The internet is bracing for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the two biggest eCommerce days of the year. While the eCommerce giants like Amazon, Wal-Mart and eBay are ready for their largest traffic spike of the year; other online industries should be using this downtime to prepare for New Year’s Eve and more importantly, the New Year’s Resolution Phenomenon.
I define the New Year’s Resolution Phenomenon as the 2 - 6 weeks following New Year’s Eve, when the internet goes abuzz as users search for ways to fulfill their New Year’s Resolution. During this time, traffic goes through the roof for certain industries while others come to a screeching halt.
For example, this time of year (Jan - Feb) is peak season for traffic related to dieting & weight loss, online education, travel, and smoking cessation. Specifically in the travel industry, I’ve seen businesses that would generate over 50% of their annual lead volume between Jan 1 and Feb 10th. Their traffic would drop in mid-February when Cupid casts his love spell on the internet and everyone is searching for last-minute flower deliveries, chocolates and eCards. We’ll save that for another post.
Back to the New Year’s Resolution phenomenon; using Google Trends, I have provided some screen shots below which show annual traffic trends related to each of the aforementioned industries.
Dieting & Weight Loss
Looking at the chart below, you can clearly notice the spike in “weight loss” traffic at the beginning of each year. “Weight loss” traffic during the NYE Resolution phenomenon even surpasses the amount of traffic in the peak summer months, when people are (or should be) most concerned about fitting into their swim suits.
You will also notice a similar trend for keywords related to dieting and gym memberships.
A similar trend is noticeable when reviewing traffic trends for “Online Degree” and career changing keywords like “resume examples”. Annual seasonality in the Online Education space starts with a large spike in traffic during the NYE Resolution Phenomenon, and then sees another increase in traffic during the “Back to School” months of July, August & September. But notice, the increase in the “Back to School” months is not as high as the peak in January.
An industry that sees even greater spikes during the NYE Resolution Phenomenon is the Travel and Tourism industry. Some families may use their remaining Christmas gift budget to book a vacation in the New Year, others may use an early tax return, or newly-wed spouses are thinking “Hey honey, let’s go on vacation next year”; traffic related to “Book a vacation” or “Flights to Florida” peaks January & February, then drops significantly as we move into March and the spring months.
Lastly, we all have a friend, sibling, uncle, spouse, or in my case a Grandpa that says “I’m going to quit smoking this year”, every year. And they never quit. Yup, even that guy contributes to the New Year’s Resolution Phenomenon. Notice the HUGE spikes below related to “quit smoking” traffic which only last for the first couple of days in January then traffic sharply declines.
If your industry is affected by the NYE Resolution Phenomenon, I hope your marketing teams are preparing for this surge of traffic. If you are unsure if your industry is affected, use the following sites to check trends on keywords related to your website and/or your competitor’s website:
Tools to check Search Traffic Trends
www.google.com/trends clues.yahoo.com www.compete.com www.quantcast.com
For those of us in search who are preparing for this wave, I hope you enjoy the long weekend with the family. There are many long nights ahead of us.
Stay tuned to the SEER Blog where we will add some additional posts between now and New Year’s Eve regarding how to leverage paid search and social media advertising to capture this traffic.
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!