Now that the holiday festivities and hangovers are over with, it’s time to determine whether or not you pre-holiday optimization efforts were effective.

So, what questions do you need to ask and what numbers do you need to evaluate?

Did your keywords get more impressions than normal during the holidays?  Were those impressions for your standard keywords, or for holiday-specific terms like “christmas sale” or “holiday special?”

Click Through Rate
Since getting more impressions is worthless without being able to drive more traffic to your site as a result, the next question is, “Did your holiday themed ads generate more clicks than the non-holiday ads?”  If so, what were the differences?  Was it something more than just inserting “christmas sale” into your ad copy?  Was there a discount or bonus that was being offered?

Conversion Rate
Increasing conversions is the ultimate goal behind increasing impressions and improving click-through rates, which makes it the most important factor in determining whether or not your holiday optimization was effective.  Did your search campaigns see higher conversion rates during the holidays?  If not higher rates, did they see more overall conversions?  Did you find specific keywords that converted better?

Now that you’ve considered the questions you need to ask about your search campaigns, it’s time to determine which holiday adjustments you can keep to maintain or improve performance going forward.
Try keeping some of the holiday keywords that generated a significant number of impressions.  Any term that gets visitors to your site is potentially useful and should be tested further, even if it seems seasonal or specific.
If you saw a significant improvement from your ads, try to incorporate some of the holiday changes into your current ads.  No, you can’t run “Christmas Sale” ads anymore, but you can try “New Year Special” offers to try to maintain holiday performance a little longer.
If you saw better conversion rates for specific keywords, look at the surrounding data for those terms.  Were there changes in bids, ad position or match types?  If so, those are changes that can be maintained and further tested.

It’s great to see improved performance and an increase in revenue during the holidays, but it’s even better to learn something from it and continue those improvements during the rest of the year.