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Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Holiday Search Marketing Strategies - From Yahoo SEM

Getting Your Customers to Shop ‘Til They Drop (a Lot of Money on Your Site)The holidays can be the make or break season for retailers, whether online, offline or a little of both. For obvious and quite unsentimental reasons, we prefer our advertisers to be on the “make” end of the scale.

And, naturally, we do a lot of research around here based on the huge volumes of data our search business generates. In the interest of helping you “put the make” on the holiday season, we’re offering up some of our findings, as well as a few pointers to help enhance your holiday marketing plans.

Holiday HighlightsIf you were to ask the Magic Eight Ball if 2007 is likely to be a good year for online retail, the answer might well be: “All signs point to yes.” According to comScore, online consumer spending grew 26 percent in 2006 to $24.4 billion. More than 80 percent of consumers did at least some shopping online (BizRate and Shop.org Holiday Mood Study 2006), and 50 percent of shoppers bought more stuff online in 2006 than 2005 (NielsenNetRatings research). It’s a pretty telling trend. (For what it’s worth, last year I did all of my holiday shopping online for the first time.)

The Yahoo! Search Marketing team has prepared some tips for advertisers based on the holiday data we gathered:

Engage the bargain hunters—According to the BizRate and Shop.org Holiday Mood Study 2006, nearly half of the consumers polled named “free shipping” as a primary motivator to purchase. Other shoppers named “online only sales” and “repeat buyer discounts.”

Keywords count—According to our internal data, “Christmas” was, not surprisingly, the most holiday-related search term in 2006 with more than three million average monthly searches. Other popular terms included “Christmas decoration,” “Hanukkah,” “holiday gift” and “gift for dad.” Make sure that your keyword selection includes holiday-related keywords and seasonal products and promotions.

Titillate with titles—Titles and descriptions can drive relevance and clicks, so it’s a best practice when creating specific holiday ad groups to place the holiday term prominently in both the title and the description, and include any special seasonal promotions in the copy.

Clear for landing—Make sure that your landing pages are relevant to your keywords, ad copy and any promotions. Nothing’s more frustrating for a consumer to click on an ad that says, “Get 10% off” something and then land on a page where that information is either absent or buried. Prices and promotions should be consistent with ad copy.

Combine search with display and offline advertising—Regular readers of our blog know that search is just one important part of your marketing mix. Make sure you include your keywords and consistent copy in your display and offline marketing material. If you haven’t already read them, check out two recent posts, one on combining search and display advertising and the other on integrating your online and offline campaigns.

We’ll go into some of these in more detail in future posts.
—Michael Mattis, Holiday Shopper

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