Attract tax filers by aligning campaigns with search trends October 2015 Financial Services Presentation Seasonal trend When the tax man cometh, the taxpayer searcheth. Tax-time advertising will be even more competitive this year, as service and software providers angle to reap their share of this $9.3 billion industry1 — most of which is spent January through April. Understanding search behavior can give you the edge. E-filing has two peaks, one at the beginning of tax season and another as the April 15 deadline looms, with search trends following.2 On the other hand, manual filing peaks at the last minute as taxpayers rush to get their taxes in. Tax calculations will be more complex for some taxpayers this year: The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires reporting of coverage on tax returns. Searches for related terms peak in mid-January.3 The ACA’s premium tax credit requires people to estimate their income — and only 10% get it exactly right.4 The national unemployment rate is lower than it was last year, which means more people will file.5 Marriage equality means that more couples will file jointly for the first time.6 When looking for tax help, consumers are most likely to think of the IRS first — but the agency gets overwhelmed, leaving callers on hold or even hanging up on them.7 The IRS doesn't advertise — but you can. Your bid term strategy should include IRS-related terms as well as your own and competitors' brand terms.8 More tax searches resulted in paid clicks during the 2015 tax season,9 driving CPCs up. Start your campaigns early to take advantage of the relatively lower cost per click and high click-through rates in early January. And don’t forget to use App Extensions to highlight your mobile offerings. For more on how to align your search advertising budget and bidding strategy to search trends for different tax services and products, check out the presentation above or download it. Download now Financial Services Presentation Seasonal trend Sources 1. IBISWorld Industry Report 54121d, Tax Preparation Services in the US, Gavan Blau, April 2015. 2. Microsoft internal data. 3. Microsoft internal data. 4. IRS, Letter from IRS Commissioner John Koskinen to Congress, July 17, 2015. 5. IBISWorld Industry Report 54121d, Tax Preparation Services in the US, Gavan Blau, April 2014. 6. Accounting Today, Supreme Court’s Same-Sex Marriage Ruling Has Major Tax and Financial Planning Implications, June 29, 2015. 7. IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service, National Taxpayer Advocate Reviews Filing Season and Identifies Priority Areas and Challenges in Mid-Year Report to Congress, July 15, 2015. 8. Data analysis on IRS Weekly Filing Season Statistics, 2010, 2014, and 2015. 9. Hitwise. Ratio of paid to organic traffic generated by all variations of tax for the 12 weeks ending April.