Yes, it seems it’s never too early to talk about the all-important holiday season−the annual make-or-break period for many retailers.

One thing that can aid loyalty marketers during the upcoming holiday season, and spark customer engagement, is keeping a very close eye on aggregate retail search activity and the possibility for keyword expansion.

According to Salsify’s Holiday Shopping Keyword Intelligence Report 2017, consumers shop online at significantly higher rates during the holiday season, and this surge in activity presents some expanded strategies and tactics for brands and online retailers to best attract buyers.

Salsify’s first online retail holiday trends report reveals that aggregate retail search activity grows more widely distributed during this period, presenting important opportunities for keyword expansion. Meanwhile, leading brands are dramatically boosting their product content update pace to capitalize on the opportunity throughout the season to win market share.

Here are some key study findings:

The 2016 holiday season drove a 30 percent increase in the number of top retail search terms (those in the 90th percentile or above in terms of search frequency)

Holiday season retail search length and click-conversion rates remained close to non-holiday levels

76 percent more product detail page content updates were pushed during an average holiday month last season, as compared to an average non-holiday month

2016 product content pushes including holiday terminology peaked in November, rather than December

According to the study, the way a brand positions product content for an electric screwdriver will vary considerably from how another brand markets its digital media player, but during the holiday season certain high-volume search terms like “stocking stuffer” could apply to either product.

As a result, Salsify studied the frequency of the following terms, and their variants, occurring in product content pushes across the sampled brands:

• Christmas • Holiday • Noel • Stocking Stuffer • Black Friday

• Cyber Monday • New Year • Present • Santa • Hanukkah

“These data points illustrate the benefit of ensuring that holiday-oriented content is pushed right at the start of the holiday shopping season,” the study says. “By embedding those key terms in product content right as consumers are dipping their collective toes into purchasing holiday gifts, you potentially outflank your competitors, and position yourself for better rankings on those key terms throughout the rest of the season thanks to retailer algorithms. This is a strategy you can extend to other periods of the year for the same reasons, helping drive discovery and win more market share.”


Study data relating to retail search queries is representative of 12 full months of retail search query data across several major retail partners of Salsify. This data set includes all retail searches run across these partners, not just those relating to Salsify clients. For the sake of simplicity, only searches that were executed at a frequency of 90th percentile or higher in each respective month, across cross each retail search partner, were included in this data set.


Comparatively, these data are split into holiday and non-holiday time periods. For the purposes of the study, the non-holiday period is defined as the months of January through October, while the holiday period is defined as the months of November and December.


Here are the study recommendations:


To capture the maximum number of sales, marketers must be focused on improving product discovery over the holiday season by aggressively updating appropriate product content to reflect meaningful seasonal terminology


Keep product content regularly updated throughout the year, but be sure to prepare holiday-specific content updates, across all retail channels, to launch as close to the very start of the holiday shopping season as possible


On top of more generic terms, brands should gain a deep understanding of the relevant holiday search terms for their market via SEO or similar data analysis


Follow analytic data such as ARA during the holiday season to make adjustments to poorly performing product pages.
 
 

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