Holiday Keywords – To Build or Not to Build?


Posted by Brian Aubert, Account Director

Many searchers use Black Friday and Cyber Monday terminology in search and they expect to find aggressive deals.  This year, Black Friday searches started early in the holiday shopping season.  The following Google Insights chart shows growth in “Black Friday deals” starting in September:

Keywords 1 

Advertisers should be circumspect when deciding to build out holiday, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday paid search keywords.  The first step is to consider what holiday keywords are available for your brand.  Types of holiday keywords include:

Keywords 2 

  • General Gift Terms: These terms include general terms like “gift for dad” or “Christmas present ideas.”  Advertisers should expect a big impression spike for these general terms during holiday.  However, it is difficult to discern consumer intent on general holiday searches.  Because searchers may not be interested in what you sell, there is high potential for a large volume of unqualified clicks.
  • Product/Service-Related Gift Terms: These terms include “gift/present” plus what you sell, such as “laptop gift” or “best sweater present.”  Landing pages for these terms should include appropriate holiday messages to help match user intent, such as gift suggestions, how to choose the right computer, holiday themes, and delivery info (i.e. “arrives in time for Christmas”).
  • General Black Friday/Cyber Monday Terms: These terms include “Black Friday sale” or “Cyber Monday deal.”  Like general holiday terms, it is difficult to discern consumer intent and whether searchers are interested in your particular products.  Thus, there is potential for unqualified clicks. 
  • Product/Service-Related Black Friday/Cyber Monday Keywords: These terms include “Black Friday laptop sale” or “Cyber Monday sweater deal.”  These searchers are deal seekers; you must provide relevant content and compelling deals on the landing page to satisfy their needs.

Next, you have to consider if these keywords present opportunities in line with your business objectives.  Are you driving conversions and ROI, or are you more interested in awareness and traffic?  Holiday and Black Friday/Cyber Monday keywords are opportunities if you have dedicated landing pages with information relevant to holiday shoppers, gift givers, or deal searchers.

Advertisers focused on ROI should probably steer clear of general “gift” and holiday keywords because of the uncertainty of consumer intent.  For example, a “gift for dad” searcher could be looking for an electric razor, but you only sell fishing rods.  Unqualified clicks adversely impact ROI and on-site engagement metrics.

Advertisers interested in branding and awareness might want to be aggressive with holiday keywords.  If you want to be in the consideration set, searchers have to find you.  However, be prepared to measure on-site engagement and optimize quickly—are consumers interacting with your content or leaving after ten seconds?

In summary, if you want to target holiday/Black Friday/Cyber Monday keywords, you must have a clear objective as well as assets that correspond to consumer behavior.  If your business is planning holiday initiatives, be sure to align paid search with both strategy and messaging.

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