Marketing for Chinese New Year: Keywords to consider for an effective festive campaign

Eli Hanif
10 Dec 2018
With Christmas coming up, the reindeer-and-snowflake decorations are now everywhere. However, before we have unwrapped our gifts and digested the log cakes, interest in the next festivity has already picked up. 

We are about 2 months out from Chinese New Year, but Google Trends show internet users have already been searching the term since a month ago. Based on past years’ trends, the search term will continue gaining momentum as the holiday nears.

Chinese NEw YEar Search Spikes

Chinese New Year queries are now in the top 5 trending searches worldwide, so it’s a good time to use some related keywords to help your brand gain more visibility at this time of year.




Keyword Search Volume   (avg per month) Related Keywords (and volume)
Chinese New Year 7,100


Chinese New Year 2018 - 42,000

CNY 2018 - 17,000

Chinese New Year 2019 - 12,000

Lunar New Year 1000


Lunar New Year 2018 - 2,300

Happy Lunar New Year - 450

Chinese Zodiac 5,700


Zodiac - 5000

Chinese Calendar - 4800

Year of the Dog - 1,300

Year of the Dog 2018 - 700

Prosperity  1000


Prosperous - 1,100

Prosperous meaning - 300


Let’s look at the most obvious term. On average,ChineseNew Year” has over 7000 in search volume per month in the past 12 months, but adding a date to the keyword can greatly increase the search volume. The search volume forChineseNew Year 2018” is 42,000, most likely due to relevancy in the early part of this year. The keywordChineseNew Year 2019’ is getting a 12,000 monthly average search, and can be expected to increase as the new year approaches.


The term Lunar New Year’ is less popular than “Chinese New Year”. However, adding the year to the keyword also results in an increase in search volume, from 1,000 to 2,300.


Closely related to the Chinese New Year is the Chinese Zodiac’, which is a cyclical classification of years, matching each year with one of twelve predetermined animals. The keyword has a healthy monthly search volume of 5,700 on average. One example is the year of the dog, which is the Zodiac animal for 2018. With top queries such as When is the year of the dog?’, the keyword gets about 1,300 searches per month on average.


A big buzzword for CNY is Prosperity’. Besides the usual holiday greetings of happiness and good health, it is extremely common for the Chinese to wish each other good fortune and prosperity. Homes are also spring cleaned to get rid of bad luck and welcome good luck,



Keyword Search Volume      (avg per month) Related Keywords (and volume)


Reunion Dinner




Reunion Dinner 2018 - 500

Yu Sheng 1,100


Man fu yuan - 1,200

Lo hei - 800

Yusheng - 700

Chinese New Year Goodies 350  
Nian Gao 600

Rice cake - 400

Nian gao recipe - 350

Pineapple Tart 1,300


Pineapple tart recipe - 600

Pineapple tart calories - 200

Bak Kwa 1,500


Fragrance bak kwa - 1000

Bak kwa Singapore - 300

Bak kwa calories - 200


Chinese New Year is a an important time for family and one of the most important traditions is the Reunion Dinner. Families will gather for a big meal, which is often a steamboat. It can be a massive affair, if the extended family gathers around the matriarch. Similar to the previous keywords, adding the year to this keyword increases search volume from 350 to 500.


A popular component of the feasting is Yu Sheng (also known as Lo Hei) which means 'raw fish' but its homophone also means 'increase in abundance'. Groups of people gather to toss the large dish of raw fish, sliced vegetables and a variety of sauces and condiments, together.


Besides the main feast, Chinese New Year Goodies or snacks are also prepared for visitors. They come in a wide variety, from sweet to savoury, and there are some that are specific to this holiday. Nian Gao, a type of rice cake, is synonymous with the event, garnering 600 searches a month, while Pineapple Tarts seem to be even more popular with a search volume of 1,300.


Another unmissable CNY snack is Bak Kwa. These sweet and savoury pork jerky slices are highly sought after and popular stores in Singapore can be seen with incredibly long lines to buy the best ones even on weekday afternoons during this period.



Keyword Search Volume      (avg per month) Related Keywords (and volume)
Red Packets 500


Ang bao rates 2018 - 700

Ang bao - 450

Mandarin Orange 600  
Cheongsam 2,300

Cheongsam Singapore - 600

Cheongsam dress - 250

Modern cheongsam - 200

Lion Dance 1,300


Chinese dragon - 1000

Singapore lion - 500


When visiting homes, Red packets filled with money (also called ang baos) are given to children, or younger and unmarried adults, to wish them progress and luck. Mandarin oranges are also exchanged during house visits because iMandarin, the word for mandarin oranges sounds like “auspicious”.


The Cheongsam is a modern ethnic costume worn by women during Chinese New Year. It is a popular query with an average monthly search volume of 2,300. (The male equivalent, Changshan, is much less popular.)

Last but not least, a key part of CNY celebrations is the Lion Dance. The routine involves a pair of performers prancing around, while covered in an elaborate lion costume. They are accompanied by loud Chinese instruments, such as drums and cymbals. The energetic ceremony is meant to bring good luck and chase away bad spirits, so people often invite the performers to their homes or business establishments. 



How to use these keywords to benefit your brand4

As with many festive seasons, consumers are more willing to spend. Chinese New Year has a large emphasis on all things fresh and new, so you can consider launching new products or announcing positive changes for the year ahead.
Your brand can ride on the trend and gain visibility by creating campaigns for the Chinese New Year festive season. Just be sure to name your campaign well and use the relevant keywords in your copy. A good tip from the examples above is adding the year at the end of the search term to increase search volume. 
Don’t forget to keep the spirit of the festivities in mind. Google recommends that brands create content around topics related to family, friends, funny and food. These topics resonate well with the Chinese community. Brands can also create hype around CNY-related landing pages with quizzes, food-related blogs and zodiac fortune readings to establish brand presence across CNY search topics.
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Google has also conveniently listed the kind of questions users have been asking, which can be used to support the ‘Chinese New Year’ keywords as well. Answering one or more of these questions in your ad copy will likely improve your site’s searchability.

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