Today we are super excited to announce the release of keyword Seasonality and Forecasting inside Marmalead. Now it’s super simple to see how much shopper engagement Etsy seasonal keywords (or any keywords) have received over the past year – and how well we expect that keyword to do in the near future. In this Jam we’ll cover anything and everything you’d want to know about this new information you have at your fingertips. Stick around to learn how you can have even more Etsy shop success!
Seasonality & Forecasting
We’re going to talk about Seasonality first. What it is, how we’re defining it, and how you might make use of it as a seller. Then, we’ll be diving into Forecasting, how it works, and how you can use this to improve the keywords that you’re selecting for the listings in your shop.
When we say “Seasonality” you might be wondering what exactly we’re talking about. Seasonality is how things tend to ebb and flow. The way they build in popularity and then decrease. Sorta like popsicles in the summer or hot cocoa in the winter. 🙂 Both of these are very seasonal. You don’t see a lot of people having lemonade stands in January or drinking hot cocoa in the middle of the summer.
Holidays are also very seasonal and Gift giving holidays like Valentine’s Day are great examples of seasonality. At a certain point, products for holidays will really increase and take off. Then they will hit a point where they decrease and are finished for that season or holiday.
Keywords and seasonality
Specifically for those of us in the Etsy community, timing is everything. Knowing when customers are actually shopping/searching for keywords is extremely important. When are customers interested in certain products? You definitely don’t want to be in the position of missing those windows and basically having to give stuff away because the holiday (or season) is over. This is very common in large brick and mortar stores. Take Wal-Mart, the day after Easter, ALL their Easter products are put on massive sales. But as an Etsy seller you’re looking to avoid that kind of thing. What you need to know is when customers first start shopping for those seasonal items or products so you can be on their radar right from the beginning. This will allow you to maximize your selling season.
So, why are we showing seasonality inside of Marmalead now?
For a long time, sellers have been coming to Marmalead looking at the different search volume, engagement, and competition values that we have for keywords. In order to get a sense of how things move up and down, sellers have been tracking engagement information on their own in Marmalead. They’ve been creating their own spreadsheets and using those. Up until now, we’ve only had the Tracking tool which allows you to track up to 4 keywords over a period of time and across several different data points. But, what we’re offering now is an across the board change. Any keyword that you type into your Search Tool, will now show you seasonality information for that keyword! And bonus, the data you see will go back over a year, which is awesome!
A major time saver
For those of you out there that were spending time going through however many keywords you were tracking and manually writing those into your spreadsheets, you don’t have to do that anymore. This is going to be a HUGE time saver for you! This will be a much easier way of exploring new keywords. Maybe you’ve been tracking a keyword for ten months and then you go back and find a new keyword you hadn’t thought of and you’re wondering how it did over the last ten months. Now you’ll know right away! You won’t have to wait another ten months to track it on your own. You can see the historical performance of any keyword you search in Marmalead.
How do you use it practically?
There are so many ways! One way is to look back at Christmas keywords and see when Christmas started ramping up last year. Whenever it was last year will be a great indication of when it will start ramping up this year. What you don’t want to do is switch all your listings over in August to keywords that really won’t be used until October. The reason is that if you do, you’re cutting your August season and whatever is selling well in that month short. You want to align your products with whatever keywords are selling now. Be on time with the season you’re in. Being able to see seasonality will show you when things start picking up and allow you to make educated decisions for when you should start switching out your keywords so you can be in the right place at the right time.
A craft show example
Look at it this way: you’ve decided to set up a booth at a craft show. You’ve got everything ready to go and have a beautiful table set up to draw in your customers. But, you’ve decided that you’re going to set up your booth the weekend before the craft show actually starts. And then, you’re going to hang out all week, by yourself, in your booth. Even though you’ll have absolutely no customers.
This is what we don’t want to happen in your Etsy shop. What’s the point of “setting up your booth” in an empty space with no customers? This is not going to help you as a seller.
