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How Search Influences Holiday Shopping & Why to Keep Your Ads Running

How Search Influences Holiday Shopping & Why to Keep Your Ads Running

By the time holiday shopping hit full swing this year, smart online advertisers had ramped up their ad spends to capture and influence shoppers searching online.  Searchers are a valuable audience for marketers; they are one and half times more likely to buy than those who do not search.

Searchers know what they want and are ready to purchase.

Reaching those searchers becomes even more lucrative during the holiday season. According to Google, shoppers searching online are 140% more likely to purchase than ones who search at other times of the year.

But now that key holiday shopping days are behind us, many of those advertisers have reduced ad spends, leaving others to continue capturing consumer attention and increasing sales. Is that wise?

Understanding How Search Influences Holiday Shopping is Key

We know search influences holiday shopping, and a  Google study has shown us how. Shoppers search to find the best deals on the items they plan to purchase. They search for product reviews to choose brands and decide where to buy. Whether purchasing online or in store, most shoppers search online first. It’s their #1 resource.

By understanding how search influences holiday shopping, in addition to how and when shoppers search as well as how to best reach them, retailers can win big well past those key shopping days. In fact, the biggest days for conversions may be yet to come.

Keep Your Ads Running Throughout the Holiday Season

Holiday shopping typically begins October 1 and runs through December 23. Although many advertisers focus a majority of their holiday ad spend on key shopping days, including Black Friday and Cyber Monday, smart advertisers capture the consumers who shop throughout the season.

Keeping your ads running on those key dates is a no-brainer. Cyber Monday broke the record for online shopping this year.
But don’t pull your advertising dollars just yet. According to Google’s study, conversion rates spike toward the end of the season, from Dec 10-16.

Target Non-Brand Keywords to Capture the Undecided Shoppers

Although holiday shoppers perform more brand-related searches than other times of the year because they know exactly what they want, many shoppers are undecided. They know they want to buy a tablet, boots or diamond earrings, but are unsure what brand or where to purchase. So, they search online using category or non-brand keywords such as “tablets,” “boots” or “diamond earrings.”

Undecided holiday shoppers

Undecided holiday shoppers search online.

Google’s study found that those undecided holiday shoppers searching on non-brand keywords are 3 times more likely to convert. This is an opportunity you do not want to miss. Ensure your product or brand is prominently visible when the undecided holiday shoppers search online.


Google advises you implement an “always-on” paid search strategy to reach shoppers when they search.  Push promotions throughout the season, not only on key shopping days. Create ads using non-brand keywords to gain the attention of undecided shoppers and use remarketing to keep their attention. And, widen your attribution window so you know the full path to conversion. That knowledge will help you plan and improve your marketing efforts not only during the holiday season, but throughout the year.

If you would like assistance with your online advertising, contact the experts at Forthea Interactive.

We wish you all a happy and profitable holiday season!

Terri Stevens
Terri Stevens is an SEO specialist for Forthea. She loves to travel, especially aboard cruise ships (floating casinos!), and spends free time with family and enjoying the outdoors.


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