It’s not breaking news that Christmas can be a very tricky period for all of us campaign managers, especially when we launch campaigns in more than one market. At crealytics, we often find that differences in culture and search behaviour are important to consider when deciding which keywords to bid on and at what time our campaigns should be ramped up to take advantage of seasonal trends. Our team conducted an analysis in order to understand how trends differ across some key markets in the retail sector (see also).
We looked at fashion retail data covering the period between November 2014 and January 2015. Here’s what we found.
Key Dates & Trends by Market
In the graph above we can see that in the UK traffic starts to increase during the latter days of November and reaches a peak on the 28th. We continue to see a high level of clicks and sales until the 1st of December, at which point both clicks and sales drop significantly. Sales peak again on the 26th of December (Boxing Day).
The graph “Germany Clicks & Sales” shows us Germany’s performance. We can see that clicks and sales start increasing during the last days of November and peak on the 28th, in line with the UK market. Click volume remains relatively strong until December 16th, and then it drops. Sales follow the same trend, and they pick up again on the 29th of December.
The graph above shows performance in the USA. Here, we see a peak in traffic on the 29th of November (not on the 28th as in the UK and Germany), whilst sales peak on December 1st and maintain a high level until the 2nd. After the 13th of December, the landscape changes and we see an overall downward trend. A small uplift in both metrics is observed on December 26th.
Interesting Keywords & Facts about the UK
Next, let’s take a look at the UK and some interesting keywords that we found throughout this period. This will give you some useful insight regarding key dates and customs.
The graph above indicates that the vast majority of our conversions came from the keyword “Black Friday”. Although Black Friday originally comes from the USA, it significance has grown considerably in the UK over the past few years, as you can see from the Google trends graph below. Black Friday is expected to be even bigger this year in the UK (see also).
According to the Daily Telegraph, this is the biggest shopping day of the year. “Last year British consumers spent £810m in Black Friday and this year sales are expected to surpass £1bn with some predicting that’s how much UK shoppers will spend on just online purchases”.
The second top converting keyword is “evening dresses” followed by “christmas jumpers”. It’s worth mentioning that the high volume around “christmas jumpers” is a rather local thing, related to an annual fund-raising campaign in the UK organised by the Save the Children charity. This year’s Christmas Jumper day is on December 18th, so be prepared!
Optimise Your Bids Towards Your Conversion Rate
Last but not least, and in order to complete our analysis we have to see how the CR% is trending in each market.
The first thing we observe is that all three markets show a very strong CR% on Black Friday. Although in Germany the trend is not as strong as in the UK and USA, it is still there.
In the US, CR drops significantly over the weekend after Black Friday, but then increases again for Cyber Monday. The weekend drop was much less significant in UK and DE.
After this CR drops and remains relatively low through the first two weeks of December for all three markets. CR then starts to pick up again in the UK and US on the 19th, presumably last minute gift purchases.
A significant rise in CR% is seen in the UK on December 26th when the Boxing Day sales go live. Both Germany and UK also display a significant jump in CR% on December 30th , driven by January sales.
Here are some tips to help you turn insight like this, into strategic actions:
- Identify seasonal events such as Black Friday, Christmas, seasonal sales etc., and evaluate how big the impact is likely to be on your business. These events can have a significant impact on performance metrics, so make sure that you adjust your bids in order to capitalize on this.
- The bid adjustments that you apply should be reflective of the trend in that market. For example, we would apply a less aggressive bid increase in Germany around Black Friday, as we know that the peak in CR% is not likely to be as great.
- If Black Friday is likely to have a significant impact on your business then you might benefit from including Black Friday keyword combinations. If you this, make sure you have those keywords combinations ready nice and early in order to build up the Quality Score. These keywords will be highly competitive in the week leading up to Black Friday so make sure you monitor costs closely.
- You might want to consider implementing day parting in order to boost bids during the most valuable hours of the day, or reduce them when performance is lower. This can really help to improve the efficiency of your campaigns.
- Keep in mind when your Christmas delivery cut-off date is and make sure you pause your campaigns after this date to avoid spending money on traffic that you are unable to convert.
Wishing you all brilliant performance and lots of fun getting your Christmas campaigns ready!