When it’s over
On the other end of things, you want to know when a season or holiday is finished. Don’t leave Christmas keywords on your listings when buyers are no longer using them! This is also not helpful for you. Get in there and replace those keywords that are no longer in season with keywords that are starting to ramp up, whatever those may be. Or, start leading into your next holiday season. The last thing you want to do is waste the spots on your listings with keywords that are no longer resonating with your customers. If your buyers have moved away from your current keywords, they’ve gone somewhere. So, where have your customers gone? Let’s go find them with current and relevant keywords.
Something else to look at
Another great thing to look at with seasonality is determining what the big holidays are for your products. Whatever your products are, they may not be popular during the same holidays that are popular for other sellers. It might not even make sense for you to look at generic keywords like “Christmas gift” to determine how well that’s going to work for your products. What you can do is pick keywords that are both relevant to that holiday and your listing at the same time and see exactly how searches and engagement are faring for your market (so, getting niche with your keywords). If you’re being specific with your keywords you’re seeing exactly what people who are looking for your sorts of products are searching for during those holiday seasons. If you do this for multiple holidays and start tying those keywords into your specific market, you’ll really be able to see which holidays are your big ones.
Of course, you can also look in your stats and see how you’ve done in the past during those seasons. But, that doesn’t necessarily tell you how you might have done had you incorporated these other keywords during certain holidays. By going in and being specific about your seasonal searches and picking out specific holidays, but making sure your keywords are still relevant to your specific market and product, you can easily compare through a bunch of different seasons and holidays and find out when the biggest times are for your market. This will also show you what holidays you should be targeting most. Maybe Halloween isn’t a big one for you, so you skip it and go straight into Thanksgiving. It all depends on what your products are.
Not the best test
We often see in online forums where sellers will voice when their views are down and will ask other sellers if this is normal and if their views are down as well. Of course, you can poll other sellers to see where they’re at, but is that a good indicator of where you should be? Are they in a totally different market than you? Are they possibly going through an upswing because it’s their busy season? These are all things to think about because asking other sellers how they’re doing in a particular season isn’t always the best test of where you’re at. You can compare how you did last April with how you’re doing this April, but remember, this goes back to what keywords you were using last year compared to this year. It’s not always easy to sort these things out.
Looking ahead to next year
Since we’re sharing over a year’s worth of historical data with you, you can easily look back and see based on last year what you can expect from a particular keyword for next year. You might look back and see that this keyword was big in the spring and about half as big in the fall. Depending on the keyword and the market, you can probably expect something very similar this coming year. That sort of information can help you plan out things like your keyword strategy and how you should increase inventory to prepare for the next big bump in sales. So, once you go back and compare against an entire year’s worth of engagement information, you can compare that back against your own Etsy stats and see how you performed relative to that entire year’s worth of activity on Etsy.
If you’re a newbie or have new product lines
Often we talk about using your shop and performance from last year to gauge the coming year. However, not all shops have a “last year”. Some of you may have only been on Etsy for a few months. You might be coming into different seasons or holidays for the first time wondering what to expect and if this will be a busy season for your products. For those of you who are new, this data is really going to be helpful! Also, if you’re an established shop but are releasing a new product line, you won’t really know what to expect for your products either. So the historical data will be invaluable in your situation as well.
We mentioned before that you can track keywords inside of Marmalead. And if you ’ve been a Marmalead customer tracking your keywords for twelve months or so, you’ve built up twelve months of data for those keywords. But, if you haven’t been a Marmalead customer in the past and just became one, you now have that engagement data right at your fingertips without having to wait for a year to accumulate the information. And for those of you who’ve been accumulating data via the tracking tool…things just got a whole lot faster with seasonality!
Keeping it steady
So building on all of this, there will obviously be downturns for specific products. A lot of products have seasonal engagement. If yours is a year-round shop, what kind of things can you do to make sure your shop stays busy year round? Planning to pull back on products you know will have less engagement at a certain time and pushing forward on the ones that are in season is a great plan! This allows you to make your shop seasonally relevant and keep your sales from plummeting.
