[Today’s peek behind the scenes is adapted from a post on Shawn D. Mahaney’s personal blog, https://riverratsc.wordpress.com/2015/06/07/d-day-week-on-the-internet/]
I compiled a book about the largest amphibious invasion in history. Trouble is, people hardly know about it. So to help people get a handle on the project I planned to reference that other better known invasion, the one known simply as D-Day. There’s no use fighting a nebulous thing like a public consciousness; “D-Day” will forever be the landings at Normandy, France, on June 6, 1944. Never mind that there was a d-day for every major plan leading up to that, amphibious or otherwise. Large amphibious d-days were a weekly occurrence in the Pacific of World War Two. Forget about it. I decided early that I would play along (aided by the fact that the military changed the lingo after D-Day, and called my event of interest “X-Day”).
The first stop if one is going to do promotions on the internet is Google’s keyword planner. Lesson number one: riding the coat-tails of D-Day is done in a limited window of opportunity. Practically all the search traffic is bunched up in late May and early June.
People don’t seem to have any problem remembering the date of June 6th, but they don’t have much interest outside of that particular time period.
So, a bunch of keywords were chosen, a slightly painful budget amount set for the week long campaign, unique ads created [“Bigger than D-Day!” “After D-Day…”, etc.], and the push was on.
You people are so weird!
Following are some of the top searches by which people found the X-Day: Japan project web site during D-Day Week, 2015. I grouped some together, and marked a few others for comment.
Questions like “was d day before the bombing” make me worry about the state of humanity. But they also motivate me to keep putting out what is hoped to be good “info-tainment” material, fact-based fiction which helps paint a clear picture of a major turn in history.
On the weird side I really wonder who wants or is even expecting to find “d day t shirts” or D-Day greeting cards. This is not a sorority fund raiser or family barbecue! Has anyone ever tried to have a group bar mitzvah for the occasion??
I really don’t even know where to start on “d day recipes”. Surely no one would try to knock up Higgins boat burgers and Pont du Hoc fries. Still, this is the internet…
The bane of anyone trying to do pay-per-click marketing is kids doing homework. They type in searches rich with specific topical keywords, because that’s exactly how their teachers wrote out the assignments. The students don’t know or care that it costs the advertiser a quarter (or several dollars) to click their sidebar ad. One can filter them out most of the time, but this kid was determined:
“what are the reasons of world war 2 in japan , its result and steps taken by govt. to deal with problem & loss of life & property”
That sounds like an all-semester project. And since it’s already June, I wish the youngster luck. [If the book were ready, he could get a full page about the invasion of Japan and the nuclear bombing of Hitoyoshi, but it’s just not done yet.]
Today I’m going to turn off most of the ads, saving up the budget for the next big push, around August 6th. In the mean time, I’ll have to check out that “Dino D-Day game”!