Top 5 Ways to Prepare for Peak with Google Ads

Colin Boucher

September 26, 2022

Peak season is almost upon us and with all signs pointing to it starting earlier than ever, with Christmas gifting searches now ramping up in August and September, it’s time to start preparing for peak. In this article, we’re sharing our top five tips for planning and preparing for peak season with Google Ads and the strategies required to get your Paid Search ready so you can drive success over this crucial period.

1. Go Early

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In 2021, gifting search terms started increasing in popularity in August. The general trend is that people are looking, researching and weighing their options early, so it’s best to start your Paid activity early to ensure that you’re capturing that early research traffic. This will help drive revenue alongside aiding those consumers who are in their research phase.

From 2020 to 2021, spend during Cyber Week actually only rose 2% but in the weeks leading up to it, it increased by 16%. However, Cyber Week is still the biggest period during the latter half of the year, accounting for 23% of all online spend by consumers over peak. Being prepared and starting early will help you to maximise your time during this period.

2. Get Ready for Privacy Changes

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 According to Google, 48% of global consumers have stopped buying or using a service due to privacy concerns. Privacy is front of mind when consumers are shopping online and we know that Google is phasing out 3rd party cookies in 2023. This is going to make it much harder to track users online and it’s something that brands need to think about this now – waiting isn’t an option.

From a Google Ads point of view, you want to ensure you have set up the Google Ads tag across your site and have enabled ‘Enhanced Conversions’, which ensures all conversions are tracked and allows you to monitor other actions such as ‘Add to Cart.’ This is relatively easy to set up, especially if you use ‘Google Tag Manager’.

It’s also vitally important that you build up your first-party data during this time as this is data you own and it can be used when targeting consumers that have provided your brand with their email address. Pattern’s own experience shows that by segmenting and using first-party data, you can see a 10% improvement in revenue and ROI.

3. Ensure Consumers Can Discover your Brand

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A full-funnel approach is now more important than ever as consumers become more discerning and have more choices than ever of where to shop.

Pattern has seen success with Google Ads’ ‘Discovery Campaigns’ (image-based ads that appear on Google platforms such as Gmail and the Google app), which have driven success both from a traffic and revenue perspective.

The performance of these campaigns is significantly enhanced by adopting a segmented and nuanced approach to first-party data and incorporating these into your campaigns. Other options for a full-funnel approach include YouTube and testing bidding on keywords that are more representative of the research phase. (e.g. ‘best baby clothes’ for a baby clothes brand)

4. Get Moving with Performance Max

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Earlier this year, Google announced that they were moving away from Smart Shopping and launched Performance Max. This is a new campaign type that incorporates features and placements from Smart Shopping but expands them onto other platforms such as Gmail but also alternative creative options, such as images and videos.

Since Google has already started automatically upgrading Smart Shopping campaigns to Performance Max, expect to see some fluctuations in the first 2 weeks following the switch over but results generally seem positive. We recommend upgrading sooner rather than later to limit any potential impact to peak period.

5. Flight Budgets Accordingly

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Peak period will be even more competitive than in 2021 and you’ll need your budgets to support this period, we recommend boosting budgets in October to start capturing that early peak traffic. As we enter November and the Cyber Period, start early and make sure you are capturing those consumers looking for early bargains, ensuring you are being nimble in your optimisations and reacting to the data that you are seeing.

Overall, peak period is vital to help drive your sales and by preparing early, you will see strong results and drive success for your brand. If you want to discuss how your brand can navigate this next peak period, contact us to discuss your options with our performance team now.

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How to Use SEO Keyword Trends to Make Business Decisions
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How to Use SEO Keyword Trends to Increase Revenue

With over 200 ranking factors Google uses to assess and position a webpage in search engine results, keywords are still a crucial aspect to any SEO strategy. Relevant keywords need to be placed across many elements of the page, from the title tag and H1 to on-page copy to help search engines understand the intent of the page.

However, if a brand is looking to accelerate its SEO success, you need to look beyond the monthly average search volume SEO tools provide. Diving deeper to understand that keyword search volumes actually change on a monthly basis—they rise and fall based on many factors—is key to elevating your strategy, increasing revenue and targeting users when they are actually searching online.

