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Sweet and Sour: Valentines, Taxes Offer Selling Opportunities

The rapidly receding 2014 holidays yield to the latest concerns for ecommerce pros – preparing tax forms for their employees and heartfelt wishes for their loved ones; in many small businesses, these people may be one and the same. But tax time and Valentine’s Day also present the adept online seller with unique opportunities.

At the Bing Ads blog, Shelby Gagnon reminded advertisers that Valentine’s Day searching and shopping gets more intense the closer the calendar gets to February 14th.

“On the Yahoo Bing Network, Valentine-related searches begin to rise during the first week in February, as last-minute Cupids get busy. Some of them are still searching on February 14,” she said. Also noted – 51 percent of gifts for the holiday are purchased in the days right before the big day.

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It’s a short selling period coupled with what has been an impressive $134 average spend in previous years according to the National Retail Federation. Gagnon indicated reasons to pay particular attention to potential mobile shoppers with discount and deal-oriented keywords, as smartphone shoppers on-the-go seek out deals.

The usual ideas for customizing ad copy apply. Sellers whose niches fit well with Valentine’s Day and can offer delivery by the holiday should emphasize that service.

Taxes may evoke a less than loving response in many people, but astute entrepreneurs in the tax field should be above those feelings. John Nietzel at Bing Adsnoted how January kicks off the time where employers ready W2 and 1099 forms for their employees and contractors, which means greater search activity for related subjects.

“Consumers also look at their overall financial situation and assess their options in insurance, loans and financial planning, so the impact of tax season goes far beyond tax preparation,” said Nietzel.

That impact may also hold a benefit for online sellers of all kinds, as some of those consumers could have money on the way and a desire to spend that perceived bonus cash. Advertisers may wish to work on attracting these newly flush customers.

Nietzel said, “Consumers are looking at their holiday bills and many want to get their federal and state tax returns in early, especially if they expect a refund. We see search spikes on these subjects in January and April, so start preparing your search campaigns now and test keywords in early January so you know how to optimize your campaigns.”

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David A Utter

David A. Utter is a freelance writer based in Lexington, KY. He has covered technology topics from search to security to online business and has been quoted in places like ZDNet and BusinessWeek. He considers his appearance on NPR’s “All Things Considered” with long-time host Robert Siegel a delightful highlight. You can find him on Twitter @davidautter and on LinkedIn.


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