The Impact of Christmas on Metasearch Performance

Metasearch Performance Trends During Christmas

Christmas is an important time of the year for digital advertisers, and there is no shortage of importance when it comes to metasearch performance during Christmas. With Christmas signaling the last week of the year, it’s important to keep a close eye on performance to ensure your properties spend to their budget while maintaining all of your KPIs. Now that the Christmas holiday has come to a close, it’s an appropriate time to reflect on performance and determine: were you on the naughty or nice list this year?

Please note, the data presented in the following points is aggregated across several accounts and focuses solely on Google Hotel Ads.

Trends We Anticipated This Christmas

Looking at historical data, we anticipated the following trends:

  • 5-10% reduction in CPCs due to reduced competition
  • 30-40% reduction in organic search volume (slightly less if your traffic is more globalized, slightly more if you are North American-centric)
  • 10-15% relative reduction in conversion rates (CVR)
  • 5-10% decrease in click-through rate (CTR)
  • Minimal impact on the revenue per booking (RPB)

Based on of these predictions, the analysts at Koddi set out to create tailored holiday bid strategies.

Trends We Saw This Christmas

With the final data pouring in this morning, we are now able to compare our predictions against the actual performance to determine our accuracy.

  • Flat to 5% reduction in CPCs for similar exposure levels
  • 26-36% reduction in organic search volume
  • 10-30% reduction in conversion rates
  • Flat to 5% increase in click-through rates
  • Flat to 10% reduction in revenue per booking

Directionally, the results were in line with our expectations. Where we saw the highest “risk,” however, was in the greater drop to conversion rate than anticipated. Coupled with minimal reductions to CPC and slight reductions in RPB, advertisers that approached the Christmas holiday as they did every other week woke up Christmas morning with coal in their stocking. Fortunately, we implemented strategies that mitigated the vast majority of this risk.

Digging into the performance of Christmas weekend, we saw the following as the most interesting trends this Christmas: non-US search queries, destinations with the largest increase, and traffic impact by device type.

Non-Domestic Search Queries

Unsurprisingly, the US saw a large dip in searches during the Christmas holiday (with reductions to CVR, CTR, and RPB similar to the numbers noted above). What was interesting to see, though, was how large non-domestic markets looked period over period.

Non-domestic search queries on Google Hotel Ads

Most notable this Christmas was that the reductions in volume and performance occurred not just domestically, but across the majority of foreign markets as well. This drop off in foreign markets contributed to the higher than average CVR and eligible impression drop off.

Destinations: Naughty or Nice List

The majority of US destinations made Santa’s naughty list this year. The five largest metasearch markets (by state) are shown below and the changes period over period we saw to certain KPIs.

Hotel Metasearch Holiday Trends

Device Type Traffic Impact

One of the most shocking changes period over period was the massive drop off in eligible impressions that occurred on desktop. This drop off was magnified by the fact that Christmas fell on a Monday, which historically sees heightened desktop activity.

Google Hotel Ads Holiday Performance by Device Type

Advertisers who did not plan for this massive drop off in desktop volume were left out in the snow on Christmas.

Metasearch Performance During the Holidays

Making sure you have a plan in place for all holidays is important, especially in a field as constantly changing as metasearch. Utilizing third-party software like Koddi not only can help garner additional insights into your data and performance, but it can also provide an additional level of support as a strategic lead on how to approach each holiday season. There is still a lot of opportunity remaining for the travel industry in the closing days of 2017, and ensuring your campaign is set up appropriately to capitalize on it can make a world of difference.

Did your Christmas performance fall short of expectations? We’d love to help get your campaign on the right track for 2018!

Metasearch Performance Trends During Christmas