The Holiday Search

Chris Tuleya - correct version260The days between Thanksgiving and the New Year is typically a period when people spend more time with family and friends and less time online. In the search marketing world this typically results in a significant dip in traffic for most categories outside of shopping, which peaks during this time. However, trends over the past few years indicate this dip is lessening each year, likely a result of the increased adoption of mobile search. Where search was previously tied to someone sitting in front of a computer, the growing market penetration of smart phone usage has eliminated this need. With this trend expected to continue in 2014, it is important that brands follow these simple rules to ensure they maximize the search opportunity going into the holiday season if it makes sense.

1. Have a mobile optimized site.

We are not talking about a mobile friendly site, but a site built for the mobile visitor. It may seem like a no brainer, but we have all experienced the frustration of visiting a site on our phone that wasn’t optimized for the device. As the 2014 holiday season quickly approaches, not having one could be a make it or break it mistake. According to eMarketer US retail mcommerce sales will increase from $58.07 billion in 2014 to $133.35 billion, more than double, by 2018. A recent study conducted by found that shoppers converted 160% more often on sites optimized for their website. 

2. Implement a targeted mobile search campaign.

We all know how important search can be at driving active, motivated visitors to your desktop website; the same can be said for a mobile optimized site. According to a 2013 study between Google and Nielsen, 48% of mobile researchers start on search engines. The key difference between a desktop and mobile search however is time. Mobile searchers typically have a more urgent and immediate need. The same Google & Nielsen study found that ‘over half of consumers want to make a purchase within an hour of conducting research on their smartphone.’ Therefore it is important to think local and think immediate.

3. Understand the value of a mobile visitor.

Whether your site measures success through sales or content consumption, it is important to understand what the true value of a visitor is to your mobile site. If success is based on sales, this understanding is straightforward. If you are looking at engagement or content consumption it may not be so simple. How users engage with a mobile device varies drastically from desktop and it may be worth investing in user research to understand their intent. Based on this the definition of intent can be better outlined to determine the true worth of a visitor.

As the holiday season approaches and mobile search continues to grow, it is never too late to begin thinking about the role search plays in your mobile efforts and how you can maximize the opportunity for your business.

Chris Tuleya is Vice President, eDR, at Underscore Marketing, a firm that creates and manages integrated marketing programs for health and healthy brands.