October Search Spike Calls For Short-Lived, Focused Campaign

Strong back-to-school sales signal good news for marketers during the holidays, many of whom have already begun getting campaigns ready for the end-of-year season, per NetElixir, which plans to release a report in the coming days. One interesting tip involves building and running a 24-hour search campaign in October on a day that historically demonstrates one of the biggest search query spikes for retail during the year.

While it may seem a bit out of the ordinary, the advice comes after analyzing consumer sentiment based on year-on-year lift for back-to-school and Labor Day sales. Harness the wisdom of crowds.

For the past five years, NetElixir -- known for its data-heavy view on advertising -- has observed a spike in search queries on the third Monday in October beginning on the day prior at 6 p.m. local time. "Most marketers focus on Black Friday, but we think marketers should create a short 24-hour campaign on this day in October," says Udayan Bose, founder of NetElixir.

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NetElixir analyzed 13,000 clicks during the last holiday season and found only 415 that began with a non-branded term converted with a branded term. One caveat: the data doesn't include mobile. The analysis seems to represent the retail sector excluding car parts and B2B.

Brand terms are typically the final click before consumers make the purchase, but marketers can use more generic terms to cut campaign cost and create interest. Bose suggests identifying the top products with high margins that sell well for each SKU per month. Create a different cost per acquisition (CPA), a custom campaign. Create single-word ad groups because it allows the campaign to focus on top non-brand terms. Then use the broader focused non-trademark strategy based on the profitability and volume sold of each product. Bose says this allows marketers to protect and grow the brand's presence.

Mobile search traffic will exceed 50% for all eight retail categories NetElixir tracks, such as clothing, consumer electronics, home improvement, and home furniture, among others. A local-mobile focus benefits from extending last-minute shipments this year to Monday, Dec. 21. 

Local mobile promotions on specific products will work best on Dec. 23 and 23. NetElixir suggests being nimble and increasing mobile paid-search spend on those days and focus on local targeting. 

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