Here’s a fun exercise to try that might save you some time this holiday season and for every holiday going forward. Should you blog, post social media updates, or be active online during holidays like Christmas, New Year’s, Hanukkah, etc.?

There’s an easy, simple way to discern an answer. First, why are you active? Is it for your own creative outlet or mental discipline? If so, then carry on as normal, regardless of what time of year it is.

If it’s to drum up business, then go into a service like Google Trends. Let’s look at how this might work.

Google_Trends_-_Web_Search_interest__marketing_-_2008__2014_-_United_States

First, go to Google Trends and specify a comparison by time range (1).

Next, type in the most broad search term that your company can be found for, such as marketing, public relations, concrete, etc. (2)

Third, be sure to set geography so that you get results for the country or countries you operate in. (3)

Next, pick the general kind of audience that visits your website. For my blog, I set it to Business & Industrial > Advertising and Marketing, because that’s who tends to read this blog. (4)

Finally, pick the current year and a year six years in the past. Why? Because you want to match the day of week patterns. (5) If you’re looking at holiday traffic, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day both fall on a Thursday in 2014. The last year they fell on a Thursday was 2008, so in the example above, I added 2008 in for an apples to apples comparison. There are significant differences in traffic when you have mismatches in day of week, because behaviors change.

Think about it for a second – if a major holiday occurs on a Friday, people tend to take the day before off, but they’ll more likely than not work the first three days of the week. If a major holiday occurs on a Thursday, as it does this year, people take off Wednesday AND Friday, and in many cases just bag the entire week if they have the vacation time. Simply doing a year over year comparison will give you less of a true comparison, and since many websites don’t have 6 years’ worth of data, Google Trends provides a handy substitute.

Based on this chart, the answer is that if you’re looking for new business during the holiday seasons via your blog’s traffic or social media, there’s a good chance you’ll come up short. Pour the eggnog or the wassail, schedule what you can, but don’t stress about it too much – not many people will be knocking on your door in 2014!


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