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Here's a quick look at some search terms and paid ads ahead of Father's Day.
Some ads were optimised but dry, others made me laugh unintentionally, and some targeted the longer tail.
'Father's Day meat' - Farmison opportunism
A strange one at the top to grab your attention. Here's a good example of opportunism.
Not necessarily the long tail for 'Father's Day' queries, as not every retailer sells meat, but certainly a seasonal tactic by a purveyor of choice cuts such as Farmison. I wasn't served any other ads for this term.
'Father's Day London': the strange and the astute
Searching with my city gave me an ad for the Octaspring Pillow and its alliterative message of 'Pillows for Papa'. Full marks for trying some holiday marketing, but not sure how well it's going to compete with alcohol.
gigsandtours.com cleverly targeted this phrase to sell tickets to a Madness gig, aimed at fathers. One of the better examples of alternative gift ideas, and one that effectively breaks up the hegemony of consumable goods.
'Father's Day clothes': lessthan10pounds.com needs some negative keywords
This ad, boasting 'stylish range of womens clothes' is pretty much wasted on a Father's Day query. lessthan10pounds.com could use some negatives around this time of year to prevent the ad serving to those looking for him and not her.
'Father's Day': Marks & Spencer includes date
On it's own, an obviously well searched for and competitive phrase. Retailers like Thornton's and Marks & Spencer can afford to aggressively target it around this time of year.
Google and its knowledge graph is now clever enough to treat the query 'Father's Day' as an entity and so it's pretty clear what date Father's Day is, if you search on Google with this phrase, as this screenshot shows:
Marks & Spencer was the only retailer I found inserting the date of Father's day in some of its PPC ads (see below). I think this is quite a smart move.
Even though Google provides the date for this query (remember, users may be searching in Yahoo or Bing), the M&S ad, certainly when viewed a little further out from June 16th, can educate and sell to the searcher at the same time.
Let's be honest, not everyone knows when these fake holidays land. Certainly, a week or two out, a searcher seeing the date in an ad would be given some sense of urgency.
'Father's Day alcohol' - Alexander and James is straight to the point
'Dads don't want socks and ties', 'Treat him with a luxury whisky'. I'm not a dad, but if I was, I would want my children to be served this ad.
On a similar theme, Le Bon Vin targets 'Father's Day wine' and goes with the sock line, too.
'Father's Day whisky': Asante Africa right to broad match?
Asante Africa was obviously experimenting with some broad match terms, as I was served this rather imposing creative to 'Honor Your Father' and donate.
Perhaps another case for negative keywords, but this ad did make me think, and so this could be the sort of disruptive ad where a mismatch isn't a bad thing.
One of the phrases I found to be less competitive was 'Father's Day ideas', and Asante may be well served by targeting this exact match or a broad match modifier.
'Father's Day gifts': Thornton's delivery time and Debenham's Flowers' cirrhosis
Thornton's gave the most explicit details for delivery, which is generally accepted best practice, especially for last minute Sunday holidays. It also had an encouraging 'Still Time' link in the ad.
Debenham's Flowers produced the ad that made me laugh more than any other, though I think it was unintentional. On this search query they pushed me, reeling, towards 'ale, wine, scotch'.
'Father's Day driving': buyagift has nice rich snippets
buyagift.co.uk gives me the starting price in the main link, has review star rating included, along with Google+ link-up.
I particularly like the copy for the different landing pages linked to at the bottom of the ad. Bestselling, Tank, Rally and the Clarkson-esque 'Triple Supercar Drive Day'.
'Father's Day cheap gifts': under-targeted?
We're in a recession. So here's a phrase that you'd expect to be further down the tail of queries, but still potentially a good one to target.
Find Me a Gift was the only site I saw using ads that directly address the word 'cheap' and it includes the words 'affordable' and 'bargain'.
'Father's Day experiences': Red Letter Days packs in the copy
A good tactic from Red Letter Days. It includes race days, skydiving and sports tours in this small ad, making sure it attracts as many clicks as possible.