Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.
Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.
But how well is it paying off? To find out, search intelligence platform Adthena has analyzed the paid search landscape in the run-up to Black Friday 2017, indexing more than 15,000 ads and 214 million impressions across 161 sellers of consumer electronics.
The study, shared exclusively with Search Engine Watch, was conducted between November 1st and 13th 2017, and sheds some light on the kinds of PPC ad subjects and messaging that are getting the best response from consumers ahead of the holidays.
iPhone dominates mobile… on mobile
In a not-so-surprising discovery, product ads containing the term “iPhone” out-performed other types of consumer goods – particularly on mobile. Paid search ads with “iPhone” pulled in 8.88% of all impressions on desktop, and gained a hefty 14.89% of all impressions on mobile.
“Phone” was the second-best-performing product ad keyword, with 4.61% of impressions on desktop and 11.55% on mobile, followed by “TV”, which pulled in 3.54% of desktop impressions and 4.22% of mobile impressions.
When it came to the messaging that performed best in Black Friday PPC ads, deal-related ad copy featuring the word “save” was the clear winner, driving close to a fifth (18.79%) of impressions on desktop, and more than a quarter (27.47%) on mobile.
“% off” was the next-best-performing deal messaging on desktop, with 10.03% of impressions, while on mobile, “discount” came in second place at 9.03%. “Sale” took 5.6% of impressions on desktop, while “% off” won third place on mobile with 3.91%.
Ashley Fletcher, Director of Product Marketing at Adthena, says that these differences in the data prove just how vital the language used in ad copy is to the overall success of a paid search ad.
“We can see in the analyzed data that phrase ‘Save’ delivered huge impression share on both desktop and mobile, in comparison to ‘Discount’ or ‘% off’,” he said. “Making this single change in an advertiser’s ad text copy can make all the difference in having a winning search strategy for this fiercely competitive time of year.
“The devil is in the detail, and marginal gains mean success.”
If you’re wondering what kind of discount is the most effective at attracting consumer attention, well, surprise surprise, it’s a big one. Offers for “70% off” gathered the most impressions PPC ad on both desktop (6.89%) and mobile (1.31%).
“30% off” was the next-most-popular discount, though it attracted less than 1% of overall impressions on both desktop (0.84%) and mobile (0.35%). In third place was “40% off”, with 0.58% of impressions on desktop, and 0.23% on mobile.
Black Friday outpaces Cyber Monday, Amazon pushes Amazon
In spite of the juggernaut rise of online shopping, Black Friday still carries more weight than its newer, online-focused sibling, Cyber Monday – even in the electronics industry. According to the data from Adthena, “Black Friday” pulled in 2.99% of all PPC ad impressions on desktop (with 2.41% on mobile), while “Cyber Monday” managed only a paltry 0.12% of all impressions on desktop (0.09% on mobile).
Meanwhile, Amazon is taking advantage of one of the biggest shopping holidays of the year to push its Prime memberships. Across 71,414 Amazon ads with a total of 78,097,823 impressions, the top two-performing phrases by an overwhelming margin were “Amazon”, which took 98.32% of impressions on desktop and 99.79% on mobile, and “Prime”, which attracted 84.71% of impressions on desktop and 97.64% on mobile.
This was bad news for ads with more generic terms like “Shop” or “Low prices”, which attracted just 10.27% of impressions on desktop and 1.79% on mobile (“Shop”) and 8.37% of impressions on desktop and 0.44% on mobile (“Low prices”), respectively.
What do the figures from the study tell us about the types of product searches and purchases that people are carrying out on desktop versus on mobile?
Although there is some variation in the messaging that seems to resonate with users on desktop compared to mobile – mobile users are keen to “Save” but evidently don’t want to “Shop” for “Low prices” – the same leaders tend to emerge across devices, which Fletcher believes demonstrates that shopper behavior is generally device-agnostic, with consumers carrying out their product searches across multiple channels.
“In many instances, mobile is driving higher impression share than desktop, such as with the top performing product ads,” he says. “This tells us that many shoppers are doing their gift browsing on mobile, but desktop still perhaps remains a key part of the path to conversion.”
What can marketers take away from these findings that will help them get the best possible visibility for their PPC ads in the run-up to Black Friday? Fletcher says that actionable insights from data are the key to success in a rapidly shifting landscape.
“Marketers must understand how campaigns are performing and adjust accordingly as quickly as possible,” he says. “Being able to monitor what their competition is doing and changing on a daily basis will have a great impact on their PPC campaigns.
“Today’s marketer wants daily insights into an auction that’s changing rapidly. If a marketer sees that a competitor is pushing 70% discounts and garnering a majority of market share, they can quickly adjust their own strategy in order to continue to remain competitive and capture the audience.”
But according to?The NPD Group, many retailers could struggle to make the entire holiday shopping season a successful one compared to 2015. The firm, which collects and analyzes sales from?leading retailers that provide it with weekly point-of-sale data, says that the fifth week of the holiday shopping season “brought the customary post-Black Friday lull, along with deeper discounts and more abundant week-long deals than in the past.”
As NPD’s Chief Industry Analyst, Marshal Cohen, explained, “Bigger discounts mean deeper holes to climb out of to match last year’s sales numbers.”
The NPD Group says that total dollar sales were down 5% this year in?fifth week of the holiday shopping season, which includes Cyber Monday. Only one merchandise category, athletic footwear, registered a gain compared to 2015, with dollar sales rising a modest 2%.
All told, total dollar sales are down 3% this year through the first five weeks of the season. That would seem to mirror data from the?U.S. Commerce Department, which says?retail sales disappointed in November.
The digital divide
The record-breaking Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales figures are evidence of the fact that?more and more of consumer purchasing activity is taking place through digital channels. But it’s important to remember that despite the growing importance of their websites and mobile apps,?many retailers still operate as?multi-channel businesses, so the online sales figures only tell part of the holiday shopping story.
Put simply, online retail is accounting for more of the pie, but the pie isn’t really growing.
While it looks questionable as to whether retailers will be able to turn the 2016 holiday shopping season into a true success, as CNBC has noted,?”six of the 10 busiest days still lie ahead” according to retail analytics firm ShopperTrak.
Some analysts predict that this year’s Super Saturday, the last Saturday before Christmas, has the potential to?produce more sales than Black Friday, and with cold weather blanketing much of the country, it would not be surprising if many of those sales take place?online instead of offline.
That might help online retail set yet another sales record this year, but even if it does, hefty discounting could still make it hard for retailers to catch up no matter where their sales take place.
End-of-the-year holiday season calls for strong web presence. This advice will help you make some quick fixes to your site and increase your online sales.
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You probably heard retailers began their holiday season with record-setting sales during “Cyber Week” – the shopping period between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday. Real-time data from IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark shows online sales grew 8.5% since 2013. Even more interesting, although not surprising, was the fact that “mobile sales up 27.6% year-over-year.” On Cyber Monday specifically, “mobile traffic accounted for 41.2% of all online traffic, up 30.1% over 2013. Mobile sales were also strong, reaching 22% of total Cyber Monday online sales”. Another important finding was the even though smartphones doubled tablets in online traffic, tablet users spent more money on purchases ($99.61 vs. $121.49). […]
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