by Aaron Baar, Staff Writer, November 29, 2016
The time for finding the perfect holiday gift has begun, which means that search is probably the most important tool in a marketer’s toolbox. With more people searching for the best gift (and the best deals) online and on the go, search is as important as ever, though some of the dynamics may be changing.
On Black Friday, when consumers had traditionally headed to brick-and-mortar outlets, search advertising accounted for the most holiday traffic for online transactions (nearly 40%), according to Adobe Digital Insights. Though that’s a slight decrease from traditional holiday averages (down 4%), it’s still a significant amount of traffic coming from traditional searches. On Cyber Monday, which just edged out Black Friday this year for online sales, search advertising drove just over a third of sales (again down about 4% from the holiday average), according to Adobe.
It should be no surprise, then, that e-commerce players are betting more than ever on search marketing for their holiday marketing. According to Kenshoo and Orion CKB’s Holiday Benchmark Report (which analyzed data from 140 of the companies’ clients and prospects), 90% said search keywords were more important to their holiday marketing this year than they were last year. Nearly three quarters of the companies said Google keyword ads were important to their holiday campaigns, and nearly two-thirds (62%) said they were increasing their Google spend.
At the same time, many companies are looking beyond Google for their search efforts. Among large companies, only 9% said they were increasing their Google ad spend, and only half of companies that outsourced their search marketing were increasing Google spending.
So, where is that money going? Social, for one. According to the Kenshoo/Orion CKB report, 71% of their e-commerce clients and prospects are increasing their Facebook ad spending, and more than half are spending more on Instagram, proving once again that search doesn’t operate in a vacuum.
Budgets may also be migrating away from Google do other search opportunities. With nearly half of all product searches originating on Amazon, vertical search is becoming more and more important. Indeed, on Cyber Monday, sales coming through “shopper helper sites” such as RetailMeNot and CNet, grew by 15.6%, according to Adobe. A survey by NetElixir, meanwhile, indicates half of consumers 35-44 prefer to do their shopping on Internet marketplaces.
Though it may be too late to really ramp up the search efforts for this year — the Kenshoo/Orion CKB report indicates many marketers begin their holiday planning in July — these figures are worth keeping in mind as planning begins for 2017.