2014 Top Retailers in Paid Search Report is Here

AdGooroo just released the 2014 edition of our “Top Retailers in Paid Search” report. Among the findings, retailers spent $2 billion on desktop text ads on U.S. Google AdWords and the Yahoo! Bing Network in 2013. This figure is less than $2.3 billion spent in 2012, however it does not count new areas where significant paid search dollars have shifted in 2013: mobile search and Product Listing Ads. (According to another recent AdGooroo study, in the first half of the year top retailers shifted an average of 63% of their desktop paid search budget to PLAs, for instance.)

At $553 million in spend in 2013, Mass Retailers is the highest spending category in paid search by far. The category’s top 3 advertisers by impression share, Amazon, Walmart and Target, are also among the highest spending advertisers in all of paid search.

 Top Retail Categories 2013

#1 Ranked Sites Dominate in 8 of 15 Categories

In 8 of the 15 categories studied, the top ranking advertiser by impressions completely dominated their category and next closest competitor:

 Top Retailers Dominate Category

Changes at the Top in Several Categories

Five out of the 15 categories examined show a change in the #1 position for the Top 50 advertisers based on impression share on Google AdWords desktop search in 2013. There were other notable changes in the top positions as well:

Mass Retailers

Amazon retained the #1 position but Walmart overtook Target in the #2 position. Target fell to #3.

Books & Magazines

Barnes & Noble fell from the #1 ranking in 2012 to #4 in 2013, replaced by Magazine Agent (com-sub.info), a magazine subscription agency.

Children’s Goods

Toys R Us stayed in the #1 spot while Disney‘s disneystore.com fell for the second year in a row, from #2 to #4, replaced in the #2 spot by Lego. Pottery Barn Kids stayed in the #3 ranking.

Flowers & Mail Order Gifts

Rivals 1800Flowers and Proflowers switched positions in this year’s report, with 1800Flowers taking over the #1 ranking and Proflowers dropping to #2. FTD stayed in the #3 position while its florist directory site FTDFlorists.com jumped 56 positions to #46 in the ranking.

Grocery & Food

Nuts.com took the #1 spot from grocery chain Publix, which dropped to #2. Keurig moved into the #3 position, replacing Safeway, which dropped to #5.

Home Improvement

 Home Depot took back the #1 spot in this year’s report from Lowes, which was #1 in last year’s report.

Health & Pharmacy

Walgreens moved into the #1 position from #2 last year, while Walgreens-owned Drugstore.com dropped to #3 from #1 last year.


Blue Nile and Zales kept the #1 and #2 positions this year while Kay took the #3 position from Fossil, which dropped to #5. Tiffany & Co. remained in the #4 position.

Sporting Goods

REI retained the #1 ranking but Cabela’s jumped 3 positions into the #2 ranking, while Finish Line dropped 3 positions, from #2 to #5. BackCountry.com and East Bay remained in the #3 and #4 positions respectively.

Major Brands Rev Up Search Efforts

This year’s report shows double-digit and sometimes triple-digit improvement in the rankings by a number of major brands across various categories, which may indicate they are now putting more resources and effort into paid search to reach customers and drive sales. There were also some major brands that saw significant drops in the ranking as well.

Apparel & Fashion

  •  Zulily is up 21 positions to #9
  • American Eagle, up 18 positions to #11
  • Asos, up 35 positions to #12
  • Urban Outfitters, up 22 positions to #19
  • Lane Bryant, up 57 positions to #29
  • Pacific Sun, up 59 positions to #33

On the flip side, the most notable drop in the Apparel & Fashion category was Old Navy, which fell 22 positions to #35. Old Navy’s parent company Gap also fell, but by only 10 positions to #48.

Beauty & Cosmetics

  • Ulta, up 12 positions to #4
  • Pantene, up 30 positions to #5
  • Neutrogena, up 46 positions to #13
  • Tresemme,  up 60 positions to #18
  • Suave, up 113 positions to #24
  • Aussie, up 40 positions to #30

Major brands that fell in the rankings include Proactiv, which dropped 19 positions to #33 and Mary Kay and Estee Lauder, which both dropped 20 positions to #43 and #45 respectively.

Consumer Electronics

  • HH Gregg improved 18 positions to #16
  • Recently acquired by Apple, audio products brand BeatsbyDre.com jumped 93 positions to #22 in 2013.

Newegg dropped 10 positions to #15

Grocery & Food

  • Starbucks’ retail site, starbucksstore.com, jumped 154 positions to position #19
  • Giant Eagle moved 124 positions to #30
  • Kroger’s King Soopers leapt a whopping 438 positions to #44
  • Fannie May, owned by 1800Flowers.com, jumped 61 positions to #50

Home Improvement

  • IAC’s HomeAdvisor, the former ServiceMagic, moved up 66 positions to #45


  • Up-and-coming Ritani.com broke into the Top 50 ranking this year at #7 from #63 the year prior

Mass Retailers

  • Dillards, up 15 positions to #23
  • Lord & Taylor, up 14 positions to #36
  • Alibaba.com, up 10 positions to #39
  • Bonton.com, up 41 positions to #47


  • Journeys.com, up 19 positions to #15
  • Merrell, up 10 positions to #25
  • Sperry Top-Sider, up 75 positions to #31
  • Ecco, up 41 positions #37
  • Asics, up 85 positions to #39
  • Teva, up 16 positions to #44

Sporting Goods

  • Champs Sports, up 175 positions to #49 in the ranking

Download the full report here.