Ok they’re not scary, but seasonal holiday search trends are always very interesting, especially when you look at Halloween. As you can see from the list below, people are most interested in the costumes they will be wearing for the holiday. Here are the top Halloween searches (keywords), according to Google:
- halloween costume
- halloween outfits
- halloween costumes
- halloween kostume
- halloween ideas
- halloween parties
- haunted houses
- halloween costume ideas
- halloween party
All dressed up with no place to go? No way– people hosting the Halloween parties are searching too: party themes, games, halloween store, halloween decorations, and recipes. If you’re a merchant, this may be a good opportunity to position certain products for Halloween use.
Are people searching on the go? I wanted to know. Queries from mobile devices don’t seem to change much from searches on computers, but they do focus more on shopping like specific stores and party supplies, and activities like haunted houses.
What about last year? Everyone says consumer confidence is up…this means more costumes, more parties, more candy consumption! According to Google Insights for Search, searches for our top consumer keyword “Halloween costume” is down 20% from last year. Even though this is partial data (missing the 31st), I think we can still assume it is good directional data. I will check back once the data is finalized to confirm this either way.
Wondering about the top costumes this year? Me too. Yahoo has put together a great article on this: Yahoo! Releases the Top Searched Halloween Costumes
More fun reading on Halloween search trends and sites:
Retargeted advertising is not new, but kicking off a program now for this online holiday shopping season can help to boost sales. Retargeting reaches people who have visited your site by serving an ad to them post-visit on other content sites across the web. Advertisers do this by putting a small piece of code on their site which sets a “cookie” in the user’s browser. As the user surfs the web and visits other sites that serve retargeted advertising, those sites will check for the cookie and use it to determine which ads to display.
This tactic is usually very effective because the user is receiving multiple marketing touches and keeps your brand top of mind. They also tend to be more qualified because they have already expressed interest in your products by having previously visited your website.
Ready for some killer tips?
1- Abandoned shopping cart: One approach ecommerce retailers can use this holiday season is the “abandoned shopping cart” tactic. This is accomplished by putting the retargeting cookie code on the shopping cart pages only. Anyone who has seen the cart pages, must have added an item to the cart at some point, right? As they surf the web, you can serve them with an ad that acts a gentle reminder to revisit your store. You don’t want to acknowledge you know they left the shopping cart, because, well, that’s just creepy.
You can, however, reinforce your current special offers like “free shipping” or promote your holiday gift products in hopes they will return to complete the purchase.
2- Loyalty: Another popular approach is the “loyalty” tactic. This reaches customers who have completed a transaction on your site (code added to the confirmation page code). You can use this to cross-sell or up-sell to recent buyers. None of the data collected is personally identifiable, so you’ll need to understand your customer behavior and their repeat purchase patterns to design the most effective “loyalty” campaign.
3- Reach: Each network serves ads on different networks, so you can market on multiple networks to reach your prospects wherever they are. Fetchback, serves display ads only across their partner ad network. Google and Yahoo also have retargeting programs. Google’s program targets prospects on the Google content network, while Yahoo’s targets on Yahoo properties. By combining the display retargeting network with Google retargeting and Yahoo’s retargeting product, you will have have a great deal of saturation and reach!
These three tips are a strong complement to your current PPC search engine text ads and provide a power-packed holiday strategy you can start today.
Yahoo Retargeting (display banners)
Google Remarketing (text + display banners)
Fetchback Retargeting (display banners)
Below is the transcript and slides from my presentation at SMX East. The other panelists were Daina Middleton, CEO, Performics and Hamid Saify, Search Marketing Director, Deutsch LA. Their presentations dug deeper into the topic as well as shared some great case studies further illustrating how search can be integrated into the marketing mix.
It’s Not Multichannel Marketing If You Don’t Include Search
Have you noticed search is often not integrated into marketing plans and sometimes completely overlooked? We are missing opportunities that can be leveraged from search.
I outlined 5 best practices to integrating search into the marketing mix.
And 4 killer tactics you can take back to work and implement right away.
Many of the examples are for retail business, but these best practices and tactics can be used for services or B to B as well.
Best Practice #1: Goals
Search should be included in the overall strategic goals at the highest levels of the marketing plan.
Search can actually help to define the overall marketing initiatives because its one of the few channels that can reach people at all stages of the buying funnel.
While search strategy supports the overall marketing plan, you may also need unique channel level goals, for example, capturing email signups for a brand plan.
Best Practice #2: Listen
Listen to what people want- this is what they search for- apply this to overall marketing plan and other media initiatives.
The keywords they use to describe your product and the sites they visit on content will help you to build a stronger profile of your audience.
Say you sell an eco-friendly product. Do people search for “Eco” or “green”? Knowing this will help to better target your marketing.
You can find this data by:
- Use query and placement reports to see what people are actually searching for to reach your site.
- Use impressions and search traffic tools to gauge query volume.
- Assisted keyword and assisted impression reports show keywords that contributed to a conversion, but were not directly responsible for the sale.
Best Practice #3: Creative
Creative should be consistent across channels, but it should also be appropriate for individual channel and the buying funnel stage.
Review your creative for consistency:
- Should use same messaging
- Reflect the current promotion
I searched for old navy, the ad copy is exactly the same for every single keyword search!
Their ad promotes the $7 flat rate shipping, even though they’re having a huge 40% off end of the season sale and a seasonal promo.
Best Practice #4: Budget
Once you incorporate search in the top levels of the marketing plan, you need to allocate an appropriate budget. Obviously you want to get as much traffic as you can, but sometimes budgets are not large enough to support this. You’ll need to focus on the most profitable traffic available.
To ensure proper budget allocation:
- Capture most profitable traffic
- Plan for seasonality- there may be more traffic during certain months
- Don’t allocate the same budget for every month
- Capitalize on trends in current events
- After a testing period, reallocate between media according to results
Best Practice #5: Engagement
See search as part of the user engagement with brand. The Old Spice Man is a popular campaign, so people may go to the web and search for it. I searched for “old spice man”. The ad agency and the PPC agency must have collaborated because I am served an ad that recognizes I was searching for their ad campaign and offers to show me a video. When I click through, I get what I was expecting– a few videos to watch from the ad campaign. What a great example of integrating search with TV!
1- Retargeting reaches people who have visited your site or somehow previously interacted with your brand, so the user is presented your ad on other sites across the web.
If you can layer your traditional display retargting network and Google retargeting AND Yahoo’s retargeting product, will have have a great deal of saturation and reach!
2- Besides driving fans or followers through “like” buttons on sites, blogs, and emails, you can also drive fans through PPC. Since search has different targeting you can reach a new group of “fans” who may not see your Facebook page.
In the content network, you can target other social networks to reach people who use social media and fit your target audience.
Be sure to include a CTA- how can you incent them to fan you from PPC? Ask for a “like” or a follow. You may want to give them a reason to “like” you. For example, Kohls default Facebook page is about their charity work. This is a great example.
3- Promotions and offers should mirror your other media. Try doing an escalating escalating discount. Use the buying funnel to target messaging that sweetens the deal- larger discount either at the beginning to get them in, or to urge them to convert when they are the closest they can be to purchase. Test approaches by searcher intent.
4- Ad scheduling can be a great tool to integrate search with TV. According to Nielsen Q1 data, 58% of people use the internet and watch TV simultaneously
Many of them are searching. You can schedule ads to run during your own TV spots, or during programs with key content. For example Lowe’s to run ads during a home improvement show
And I would really like to see the Container Store advertise during the “Hoarders” program!
Conclusion: final thought
Search can be integrated into any campaign!
It takes planning and creativity.