How do seasons affect online ad serving?

four seasons A seasonal trend can be defined as the repetitive and predictable movement occurring during the same span of time on a year to year basis. Website traffic and online advertising results are affected during holidays such as Christmas and also during calendar seasons such as winter and summer. Some sites are affected with greater impact than other sites. For example, a site dedicated to selling flowers during Valentines day or a site dedicated to ski resorts in winter or summer. Other sites may have a minimal seasonal impact during the course of the year. Let’s take a bit of a closer look at what can be affected by the seasons:

Traffic number

Let’s imagine for a moment that you have a website that sells nothing but winter jackets and clothing. The number of people clicking on ads for your site is sure to drop when the summer months are upon us. Most people will be looking and clicking on ads that are related to sites that sell bikinis and other items that are aimed at fun in the sun. If you are going to choose a niche that is seasonal, you need to expect that there will be significant highs and lows.


The way visitors act online changes during certain seasons. For example, visitors shopping online during Black Friday are more likely looking for deep discounts as compared to other times of the year. Hence, advertisements and sites dedicated to bargains will see an influx in views and clicks. On the other hand, a special day such as Valentine’s day will have a surge of visitors looking for impressive gifts, not so much bargain gifts, when they go online.

Extreme weather

You are likely to see spikes in online activity during particularly cold winters, or even during tornado and hurricane seasons, as folks are more likely to be indoors doing their shopping online. Views and traffic will slide upwards during those seasonal periods on every site as visitors kill time in the comfort of their homes.


The ad campaigns that do the best are those that market products that are in demand at that given time. This is why you will see a ton of ads for school supplies when the kids are getting ready to go back after summer vacation. This is something to keep in mind when creating a new ad campaign if you hope to see positive results.


The performance of ads is almost always down to a sense of urgency. The perfect example of that is a Black Friday ad running at the same time as an ad that sells a vacation package. People are aware that there is only a limited amount of time to act on the Black Friday deals, and that the holiday ad can wait for a little bit.

There are two very important things to take away from what has been described. First, when possible, cater your campaigns to take advantage of seasonal trends like Christmas, summer, special events like Black Friday. Consider what products viewers are after during such days or what can attract more attention. Second, be fully aware of such trends when you are analyzing campaign statistics so you do not overestimate or underestimate certain ads performance.

August 28, 2018 (first published March 2015)


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