Beantown, Fenway, And The Seasonality Of Search

What do swan boats, crowds headed to Fenway, and a marathon have in common? Around here, they spell springtime in Beantown. That's Boston for you non-New Englanders. And while this season has officially arrived, it won't last long. Soon the temperatures will soar, college students will head back to where they came from, and traffic to Cape Cod will be backed-up for hours. Ah, summah-time in Boston.

But the transition from spring to summer should serve as a lot more than just a sunblock alert, particularly if you're a Web merchant whose business has a seasonal quality to it. For you, the imminent change of season means your offerings must be adjusted--which probably needs to happen season-after-season and year-after-year.

However, beyond shifting around your products or services, you need to be mindful of how seasonality can impact your paid search initiatives. As offerings change, so must elements of the campaign. Fortunately, technology plays a key role in effectively managing paid search campaigns; however, the importance of the human side of the process cannot be overstated, especially as it relates to seasonality.



It still takes human resources to recognize and understand that seasonality is at the heart of many paid search campaigns, and to plan strategies accordingly. For example, you could have some pretty sophisticated technology in place, but unless you have a year's worth of data on which to draw upon, an automated bidding tool won't know that come April, snow blower sales will be dropping off, while lawn mower sales will be on the rise. Only a human can plan to capitalize on these seasonal trends.

Beyond the absence of historical data, there are other seasonal variables that can impact paid search campaigns and require human intervention. For example, a bidding tool doesn't take natural disasters or world events into consideration. Clearly, no bidding technology exists today that could've responded to the wake of destruction left by Hurricane Katrina.

In the same way, no agent would've automatically capitalized upon the opportunities that were created when the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004. Doing so took human understanding, intervention, and planning. Not only is there no PPC bidding agent that monitors sports scores and integrates that information into the bidding strategy, none exists that are capable of appreciating the significance of the Red Sox victory and what it would mean to fans' buying behavior. By aggressively altering the bidding strategy just after the last pitch of Game 4--based on human experience and knowledge that traffic and conversion rates were going to increase following such an important sporting event victory--one client got maximum exposure, sales, and revenue for the subsequent high-volume week. Bidding technology would've needed 86 years worth of historical data to do same!

Bottom Line: When it comes to seasonality, successful management of paid search campaigns requires human resources with the knowledge, expertise, and experience to draw upon, as well as sophisticated technology. Together they are a highly effective team, and if come October the Red Sox are in still in the hunt, we'll be poised to capitalize on their success once again.

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