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Holiday SEO User Experience

What to Expect for the 2011 Holiday Season?

Paid Search Series Introduction:

Here in New England, the leaves are turning colors, the temperature is getting colder, the air is feels crisper and the amount of daylight is getting shorter. As every seasoned New Englander knows, these occurrences are early indicators to one thing (no, not time for a tropical vacation), the holiday season!

Each holiday season, brands are willing to spend millions of dollars on comprehensive multi-platform holiday advertising campaigns in order to deliver their message most effectively, persuading consumers to ultimately do one thing; buy their product!

Search has become a leading marketing channel and consumers are actively searching for product information, reviews, specifications, pricing and availability. According to Google 42% of consumers research online and then purchase online. Additionally, 51% of consumers research online and then purchase in store. This trend will continue throughout the 2011 holiday season.

To get a sense of the size of the holiday e-commerce market, comScore reported online sales during the 2010 holiday season reached an all-time high of $32.6 billion, a 12% increase YOY from 2009. Furthermore, Kenshoo reported paid search return on spend by brands increased 25% YOY, earning $10.60 for every dollar spent (15% YOY increase).

What to Expect During the Holiday 2011 Season?

The upcoming 2011 holiday season is expected to be the largest yet for e-commerce sales, and brands across the globe will be ramping up paid search budgets in anticipation. According to comScore, the 2010 Holiday Season saw a substantial increase YOY of e-commerce sales across all major holiday shopping days. Cyber Monday (Nov 25th,2010) ranked as the largest online spending day in history, reaching over one billion dollars in total sales.

comScore 2010 Holiday Season vs. 2009 Holiday Season e-Commerce Spending in Millions ($)

2009 2010 % Change
November 1 – December 31 $29,084 $32,589 12%
Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 25) $318 $407 28%
Black Friday (Nov. 26) $595 $648 9%
Cyber Monday (Nov. 29) $887 $1,028 16%
Green Monday (Dec. 13) $854 $954 12%
Free Shipping Day (Dec. 17) $586 $942 61%


comScore Weekly Online Holiday Retail Sales in Millions ($)

comScore Weekly Online Holiday Retail Sales in Millions ($)

Kenshoo reported that during the 2010 holiday season, search advertising budgets increased 52%, online sales transactions increased 87% and online sales revenue increased by 69% YOY.

Bizrate Insights and Forrester Research reported in 2010 that 83% of consumers prefer to shop online than in crowded stores during Thanksgiving weekend. Additionally, 21% of online shoppers plan to spend more over the web in 2011.

IBM Coremetrics reported that online retailers have seen a dramatic increase of the average order value during the holiday season from 2009 to 2010.

IBM Coremetrics: Online Retailer’s Holiday Season Average Order Value

2009 2010 % Gain
November $ 175 $ 195 11.3%
December $ 172 $ 190 10.7%
Black Friday $ 170 $ 191 12.1%
Cyber Monday $ 180 $ 195 8.3%

What does this mean for paid search campaigns for the upcoming 2011 holiday season? Increased competition, higher risks and higher rewards. According to Econsultancy, the increase of online competition during the 2010 holiday season drove up CPCs 22% YOY. Therefore, it is critical that brands deploy holiday campaigns that have been strategized and implemented properly in order to be a competitive force this holiday season.

This is part one of the four part Holiday Paid Search Series created by Catalyst Online’s paid search experts,  providing best practices for paid search campaigns during the upcoming 2011 holiday season.

In this Holiday Paid Search Series: Catalyst Online Paid Search Experts will give in depth analysis, answering questions such as:

  • What keyphrases should I bid in this holiday season?
  • How much should I increase my paid search budget and when should it be turned on and off?
  • Which ad copy should I run and why?
  • What impact will smartphones have and how do I capitalize on the demand?
  • And Much More…

Upcoming: Research, Forecast & Prepare (2 of 5)

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2 Responses to What to Expect for the 2011 Holiday Season?

  1. I really liked your blog! It helped me alot… Awesome. Exactly what I was looking for. Thanks!

  2. Suzie Houge says:

    Awesome post! I will keep an on eye on your blog.

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