Planning your 2018 seasonal marketing calendar

Do you know when you need to start planning for seasonal events in 2018?

Whether you’re looking to take advantage of seasonality for products, services or campaigns, it’s important to know when you need to have your content ready and when you need to be talking about seasonal events.

One way of finding this out is to look at how consumers are using search engines to research seasonal events and activities.

Knowing when people are thinking about it helps to set out a timeline to prepare your content on time.

See our infographic and read our summary of when you should be talking about events below, or read the full report by sending yourself a PDF at the bottom of this post.

Planning your seasonal marketing calendar


Search trends for seasonal events to guide your marketing calendar

 Below are highlights from our seasonal marketing search trend research findings.    

You can download the PDF and email to yourself a copy of the report for free at the bottom of this page to read later.      

Valentine’s Day 2018: Wednesday 14 February

Valentine’s Day has one of the smallest search volumes as compared to other popular seasonal events.

This may largely be due to people already knowing what they are going to buy with the typical flowers and chocolate combination!     Looking at the search trend for 'Valentine's Day' as an exact match search term below, you can see that it shows a much more representative trend for dropping off immediately after the day.

Don’t let this burst your bubble of love – Valentine’s Day still has a search volume of about 300k in February, which isn’t small fry!    

People start to look for Valentine’s Day content in January, so your content should be ready in December.

Mother’s Day 2018: Sunday 11 March

Mother’s Day moves around every year with traffic for related terms spiking in February/March.

With one of the highest search volumes at its peak– as compared to other seasonal events - it outperforms Christmas search volume in December.

This may be in part due to a very targeted nature of Mother's Day with a specific type of gift and inspiration needed from consumers.  

There’s also a smaller peak for May, which can be attributed to Mother’s Day in other countries - this is worth bearing in mind if you have an international audience.

For Mother’s Day, search volume typically starts 10 weeks prior to the date.

This means that in 2018, Mother’s Day content should be ready to launch early in the New Year.

Easter 2018: Sunday 1 April

Another seasonal event that moves around the calendar is Easter.

In 2016 (data shown in the graph in the bottom of our graphic), Easter fell on Sunday 27 March, which is comparable to where it will sit in 2018.

Easter content still has a relatively good search volume in January, so it’s advisable to have content ready by the end December.

Father’s Day 2018: Sunday 17 June

People start to look for Father’s Day content from March – this is likely to be spurred on as a reminder from Mother’s Day!

For this reason, it’s a good idea to have content ready by the end of February, ready to capitalise on any Mother’s Day traffic that you get to subtly let them know that you also have Father’s Day content too.

Halloween 2018: Wednesday 31 October

As Halloween has a larger search volume than Christmas (who’d have thought?), we’ve investigated Halloween in more detail in comparison to Christmas.

Halloween had 11.4 million related searches in the UK in October 2016 as compared to Christmas’ 7.3 million related searches in December 2016.

You can read more about these findings in our Halloween is more popular than Christmas post.

Get your spook on by the end of July for Halloween content.

Black Friday 2018: Friday 23 November (mid-grey week Monday 19 November – Friday 23 November)

People start to search for Black Friday related content from October, making it the shortest and sharpest seasonal event.

That shouldn’t come as a surprise given its ‘now you see it, now you don’t’ nature.

At first, forecasters thought that Britain may be falling out of love with Black Friday, but Barclaycard (which processes nearly half of all debit and credit cards in the UK) estimated that Black Friday spending finished up 8% on 2016 [source: The Guardian].

Although reporters are also suggesting that Black Friday is transforming into a longer sale period in-store, lasting the entire week before black Friday which is being coined as ‘mid-grey week’.

This gives stores a greater chance of increasing sales without creating an elbow-driven raucous of a one-day sale.

We recently looked into the mobile search trends for retail sales– including Black Friday verses sales which is well worth a read.

If you’re going to take part in Black Friday, or mid-grey week, your content should be ready by September.

Christmas 2018: Tuesday 25 December

Christmas has one of the longest run ups in terms of search volume. With major brands hosting ‘Christmas in July’ PR events, it’s no surprise that people start to search for Christmas related content from August.

This means that your Christmas content should be ready by the end of July.

Of course, you may not want to release seasonal adverts, but a drip feeding of seasonal content from August should satisfy those that are searching for it.

In terms of the impact of Christmas on UK retail sales, the total retail volume of sales in Q4 attributes to 30% of annual sales with over 12% of sales being made in December [ONS data VoINSAT].  

Data discussion and drawbacks

Although it's really useful to know the search interest in a topic to make sure your content is up ready for an influx of visitors, in the interest of being open and honest, it's worth also considering its drawbacks.

As the data was compiled by searching for seasonal search terms in Google Adwords (UK search data only), this only compiles searches that use those search terms in the users search query.

This means that people that are generically searching for 'gifts for 3 year old girls' for Christmas as an example, wouldn't be represented in the reported search trend. This may begin to explain why the Christmas search trend doesn't overpower the search landscape as you may think it would.

It's also worth considering the fact that seasonal films and books (such as The man who invented Christmas, and Bad Moms at Christmas) being released with the keywords in also heavily impact search volume and seasonality.

It also doesn't, on it's own, reflect seasonal sales trends. Instead, it suggests when people are interested in a seasonal topic, which you can take advantage of.  

Marketing Content Calendar Infographic:

2018 seasonal marketing calendar based on UK search trends


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08/05/2019 13:22:17