Tis’ The Season: When to Start Marketing Your Seasonal Product

Seasonal products can be tricky for a business when it comes to marketing.  It’s important that businesses with seasonal products know when to start telling their audience about their product and know when to begin ramping up their promotions in order to reach the most customers. You may be a business that has many seasonal products that are being released at all different times throughout the year. In this case, marketing efforts need to be consistently cycled according to the season. Your product may also rely on holidays and seasons to leverage your audience which could be anything from a restaurant offering a spring menu to a retail store selling flip-flops in the summer.  Either way, seasons and Holidays can be a powerful tool to help promote your product or service in a different light.

The Analysis

I wanted to take a series of “very seasonal” products and look at when people start searching for these products. I am using google search trends to get an idea of the general timespan of when these products start to ramp up in search traffic followed by some specific businesses and a look at when their search traffic increases during the year.

I am going to take the following products and attempt to get an average time of when search traffic increases for the time-period they are most noted for. These are based on 2015 dates.

  • Fireworks for July 4th (Independence Day)
  • Costumes for October 31st (Halloween)
  • Valentine Card for February 14th (Valentine’s Day)
  • Mardi Gras Beads for February 17th

Disclaimer: This is a quick analysis of these trends to get a general idea of when people start searching for a seasonal product vs. when businesses start promoting their seasonal product. This is an example of topics we research for our clients and any results we would gather from this data would just be a jumping off point for more in-depth research. You can read more about what we do here.

The Analysis

The following graph shows the time when search trends begin to ramp up in relation to the timespan to the date where the products are the most relevant.

Fireworks for July 4th

sam_adams_summer_ale

For this trend graph, Fireworks may refer to those buying fireworks but also those seeking out locations to watch fireworks. Although the search traffic doesn’t change, the metric may be important for what perspective your business is coming from. Selling a 4th of July special on your restaurant menu will be different than selling a specific 4th of July product like American Flag T-Shirts.

Average Customer Search Trend Timespan for Fireworks = 20 Daysf

Costumes for Halloween

costumes_halloween

Customers are full of variety. In this case you have some customers who start getting ready for  Halloween in early September and then others who wait till the weekend before. For the sake of this blog post, we can call these “Early Birds” and “Average Audience” respectively.

Early Planners – Search Trend Timespan Aug. 30 – Oct. 31st = 62 Days
Average Customers – Search Trend Timespan Oct. 11 – Oct. 31st = 20 Days

 

Valentine’s Day Cards

valentines_card

It’s best not to be on the downsloping part of this trend, but we can start to see a common thread between these seasonal products and their search traffic.

Search Trend timespan Jan. 17th – Feb. 14th = 28 Days

Mardi Gras Beads for Mardi Gras

mardi_gras_beads

There are 2 time spans for this as well differentiating those who plan early and the customers who start searching later. This may be the difference between those planning to travel, those throwing their own Mardi Gras event, or just those attending an event.

Early Bird Search Trend Timespan – 12/20 – 2/17 = 59 Days
Average customer Search Trend Timespan – 1/17 – 2/17 = 31 Days

These are all very specific products for their respective holidays. I tried to keep the products similar in type. For example, a holiday like Thanksgiving is more of a food Holiday, therefore searches for Turkey will happen a lot closer to the date because people aren’t going to start purchasing Turkeys to cook a month beforehand since they will spoil. Also something like Christmas lights is tougher to gauge since people will start putting them up a month beforehand.

By targeting these specific Holidays we can see that there is a trend in when search traffic increases compared to when the actual holiday date is. For the early bird customers, shown for Mardi Gras and Halloween, the search traffic begins to ramp up about 60 days before the event. For the average customer, the search traffic averages out to 25 days before the event.

I’ve picked these categories of products because they are simple to look at. However, looking at your business’s seasonal product might be a little more difficult and may take more research. For example, judging a seasonal product like Sam Adams Summer Ale does not show the same trend. In fact, it appears that searches ramp up a week after they are released.

Sam Adams Summer Ale

sam_adams_summer_ale

According to Time’s Beer Guide, this popular seasonal beer is released on March 15th but the search traffic doesn’t begin until March 22nd, 7 days later. It would be interesting to look into if the beer is promoted before the launch date to increase search traffic, or if it’s not promoted till after its release.

 

Let’s look at specifics.

I was curious to take one of these general products and look into a top manufacturer of that product to see how their website traffic increases in comparison to the general traffic. I’ve chosen to look into Phantom Fireworks, who is a very large fireworks company out of Ohio that also has a lot of stores in the mid-atlantic and throughout the US (they also own the domain fireworks.com).

Below is a graph of website traffic to www.fireworks.com in 2015. It shows that the peak of website traffic happens in early June, which correlates to the search trends that we found above.

fireworks_com

In Conclusion

This data is important for looking at when a business should begin marketing their product and pushing out creative content to get the most out of their seasonal product. This data can be combined with even more granular, internal sales data to provide more detailed results in on the effectiveness of your marketing.

Black Label takes public data, combines it with internal sales data to measure the effectiveness of your marketing. We then provide creative content solutions and a strategy to show that it works. Learn more about what we do here and contact us to see how we can help track your seasonal product and develop effective content to reach more customers throughout the year.

Author: Brent Hoffmann

Brent has a diverse background in graphic design, software development, and business strategy. With over 15 years of experience in the industry, he helps clients find solutions to technology problems, develop their content strategy and find ways to help them grow.

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