor, SEMrush, and BrandWatch, retailers can find "gold" thanks to search-based data discoveries. At the beginning of the pandemic, consumers were searching for ways to take care of their skin at home. Some health and beauty brands saw this as an opportunity to strategically bid on keywords and align their content and products closely with those searches.
A similar strategy was executed by cosmetics brands since most consumers weren’t visiting makeup counters to test and color match foundations. To get in front of those shoppers online, several companies were driving traffic and paid media campaigns to foundation finder tools on their sites.
Fine-Tune SEO Strategy for Holiday Traffic
Ranking for holiday wish lists and gift guides doesn’t happen overnight, which is why mapping a holiday-friendly SEO program early is recommended. It should be pointed out that results from SEO will take more time than optimizations in other channels (e.g., paid search and email), but the upside of traffic can be substantial.
Retailers should evaluate key areas of their site for content to check if their products and categories are relevant, through a lens of search volume and trends. If a retailer wants certain products to appear in searches for stocking stuffers, they should first develop a sound content strategy. Understanding how consumers are searching for stocking stuffer-related terms can help inform content and landing pages, which will improve SEO rankings.
Get Ahead of Consumer Shopping Trends
We all wish we had the foresight to know breadmakers would be all the rage months ago. Sometimes, what consumers are typing into search engines can help brands predict the next big thing. Today, if a retailer sees an uptick in searches around a certain category, it must move fast.
Another example of this was seen at the start of the pandemic when searches for gold and silver skyrocketed. A coin and collectibles manufacturer took this opportunity to increase its paid search and social budgets, creating unique ads and site content to drive conversions for those looking to invest in gold and silver for the first time, while also supporting SEO.
One thing we know for sure about this earlier-than-usual holiday season is that it will be filled with many unknowns. Brands must stay closely in tune to search trends, social listening, and their own analytics to anticipate changes and act quickly. The brands that do will reap the benefits not just for the holiday season, but into the new year as the retail market continues to evolve.
Courtney Hedges is area vice president of digital marketing at LiveArea, a full-service global customer experience and commerce agency for B2C and B2B brands.