Lucy Wang - MSFT
Posted on 01/21/14

For most people, tax time now means a lot of extra time spent online. They use the digital world to research tax information, hunt for tax-related resources, and file taxes. In fact, some 131.1 million tax returns were submitted electronically in 2012, with four out of five returns filed in that manner.

That means tax season creates a base of potential customers that is actively seeking information and assistance with taxes. If you’re in a business that can help these customers, then advertising on the Yahoo Bing Network is a great way to reach our distinct, high-value audience.

Best time to target your customers

Our research reveals several trends that can help you target search advertising to capture the most tax-related customers. Typically, we see two peaks in the tax season. The first comes shortly after people receive W2s and is dominated by searchers for brand-name tax software, with “accountants” being another common term.

Later, around mid-February, those searches taper off and are replaced by more common searchers for terms such as “IRS” and “Refunds,” as people begin to anticipate receiving money back.

So, early searchers are more serious about actual help with their taxes, and advertisers should respond accordingly. Later in the season, advertisers that are more retail-oriented might consider ways to tap into the “spend” impulse of people anticipating a refund. Which, by the way, is not insubstantial – the average tax refund is close to $3,000, reports the IRS.

Source:  Microsoft internal data, 2013

Capture the market

To ensure the best campaign results, try the following:

  • Test ad copy early in January (before the first peak) and run with the best performing ads. Remember to use dynamic insertions in your ads and have a clear call to action.  Refer to page 13 of our US Search Trends in Financial Service report to view see specific ad copy recommendations.
  • Add Call and Sitelink Extensions to your ads, enabling customers to reach you with just an additional click, or send them to specific pages on your web site.
  • Include tax-related keywords to your keyword lists; consider using broad match to send more searchers your way who may be searching for related information but don’t use the exact wording you anticipate.
  • Long Ad Titles can help drive more clicks on top position (i.e. mainline) search ads, improving overall ad performance. Advertisers in beta testing saw a 12 percent average increase in click-through rate (CTR).
  • Have a mobile strategy, perhaps targeting tablets and smartphones specifically. Increasingly, people use these devices for many of their searches especially when they’re on the go.

 

A valuable audience

Not only can Bing deliver 1 million tax-related searchers not found on Google[1] -- as well as 2 million total paid clicks[2] --our audience is 8% more likely than Google’s to have bought personal finance/tax software online.[3] They’re also more likely to have searched for tax-related information online.[4]

Plus, our overall audience simply offers more. The Yahoo Bing Network audience spends 23 percent more than the average online population and it out-spends Google users by 6 percent.[5] Overall, Yahoo Bing Network users comprise an audience of 163 million searchers that don’t use Google, giving us a 29% search share.

Taxes may be inevitable, but with the Yahoo Bing Network, so can a boost to a tax-related business.

Thanks for reading,

Lucy Wang

Senior Vertical Manager


[1] comScore Search Categories Report (custom), US, March 2013.

[2] comScore Search Categories Report (custom), US, March 2013.

[3] comScore Plan Metrix, US September 2012

[4] comScore Plan Metrix, US September 2012

Tags: Optimization, Vertical Insights, overview, extensions, seasonal insights
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