Just as the holiday season is a pivotal time for eCommerce marketing, the weeks that follow are a boon for healthcare and digital health brands. Whether it’s regret from holiday overindulgence or just a general embrace of the “New Year, new me” mantra, a huge percentage of people commit to bettering their mental or physical health as their New Year’s Resolution.
According to polling from Forbes, more than half of respondents reported that physical and mental health improvement were equally important to them. Unsurprisingly, 4 of the top 5 resolutions reported in their 2024 survey related to health: 48% wanted to improve fitness, 36% wanted to improve their mental health, 34% wanted to lose weight, and 32% wanted to improve their diets.
When the New Year rolls around, physical and mental health concerns are clearly top of mind for more people than any other time of year. And no matter whether people stick to the goals they set throughout the year, they almost always start their journey in the same place: Google Search.
New Year’s Health Search Trends
Using Google Trends data, correlations between the New Year and many health queries are clear as day. “Weight loss,” for instance, produces a massive query spike in the first week of January every year:
Health searches typically experience a lull throughout December, however, as busy users focus on prepping for the holidays themselves and then take off the second the calendar turns to the New Year. Many terms attain both their lowest and highest search volume of each year in the span of a few weeks.
This is also a key time for behavioral health and recovery services. Queries related to habit-breaking have some of the strongest correlation with this trend. Terms like “quit drinking,” and “quit smoking,” for instance, regularly show their highest peaks in the first two weeks of January:
Outside of the expected fields, there is also an elevated interest in general healthcare. While the search impact isn’t as dramatic as you see for searches like the drinking-related ones above, there’s still a solid overall spike for many health-minded queries, like “find a doctor”:
What to Do About New Year’s Resolution Health Search Trends
For health brands whose services relate to these year-end queries—brands that offer mental health counseling, diet or weight care, and general health assistance—the first few weeks of January are akin to Black Friday and Cyber Monday for general consumer brands. That means it’s smart to gear up your strategies in advance if you want to capitalize on an influx of demand.
Consider Awareness Campaigns During Slow Period
Search traffic for many common health queries tails off or hits a lull between fall and the holidays before taking off in January. If you find that trend applies to queries in your lane, it may be worth holding back a bit of search budget in November and December while exploring top-funnel awareness strategies, like Facebook and Instagram campaigns or programmatic video or audio ads.
If your SEM approach is paired with a branding push throughout the fall, like a series of top-of-funnel social campaigns or a programmatic ad buy across top podcasts, then be sure you have your branded campaigns optimized and budgeted to receive newfound demand once the New Year rolls around. The last thing you want to do is put your brand top-of-mind for prospective new patients only to fumble their interest away through underfunded branded search campaigns.
January is the time of year when health brands need to have all their paid search campaigns fully optimized and adequately budgeted. That applies particularly to non-brand search. Take the time prior to the changing of the year to research what keywords related to your business typically see a spike. From there, determine if you’re comfortable adding budget or increasing bid limits to meet that soaring demand.
Just as eCommerce brands compete to whip up the best offers for the holiday season, health brands with high-demand services should be emphasizing their offers once the New Year rolls around. Be sure to highlight any new customer or new patient signup deals in as many places as you can—including across ad extensions and your Google Merchant Center feeds, where applicable.
The period following the holiday season holds immense significance for healthcare and digital health brands. As individuals commit to improving their mental and physical well-being throughout the year, it becomes crucial for health brands to seize this opportunity and meet the rising demand.