How to Use Keyword Trend Data?

Having seasonal keyword trends data can be incredibly powerful for your brand. Being able to understand what your users are searching for and when can influence many aspects of your business, from when to launch products, to selecting the most seasonally relevant terms to include in your on-page copy.

1. Better Plan Product Launches & Drops

After creating numerous iterations of keyword projects for a wide range of clients, the most consistent feedback we are given on how keyword documents are used is for helping plan product launches aligned with when users are searching for them.

A real-life example of this is a client choosing to bring forward the launch of their puffer jacket product collection to meet consumer search interest, rather than following previous fashion cycle patterns.

Looking at the keyword seasonality trends, puffer jacket keywords begin to increase in volume in February each year, hitting their peak in June. This is not a once-off trend and has been repeated in past years. Previously, the brand was launching their puffer jacket range in May, which from a weather perspective is ideal, with the temperature cooling down ahead of winter—perfect for wearing puffer jackets.

However, after analysing SEO trends, having puffer jackets available from February onwards, when users are starting to search for these products, would potentially lead to an increase in revenue and traffic to the site. This tactic of aligning keyword trends with user behaviour and product launches can also be applied to almost every industry and product category, from FMCG items to clothing collections.

2. Optimisation of Landing Pages & Product Pages

Keyword seasonality data can also be used to plan optimisations of landing and product pages. This is, in particular, extremely effective for seasonal products, or evergreen landing pages that are used across multiple campaigns throughout the year.

Looking at the fashion ecommerce industry, seasonal products such as coats and jackets to shorts and tank tops, can all benefit from an injection of seasonally relevant keywords. For coats and jackets, focusing on keywords to do with layering and transeasonal dressing should be implemented in autumn, which can then be switched out with keywords concentrating on warmth and comfort in winter. This strategy can be implemented on a range of pages, including individual product pages and product category pages.

Likewise, evergreen and core products or categories that see multiple seasonal campaigns should also be optimised using seasonal keyword data. Gift cards and gifting pages are a common example of this, where gift cards and other gifting product sales spike before the event and quickly die down afterwards. By optimising these pages ahead of the gifting holiday (e.g. Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas, etc.), you’ll be increasing the likelihood of these pages ranking—and therefore increasing revenue—for those specific event terms (e.g. father’s day gift ideas).

3. Understanding Store Visitation Seasonality

With more and more people returning to in-store shopping in this post-pandemic landscape, understanding seasonal shopping trends by assessing a brand's store-based keywords (e.g. brand name + location, such as Coles Moonee Ponds) can give a brand a glimpse into current in-store shopping trends. 

The correlation we can make between keywords and store visitation is that the higher the search volume for a particular store keyword, the more people searching for it and therefore the more people are likely to visit in-store. This data can be used for planning in-store promotions, understanding the busiest times of year for the store which helps with rostering staff, and ensuring stores have enough stock to meet customer demand.

This seasonality data can be then overlaid with store foot traffic analytics to create an omnichannel view of store performance and how users online are converting or shopping in-store vs online.

4. Planning Seasonally Relevant Content

If a user is searching for a particular keyword or product to purchase, there is a likelihood that the same person will be looking for additional information on that topic. For example, assessing the keyword trends around Spring Racing Carnival dresses and Melbourne Cup dresses (an annual thoroughbred horse race in Victoria, Australia), these keywords see their peak in October each year, before the event at the start of November.

As part of the Spring Racing Carnival, there are themed days for different events, including Derby Day, Melbourne Cup, Oaks Day and Stakes Day, and for each of those, different dress codes are required. Using the broad keyword seasonality trends can help inform brands when to produce long-form blog content in the lead-up to the event.

If Spring Racing keywords peak in October, then blog content that talks to the dress codes, what to wear, how to make a fascinator, etc. needs to be created and launched ahead of the October peak, ideally a month or two before so the article begins gaining authority and traffic. Users looking to purchase these products will be also searching for information on what the dress codes are, style advice, etc.

If content is being produced and launched during the time the keyword is peaking, you are missing out on potential traffic, brand awareness and revenue that could be captured in the lead-up to it.

Why Do Keyword Search Volumes Change?

