Another Mother’s Day has come and gone, with online retailers seeing an influx of traffic and consumer interest. As expected, there was active searching for traditional Mother’s Day gifts such as flowers, food and beverage baskets, and jewelry. And, also as expected, marketers took advantage of this opportunity and expanded their paid search efforts to drive traffic to their sites and generate online sales.

Historically, Mother’s Day has been the the top holiday for flower purchases – even over Valentine’s Day. The National Retail Federation (NRF) expected $2.3 billion in spend in 2014 on Mother’s Day compared to only $1.9 billion on Valentine’s Day.

In addition, the NRF reports that 3 in 10 Mother’s Day gift buyers head to the internet to make their purchases.

Knowing this, online retailers, specifically those specializing in flower arrangements and accessories, were able to hone in on targeted Mother’s Day searches to generate conversions and sales.

While flowers are still one of the number one selling items on Mother’s Day, this year, online retailers expanded their reach to account for unorthodox Mother’s Day gifts. Most advertisers were still bidding on traditional Mother’s Day terms such as “mother’s day gifts,” but some stepped out of the box to intercept nontraditional searches such as “unique gifts”. With less competition on these types of terms, retailers were able to get a higher return for their investment.

According to Lighthouse, retailers not only tailored standard paid search messaging to align with Mother’s Day, but also utilized Google’s Product Listing Ads (PLAs) to draw in consumers with high intent. As shown in the image below, advertisers such as Harry & David and 1-800-Flowers ran these sponsored ads, offering special Mother’s Day products.

Mother's Day Image

Source: Lighthouse

More and more advertisers are opting in to this ad format, specifically around key retail events including Mother’s Day. In fact, Kenshoo saw substantial growth and engagement with PLAs during the 2013 end-of-the-year shopping season with a 138% YoY increase in total PLA spend.

For those advertisers that may not have taken advantage of the increase in online searches on Mother’s Day this year, Father’s Day is right around the corner! The same basic principles can apply to your Father’s Day paid search efforts with a few small tweaks.

Here are some tips to drive paid search performance during your next retail event:

– Test Product Listing Ads (PLAs) and review your images for maximum impact.
– Create tailored messaging to include holiday-specific offers.
– Bump up bids and budgets to account for increased competition.
– Expand keywords to include holiday-specific terms and think outside the box to           consider more nontraditional keywords.

As with most retail events, Mother’s Day offered a chance for advertisers to intercept consumers with high intent via tailored search terms. As a retailer, those who expand their reach during these holiday events and provide accurate, up-to-date information within their paid search ads can help to drive incremental online traffic and sales, while those who choose not to create custom messaging and programs may miss out a great deal of qualified traffic and opportunity.