As we begin to enter the summer, a few things will accompany these sunny days you get to enjoy from your office window. Those with a window seat desk will develop a great uneven forearm tan, client visits at baseball games and golf events will become exponentially more likely, and you get to enjoy a couple of hours of the sunshine after you get off work (in theory). And a good friend of the PPC world may also drop by as well — seasonality! But don’t be afraid of seasonality, he does not mean any harm. He just wants to come around every so often, just like another pleasant friend of yours, the dentist.
Seasonality is defined as “a characteristic of a time series in which the data experiences regular and predictable changes which recur every calendar year. Any predictable change or pattern in a time series that recurs or repeats over a one-year period can be said to be seasonal.” So how can you tell if seasonality has an effect on your account? Start by taking a look at your historical data when you take over an account to identify any year-over-year trends. This will allow you to forecast months in which you can expect changes in performance dictated outside of what you can directly control. If you don’t have access to historical data, or your account is too new to offer any significant past data, you can utilize Google Trends to help fill in the blanks.
Once you’ve identified any seasonality trends your account may be affected by, you can then employ a number of strategies to help buoy performance in down times, or maximize it during peak times:
- Bidding: CPCs can fluctuate depending on seasonality factors. Monitor these closely and adjust as needed to ensure you’re neither overpaying for your clicks, nor underbidding for top positioning. You can also employ tactics such as day-parting and flexible bidding strategies to maximize spend efficiency. While a downtime due to seasonality may seem like a less competitive, anticipate others in the marketplace being more aggressive for the high-intentioned traffic, so plan to be aggressive on both fronts
- Budgeting: If certain campaigns of your account are less susceptible to seasonality, you can allocate budget from campaigns that will require less during that time period and can be funneled toward those higher converting campaigns. This coincides with the previous point about needed extra budget for a more competitive marketplace. Flexibility with both bidding and budget will allow you to adapt to a changing marketplace quickly.
- Ad Copy: Updating ad copy to include seasonal verbiage can increase relevancy, especially if highlighting certain promotions you may be running during this time. When leveraged as a competitive advantage, the mention of a seasonal promotion can help increase performance with the higher relevancy and user experience.
- Extensions: Utilize extensions to supplement your seasonally focused ad copy. Specific holiday specials or themes can be leveraged with extensions – and when paired with a highly relevant landing page, can maximize performance during peak or off-peak times. Understand the relevance of your goals with your search campaigns and any holiday or season to bridge the gap between potential customers and you. For example, enhanced sitelinks can help show seasonal productions and promotions more specific than your ad copy. The added benefit of utilizing these extensions is increased QS which can lower your CPCs for the same position in the SERP. These kinds of increased efficiencies can have a big impact on your KPIs during these competitive seasons.
Identifying these trends will help save you a lot of stress and avert any crisis that may develop because a client is unaware of these fluctuations in performance. A transparent understanding of the landscape with achievable expectations being set will not only avoid undue stress, but will make you look like a true PPC wizard to your clients, and who doesn’t like a wizard?