There are multiple reasons why keyword search volumes change and that they’re not consistent each month:

Seasonal Events 

The most significant factor that affects keyword search volume trends are seasonal events. Any of the major gifting or sale periods such as Black Friday, Boxing Day, Mother’s Day, Christmas or Easter is the best example of this. 

Consider Father’s Day, which is held on the first Sunday of September every year. In the lead-up to that, searches for keywords such as [fathers day gifts] and [best gifts for dad] are going to be at their highest before the event. However, once Father’s Day is over, it is extremely unlikely that people will be searching for those terms again until next year.

However, if you only look at the average monthly search volume for these terms, it would suggest that users are still using these keywords consistently around the year.

Virality of Topic

Topics that become newsworthy, whether that's through social media, celebrities or mainstream media, are likely to see huge seasonal keyword shifts. A key example of a viral product that surged in popularity was fidget spinners in 2017. After quickly becoming a smash hit on Instagram, Snapchat and the newly-launched TikTok, interest in the topic skyrocketed from its first viral posts in early 2017 until its peak in May 2017. The interest in the product then rapidly declined, falling into the pop-culture history books a few months later.

But what does this mean for SEO? With the increasing interest in the product on social media, keyword search volumes naturally grew. Users were searching for products, how to do tricks, how to clean their products and more. Brands that were able to leverage these viral keyword trends were able to target these users and increase their revenue in line with the trend.

Consumer Trends

Overarching consumer trends, whether it’s due to economic, environmental or social factors can also impact keyword search volumes. During the COVID-19 pandemic, in the first wave of the restrictions in 2020, a number of casual clothing keyword terms saw large search volume increases. 

Why? With a large portion of Australia’s population being restricted to their homes, trackpants, hoodies, t-shirts and sports leggings became our go-to day-to-day outfits. Conversely, clothing categories such as suits and event dresses (e.g. cocktail dresses), saw large search volume declines due to not needing them for work and not being able to participate in these events.

How Do I Get Keyword Trend Data?

There are multiple ways to quickly capture keyword trend data, with the easiest being Google Trends. Simply put in the topic or keyword and it will display an aggregate interest metric which is a culmination of search volume and other factors. That being said, Google Trends doesn’t offer month-by-month breakdowns in search volume—that needs to be calculated from other tools.

Alongside Google Trends, specialised SEO tools such as SEMRush, Moz, Ahrefs and BrightEdge can also provide trends data for selected keywords.

However, for the best results, the Pattern SEO team uses a combination of SEO and SEM tools to capture granular, month-by-month keyword data so you can identify trends, grow revenue and better target users when they're searching for your products—all of which is presented in an easy-to-use, interactive spreadsheet.

For more information on how Pattern can accelerate your SEO strategy, contact us now.

People of Pattern - Ellie Dolphin
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Ellie Dolphin, Brand Manager: People of Pattern