If you’re more of a seasonal seller and you’re looking to expand, use the information you now have to research keywords and see if you might want to add new products that will allow you to keep selling throughout the seasons. Let’s say you happen to sell knit winter hats and know summer is coming. It’s logical that summer means knit winter hat sales will slow down. But, you’ve found a cool knit summer accessory you hadn’t made before and the engagement is awesome with this new item. The logical answer is to make that new item and keep your sales pumping through the summer!
We briefly mentioned this earlier. You’ll look at the forecasting information now offered in Marmalead (white bars in the graph) and get a sense of what’s going to happen with that keyword in the future. How do we do this? Programmatically we take all the historical data over twelve months of engagement for each keyword, put it through our advanced algorithm which looks at all of that information and applies some really cool math, then forecasts out the next three months of engagement. This means you can see the expected performance over the next three months for any keyword you search giving you an amazing head start in seeing if certain keywords are trending up or down.
So what next?
You might be wondering how you’re going to use this new data. You see where a keyword was trending and where it looks like it’s going, but what next? What you should do is use the data to figure out when to start applying those seasonal keywords. Look at the historical seasonal trends, see when products were picking up last year and then use forecasting to judge when you should jump back on the bandwagon and promote certain products with certain keywords because as usual…timing is everything!
A downward swing
The other thing you can do with forecasting is this: you’re looking at a keyword that has a downward slope going on. Maybe it was big last spring but it’s been gradually decreasing. It’s coming up on spring once again and you’re wondering what’s going to happen! Should you expect to see the keyword continually decreasing? Or is it going to go back up again because it’s coming up on spring and it was high last spring? Forecasting takes this off your shoulders and shows you whether or not we expect to see that keyword swing back up or continue on a downward swing.
But, how accurate is this forecasting anyway?!
This is a natural question and we expect you to ask! We tested hundreds of keywords and our algorithm returned forecasting results with 99% accuracy! This is a number we are super excited about and is a much higher interval than you normally see in forecasting. Of course, we think this is pretty darn cool!
All about the visuals
This isn’t all just a number. We have actual charts so you can easily visualize what’s going on. It’s sort of like a “show your work” kind of thing. You can see the historical data, and then you can see where the forecast is going. We wanted you to be able to see why it’s forecasting the way it is.
Let’s take a minute and discuss something else regarding seasonality and forecasting. What happens when you’re looking at other sources for keyword data outside of Marmalead? Let’s say you pick a seasonal keyword and you’re seeing an upward swing in engagement for it. On sources outside of Marmalead, that upswing is not necessarily an indicator of increased shopper engagement on Etsy. That’s not always how it works out. There’s a number of other factors that can go into it.
So, depending on what keyword tool you’re using, when sellers are adding something like “Christmas” as a keyword to their listings, it’s going to show an upswing for those keywords. Why? Because sellers have started adding that keyword. This is completely independent of whether or not people are shopping for that keyword. If sellers started adding Christmas keywords in August, they would absolutely start showing an upswing of Christmas engagement in August inside the platforms they’re using.
This is also part of the reason you might see an upswing in Christmas keywords around Valentine’s day. It doesn’t mean that buyers are using them, but that sellers haven’t removed them from their listings yet. In this case, it would be a false positive.
Marmalead is still the only source of shopper keywords making sure that your data is based on shopper trends and not seller trends.
We’re SUPER EXCITED to share Seasonality and Forecasting with all of you, our amazing subscribers! Go get into Marmalead and check it out for yourselves. Throw your keywords in there. Throw in the keywords that are working for you and see what those look like throughout the year. Also, throw in keywords that you’re considering. Get a better idea of when during the year might be the best time to use those keywords. Start figuring out your keyword strategy with even more information than ever! And remember, Marmalead is still the only place that will give you ACTUAL shopper data that shows how many searches a keyword has for that specific keyword and for true shopper engagement for that specific keyword. And now, we’re giving you the ability to see over a year of historical data and three months forecasted into the future!
As with anything we build, we always have a ton of fun talking to you guys and developing this stuff. But, nothing ever quite matches when we let it out into the wild and see what you do with it! So please, as you’re using this new feature, share with us what’s working for you and how it’s going. We love hearing feedback so write to us at email@example.com and let us know your thoughts!
Happy selling, everyone!
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