It can sometimes be tempting to let your online advertising campaigns run on auto-pilot, especially when they seem to be performing well. You should always try to resist that urge, though, because your competition may be ready to take advantage of any opportunities that may arise while you rest on your laurels. Such opportunities are often present in the form of seasonal changes in your audience.

Discovering Seasonality

One of the most clear (and literal) examples of seasonality can be found in the heating and air conditioning advertising space. Google’s Keyword Planner can show us exactly how those trends occur over time. A simple search for “air conditioner repair” gives us the following data:

Air Conditioning Repair Average Monthly Searches
Unsurprisingly, searches for the term spike during the warm months of the summer.

As you might expect, the opposite trend appears in the data for “heating repair”:

Heating Repair Average Monthly Searches
Again, unsurprisingly, heating repair searches occur more often during cold months.

If you offer any product or service that has seasonal demand changes, these kinds of reports can offer you insight into when you should raise or lower bids, change your ad copy, or shift budget between different keyword sets. If you’re already running online ads, you should look at your long term reporting to see if there are any peaks or valleys in your impressions or clicks that could be explained by seasonal changes. If not, you can use the data from Google or Bing’s keyword research tools to find these trends.

If the data is available, you should run reports constrained to your geography to ensure that you’re seeing trends that are relevant to the customers you’re trying to serve. Air conditioning search data from Ohio is going to be much different than what you’ll find in Texas.

Taking Advantage

Once you’ve identified a seasonal trend, you’ll want to create a strategy to take advantage of it. If you discover that keywords within an individual ad group are showing a range of different seasonal trends it will likely make sense to separate those keywords into their own ad groups based on those trends. For example, a heating and air conditioning company shouldn’t have all of their keywords lumped into a single “HVAC” ad group. Those keywords should be separated by specialty and/or seasonality. This is considered a best practice anyway and seasonality data can help guide you in the right direction.

Once your ad groups are properly organized, you should make sure that all of your ads reflect the keyword sets in those ad groups. This will ensure that searchers are seeing relevant ads, which means you’ll see higher click-through rates.

If all of your ad groups are organized and your ads are cleaned up, seasonal changes in traffic should be considered as a prompt to raise or lower bids. Competition will inevitably get stronger as a keyword’s popularity rises and will get weaker as that popularity wanes. Staying on top of the trends will ensure that your ads remain in a prominent position in search results when it matters most. It will also prevent you from wasting spend on keywords by overbidding on them during a seasonal valley.