With the Holidays just behind us and the new year in full swing, now is the perfect time to reflect on what we learned about the Search and Shopping landscape. The ultimate goal is to go beyond the holiday season and have successful strategies throughout the year – come explore our Cyber Week findings and learn how you can leverage them for a successful Search and Shopping program in 2017.
Maintain Momentum from 2016 Cyber Week into 2017
1. New shopping days have emerged. Gone are the days when only Black Friday and Cyber Monday drove peak sales. Each year our advertisers and competitors expand their promotional offers beyond the traditionally named eCommerce days. This revenue growth was reflected in our same store sales, which increased 27% on Thanksgiving and 36% the Saturday following Black Friday. Offers and promotions are a standard for the search space during this time, and conversations with your agency partner should be framed around what offers and ad copy worked well in the past. It’s also important to know what competitive strategies you can deploy to make your ads pop in a highly-saturated space. In addition, budgets should be fully funded to support holiday shopping that occurs earlier, in-between peak days and post-holiday as momentum continues from gift card purchasers.
2. PLA/Shopping campaigns are leading the campaign-type growth. During Cyber Week, traffic for PLA/Shopping campaigns grew by bounds, over 100% for our same-store clients! As the search engine results page (SERP) prominently features these ad-types above text ads, particularly on mobile, it was no surprise to see this growth. And with the rising importance of PLA/Shopping ads comes the increase of competition, which directly impacts average cost-per-clicks (CPCs). During Cyber Week, PLA/Shopping CPCs increased 20% for our same-store clients. The golden question amongst many is how can advertisers realize success with the growing PLA landscape? Below are a couple of important questions you should discuss with your team to ensure you are a leader in the shopping space throughout the year.
- Is our feed optimized to best practices to maximize the opportunity to dominate the auction?
- Are we appropriately funding PLA to support the growing prominence in the ad space?
- Do we have a strategy that supports both our brand and growing non-brand queries?
- How do we maintain profitability and drive new customers?
If you can answer these questions, your account should be on the right path to dominate feed-based campaigns.
3. Mobile, Mobile, Mobile! Every year is the year of mobile as far as we are concerned. This was abundantly clear during Cyber Week, with our same-store mobile impressions growing 48% and orders increasing 79%. The old saying “eighty percent of life is showing up” can easily be applied to the mobile ad space. If you’re not there, you are likely losing out on valuable customers and in turn, revenue. What does that success look like for mobile? Success is having a bid strategy that achieves top ad positions, optimized ad copy and extensions that support online and local/near-me queries. And that’s just a portion of some marketing success. A mobile friendly/responsive site that loads quickly is crucial for good conversion rates. And last, we would be remised if we did not stress the importance of having Search & PLA strategies that are complementary and present in any device auction, specifically mobile for retail advertisers. In Q4, a Rakuten Marketing Search advertiser recognized a mobile conversion rate that was 40% higher when both PLA & text were served together on mobile, than just being present for text ads. Take advantage of this opportunity!
With the holidays over and done, it doesn’t mean the push for success ends. Success goes beyond sexy promotions and holidays, it is built on well-developed and continually tested Search and PLA campaigns. Optimized feeds are now one of the most critical tactics for a successful shopping campaign. And of course, we can’t ignore that mobile will only continue to dominate the digital marketplace.
* Cyber Week insights pulled from same-store clients running search campaigns
* Cyber Week reflects the dates of November 30 – December 6, 2017