One of the most interesting aspects about managing online advertising campaigns is seeing how internet users use search engines – in other words, what they search for and when.
Not surprisingly, the weather as well as specific events (be it elections, live entertainment events, holidays, etc.) have a strong influence on what people are searching for online. As part of our work with the EW_SHOPP project, we have developed a study analyzing the dependencies of the weather and specific events on people’s habits.
And with Valentine’s Day upon us, we thought it would be interesting to look back at our historical data and see what happened on Valentine’s day. We want to share with you some light-hearted examples of how users search on Google around this sweet (and highly commercial) time of the year.
Obviously, there are subtle differences depending on the country and event in question. Here we will consider data from February 2016 in Madrid, Spain.
Restaurant or Take-out
Looking at our data in the last few years, in the DiningNightLife category, we have seen, unsurprisingly, a strong correlation between the weather and people going out to restaurants to have dinner.
In the figure below, you will see the impressions of this category during February 2016. As we could’ve predicted, the queries related to Dining out rose dramatically in the days leading up to Valentine’s day, peaking on February 14th, this, encouraged as well by the weather, with an incredibly rainy couple of days right before, encouraging people to go outside once the rain stopped. It would be interesting to compare it to another Valentine’s Day with a different weather pattern. Are people braving the rain to take their loved ones to dinner on that specific date?
We then took a look at the keyword “Hamburguesa en casa” (Literally “Burger at home”) during the same period of time, and we discovered that this particular query is completely correlated to that same rainy couple of days we mentioned before, passing from 1-4 impressions per day to reach 10 (more than twice). Unsurprisingly, we see very low volumes for that keyword on February 14th. Apparently, people don’t have “romantic” burgers at home on Valentine’s Day.
The same pattern can be applied to other “at-home” activities like films on-demand, online shopping, etc. People spending time at home browse more online. For that reason, these types of companies may increase their investment in marketing campaigns during these days to improve the AdRank and reach their audience at the right moment.
Now it is obviously easier to follow the event calendar (Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween, etc.) than the weather. However, thanks to the advances in weather forecasting, becoming more and more accurate, digital marketing managers can use it to better optimize and schedule their marketing campaigns and reach higher impact in the relevant categories.
To shave or not to shave
Given that events differ in nature, it should come as no great surprise that different categories will be affected at different moments. At JOT, we closely track performance at category level, and we noticed an interesting pattern in the Beauty & Personal Care category related to Valentine’s Day.
As you can see in the graph below, there seems to be a clear correlation between the number of impressions of the keyword “shavers” and February 14th.
There is a steady increase leading up to this date, followed by an abrupt drop. Whether users are searching for shavers for personal grooming use or – more likely – as a potential present, this can’t be ignored.
So here you go, a few examples of what Valentine’s Day search queries look like. One question remains: What are you going to search for today?