The 2013 tax season is upon us, and the number of people filing online tax returns is expected to grow. Paper filing, in contrast, is projected to decline as a percentage of total filings each year through 2015.1 Advertisers offering tax services, preparation, and software may benefit from these trends by optimizing their campaigns to capture people searching for these services.
When the 2012 tax season kicked off in January, tax sites experienced a strong surge of activity, attracting 26.8 million visitors and representing a 345% increase over December 2010. Category leaders such as TurboTax, H&R Block, and TaxACT saw triple-digit gains during the month.2
Popular tax-related keywords continued to remain high in February, just after people received their W-2 statements at the end of January. Historically, March is a slower month, with a traffic spike again in April as the tax-filing deadline looms. An analysis of last year’s traffic on top terms bucked this trend, however, with more searches in March than April. Procrastinators who file late make April a crucial month for advertisers. The chart below shows the year-over-year increase in tax-related searches.3
Traffic trends are similar in Bing Ads, but the charts below show how competition heats up month over month and the average cost per click (CPC) increases almost five-fold from December to April. This means advertisers in 2012 were aggressively competing for best positions and increasing their bids to reach them. Click-through rates (CTR), however, were highest in January and February. 4
Five quick tax-season optimization tips:
- Prepare for traffic spikes into April and apply sufficient budget to your campaigns.
- Expand your keyword list with relevant terms. Consumers typically search for branded and research terms early in the season, while refund and tax extensions are popular terms later. You can download a comprehensive tax-related keyword list here.
- Bid on all match types, ideally with the highest bid on exact match.
- Test different ad copy and determine what works best. “Fast and free,” “easy to use,” and “professional help” are popular call-outs.
Check out the Bing Ads Tax Season Guide for more insights!