A guest post by Henry Eisemann from BuyerZone’s PPC Team
There are a few holidays that dramatically impact B2B traffic. At BuyerZone, we’ve noticed 5 holidays that stand apart from the rest: Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Unlike other holidays, these five motivate business professionals to close their laptops and silence their cell phones. Rather than taking the extra day to catch up on emails and projects, professionals are claiming this time for themselves and their families.
So, how does this impact the PPC world? With reduction in search volume and changes in user intent.
Search Volume Decline in PC’s
Holidays that change the search environment (from a volume standpoint) are easy to identify, track, and predict if year over year data is available. For instance, with our data, we’ve found that B2B traffic tends to reveal a seasonal decline during important holidays due to a temporary cooling of interest and motivation to buy or research B2B products and services.
Additionally, we’ve discovered that travel plays an important part in forecasting B2B search traffic since most work laptops are left at home. Mobile devices, however, could see an uptick in B2B search volume during high-travel periods but likely won’t replace the volume lost from PC/Mac-based demand.
User Intent Gets Temperamental
Some B2B industries may see a negligible change in traffic but a significant change in user intent. Unlike changes in search volume, user intent is difficult to track and predict; rather than impression and click shortage, changes in user intent are usually identified from spikes in CPA and dips in conversion rate.
Consider the following scenarios that BuyerZone has successfully navigated in the past:
- Gift Card Services – There has always been a mix of B2C and B2B traffic for this retail service. However, around Black Friday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, the ratio of B2C and B2B traffic swings drastically towards B2C.
- Time & Attendance Systems and GPS Fleet Tracking Solutions – You wouldn’t expect to see any changes in these categories… except for the one night a year parents are helping their children TRACK Santa across multiple TIME zones via the web. We found this to be more of an issue on the Google Display Network (than in search) where our ads were being placed on sites that housed Tracking/Time themes related to Santa’s travels.
- Hot Tubs – This home improvement category can see drops in conversion rates during the July 4th period. As people ready their houses for guests, broad home improvement-related searches increase and can be captured by Hot Tubs campaigns. Also, after the holiday, everyone who spent the long weekend at a home with a hot tub jumps on the computer to look up hot tub prices out of curiosity.
Best PPC Practices for the Holidays
B2B PPC’ers prepare for the holidays by sticking to the fundamentals:
- Changing ad copy can help weed out poor quality traffic by prequalifying users before the click
- Pausing at-risk keywords, ad groups, or even campaigns may be necessary – but only in extreme situations.
- Setting tighter budget caps can reduce the risk of overspending from a traffic spike.
- Daily check-ins over holiday weekends can offer a final catch-all for any account issues. How is impression volume? Clicks? Cost? CPA?
In addition, bidding and negatives are the two most effective ways to track changes as a result of holidays. Depending on your products and services, an account-wide bid down for only at-risk campaigns or keywords would be required to reduce exposure to poor traffic.
Updating negative keyword lists to weed out non B2B traffic is a must!
Preemptive action is any B2B company’s smartest move before any major holiday. Preparation is 99% of the battle, but having a human eye check on account activity will ensure any issues that slip through are caught and promptly resolved. Talk with your team and clients to have a plan in place so that everyone will have peace of mind during the 4th of July.