At Pattern, we believe the key to success is our team members. Our PeopleofPattern series shines a light on the people that make Pattern great, learning about their roles, experiences, and what it’s like to work at Pattern. This week we spoke with Ellie Dolphin, Brand Manager in our London office. Could you tell me a bit about your role and experience working at Pattern? I work as a Brand Manager in the Brand Management team here in Pattern’s London office. I’ve been working here for two years now, having started in 2020. I act as the main point of contact for our brand partners, in my case I work with Rituals. I work as their key stakeholder within the business to help them liaise with all of our other functions. This includes our merchandising team, ordering team, advertising team, the warehouse team, and operations team, so it is a beast of a task! This alignment ensures the brand’s business is optimised and we are making good commercial decisions to hit their objectives on marketplaces like Amazon. Why do you choose to work at Pattern? My previous role was quite different to where I am today. I previously worked in a translation team, so we were always reacting to decisions that other people made and translating work that they’d made for other marketplaces. What I liked about Pattern, was that I would be the driver instead. Here, I get to drive forward the strategy and tactics for my brand partners that are best for them on the platform. In my role as a Brand Manager I am no longer reactive to other’s actions, I get to be really proactive and make key decisions. This suits me really well and has helped me develop as a person in terms of my commercial and strategic knowledge. I have learnt a lot about ecommerce in general and also about Amazon and marketplaces specifically, which has been really beneficial for my personal development. What has been the most rewarding part of working at Pattern for you? For me, it’s when I get positive feedback from my partners and when I’m able to cultivate a good relationship with them as well. When a brand partner is succeeding on marketplaces, it means we’re both winning. Pattern is winning, and most importantly our brand partners are winning as well. It feels great knowing that our team has helped them, such as supporting them in achieving their internal goals or sharing data that allows them to validate trends they see in other areas of their business. I enjoy championing my brand partner’s best interests and being their advocate. What does a typical day as a Brand Manager look like? One of the best things about being a brand manager is that no two days look the same. For me, it’s normally reviewing how my brand partner’s business is performing as a whole, so how my listings are appearing, how sales are performing, and then seeing if there are any opportunities to drive more sales in the short term. I plan for new product launches, coordinating with the creative team for new assets, or with the ordering team for forecasting what we might need to order, or with the overseas team on actually setting up those listings and getting them live. I also look at the bigger picture, thinking about the brand’s biggest goals for marketplaces and what our strategy will be in order to achieve this over the next quarter and year, The other part would be communicating with the brand partners themselves, to make sure they are aware of all developments and updates in the business, they have all the information they need to make decisions on their side, and that they are confident in what we’re doing and aware of the results. Why would you recommend working at Pattern? Like I said earlier, the days are really varied and interesting. This is great from a working perspective. For me, it’s also the people I work with. Pattern is a really social company, which makes coming into the office and getting through the work day really enjoyable. I’m actually in the social committee, a responsibility I really enjoy. I love getting the team involved in all the activities that we do. We enjoy going to the pub together, participating in charity races, we have our own Pattern bar in the London office called the Pattern & Crown where we host events each month, there’s lots of things that we all enjoy getting involved in as a team - it’s great. We’re growing our team at Pattern! If you're looking to start a career in ecommerce or even if you're a seasoned professional and want to learn more about our exciting opportunities, check out [our open positions here](https://pattern.com/about/careers/).

Pattern UAE Shopper Report 2022 Cover Image
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Shopper trends and growth opportunities for brands in the United Arab Emirates

Pattern’s 2022 Amazon United Arab Emirates (UAE) shopper research has highlighted the consumer habits in the region, and demonstrated why it is fast becoming one of the most exciting growth opportunities for brands selling online. We surveyed UAE online shoppers at the beginning of 2022 to determine how their shopper behaviour was likely to develop during the year compared to 2021. We compiled our findings in the UAE Shopper Report 2022 and share the most interesting insights shown below. Shoppers have an appetite to spend Online spending in the UAE is set to see a year-on-year increase during 2022. Overall, 74% of online shoppers polled said they would spend more online shopping this year compared to 2021. A further 19% expected to spend the same as in 2021, with just 6% expected to spend less. Of the 74% who expect to spend more during 2022, nearly half (47%) said this figure was likely to be a lot more. Online marketplaces lead the way More respondents expected to purchase online this year from Amazon or Noon than other online retailers for every major product category, including fashion, consumer electronics, home and kitchen, and beauty. For example, in the consumer electronics category, 61% of online shoppers expect to buy from Amazon, and 42% from Noon. In comparison, only 14% expect to buy online from retailers with both stores and a website. For home and kitchen, 60% expect to buy from Amazon, 46% from Noon and just 18% to buy online from retailers with a store and website. This pattern is mirrored in many other categories. Amazon opens new doors The opportunity for consumers to discover new products and brands through Amazon is evident. 42% of Amazon.ae shoppers purchased a product from a brand that they had never purchased before. Our findings show that Amazon.ae is a great platform for brands to raise their profile amongst UAE’s online shoppers. Our UAE Shopper Report shows the growing popularity of Amazon in the region, with shoppers using Amazon to find new products and discover new brands. With increases in usage, spending and Prime membership across almost all age groups, Amazon.ae is a platform where consumer brands must build a strong presence if they want to achieve Middle Eastern sales growth. The UAE’s ecommerce market size is predicted to grow from US$10 billion in 2021, to US$17 billion in 2025, reinforcing the opportunity for brands to achieve profitable growth in the region. Download the full [2022 UAE Shopper Report](https://info.pattern.com/uae-shopper-report-2022) to learn more about the insights we have gained from this research.

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