The Changing Face of DIY PPC: Seasonality Is Key

Lorna Gill Posted by Lorna Gill

With a cluster of bank holidays falling between April and May, this stretch of the calendar is a popular one for DIY maintenance. Here, we’ll take a look at how exactly keyword trends have developed and shifted over this two-month period.

Back in March, I predicted that Easter weekend would be the most popular bank holiday for DIY shopping and spending.

I assumed that customers would check for items online in the week leading up to the event and head in-store to purchase items on the weekend itself — or, alternatively, just pre-order the items they wanted in an effort to make the shopping experience less stressful.

Did my prediction turn out to be correct? To figure this out, I’ve analysed how nine different DIY specialists used PPC to leverage their brand in the week leading up to Easter, the early May bank holiday, and the late May bank holiday.

With this information in mind, I was able to see which time period had the most DIY-related clicks and identify the most popular items for sponsored search across the three long weekends.

Easter Bank Holiday Weekend

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During Easter weekend – which spanned from a Friday to the following Monday – competitors gained the most clicks from fire surrounds, b and q kitchens, b&q kitchens, pergola, draught excluder, tools, and wallpaper.

The fact that all of these keywords except “pergola” lend themselves to indoor activities doesn’t come as a surprise – the forecast for Easter weekend involved little sunshine, and even some rain. Although the weather improved over the weekend, customers still proved wary of plans for any outdoor activities.

Easter was the only time that competitors bid on full kitchen refit-related keywords. Although kitchen cabinets was a relatively popular keyword string at the end of the first May bank holiday, it still didn’t get nearly as many clicks then as it did in April.KitchensatHomebase

Around Easter, many DIY retailers were offering discounts on kitchens, yet B&Q wasn’t the only company bidding on its own brand’s kitchens, as Homebase also bid heavily on the term in a clear case of brand infringement.

This trend did not continue throughout the rest of April or into May, however, so B&Q clearly put a quick stop to it.

Early May Bank Holiday Weekend

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During the early May bank holiday – between May 2 and May 4 – summer-related DIY activities started to creep into the top-clicked keywords list. Although, strangely, fire surrounds still led the pack, almost all popular keywords from this period related to outside DIY jobs.

It’s not surprising that fire surrounds were popular throughout April and May – as the weather warms up, people are no longer using their fireplaces, so they can replace the surrounds without fear of losing heat in their homes.

Perhaps the most noticeable aspect of the early May bank holiday data is that the share of overall clicks was significantly higher than for both the Easter and late May bank holiday weekends. While fire surrounds racked up 1,994 clicks over the entire week leading up to Easter, it had 3,591 clicks during this weekend alone.

Similarly, although fence panels earned 3,358 clicks in early May, that particular keyword string didn’t even show up amongst the top terms for Easter or the late May holiday.

What this tells us is that customers embarked on far more DIY projects over the early May bank holiday than the Easter one, when more people likely went out of town or spent time with friends and family.

We should also keep in mind that, as 2015’s first bank holiday in the UK – aside from New Year’s Day – Easter is a time when lots of customers want to relax, armed with the knowledge that there are many more to come in the months ahead.

Of the many who did decide to delay their DIY plans until perhaps the second holiday, they were greeted with slightly better weather, making them even more inclined to start outdoor projects.

Late May Bank Holiday

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The final bank holiday weekend, May 25 – 27, covered a mix of both internal and external DIY terms. Fire surrounds was still the top keyword string, alongside pergola with 1,355 clicks. Lawn mowers, however, became the most popular term.

Kitchen cabinets also gained some traction, while plaster coving and joist hangers made their debuts, suggesting that internal home improvement was high up on the menu this time around.

And it seems like many spent this shorter bank holiday doing smaller upkeep jobs in the garden before the summer, rather than bigger jobs like decking, paving, or fence installation.

As most people had (hopefully) turned their heating off for the season, radiator covers unsurprisingly made an appearance near the top of the rankings. The time of year could also explain why fire surrounds rose so high up the charts, too.

Because this late May holiday is the last one before the end of August, it’s once again likely that customers refrained from doing any big jobs, and instead spent their time enjoying the relatively nice weather.

What Does This Data Tell Us?

Although I’ll admit that the trend varied slightly from my prediction, it’s still interesting to see how dramatically both the slight shift in weather and the distribution of holidays throughout the year affected what people decided to search for – it seems the smallest changes in circumstance can dramatically alter what people want.

To this end, Adthena’s competitive intelligence for search allows you to compare the performance of various keywords and competitors over different periods of time, making sure you’re always aware of market trends and spending your PPC wisely.

We’ll revisit the bank holiday DIY subject after the August and October bank holidays to see if this seasonality continues throughout 2015 and help you form a strategy for tackling the highest periods of DIY spending in the UK.

Main image credit: alexander_boden/flickr)

About the author

Lorna Gill
Lorna Gill
Lorna is responsible for acquisition marketing at Adthena, communicating their award-winning product and generating demand. She has developed her career in fast-paced, start-up environments, including two tech track 100 companies and is passionate about translating technical information into stories that excite and delight.