Fitbit, Target & Others Dominate Fitness Devices in Paid Search

In the wake of Microsoft’s recent announcement that it’s getting into the fitness tech space with the Microsoft Band, AdGooroo examined Paid Search advertising for fitness devices in the U.S. and found that it’s a notably robust market dominated by an elite few.

fitness device paid search AdGooroo 1

Specifically, AdGooroo examined Paid Search activity on 109 fitness device-related keywords on U.S. Google from January through September this year. According to our findings, advertisers spent $11 million sponsoring the 109 terms in the first three quarters of 2014 on U.S. Google Desktop/Tablet, with $4.7 million devoted to traditional Text Ads and $6.3 million spent on Product Listing Ads. (Mobile Search was not included.)

Note: The advertisers cited in this report may be sponsoring additional fitness device-related keywords that, if measured, would alter the report’s figures.

Top Advertisers

Fitness device paid search Top 20 Advertisers AdGooroo

The clear leader in the category is device brand, Fitbit, with $1.5 million in spend or 14% of total spend generated by the entire keyword group in the first 9 months of the year. There were three other advertisers in the ranking who market their own branded device(s), including Nike ($318,000), Jawbone ($122,000) and Garmin ($110,000). Apple ($163,000) has been selling other brands’ devices on its site, but in September announced its own Apple Watch due in 2015.

Otherwise, the list is dominated by retailers, including Target ($1.1 million), Amazon ($726,000), Kohl’s ($691,000), Best Buy ($662,000), Walmart ($620,000), REI ($379,000), HeartRateMonitorsUSA.com ($362,000) and RadioShack ($269,000) in the Top 10. (HeartRateMonitors.com, a sister site to HeartRateMonitorsUSA.com, spent an additional $75,000 on the keyword group during the period, which brings the combined total of both sites to $454,000.)

An Elite Few Dominate

Earlier this year we published a study showing that an elite 1% of advertisers in the U.S., U.K. and France garnered 80% of Paid Search clicks across 10 categories. We uncovered another aspect of this phenomenon among fitness device advertisers as well.

Specifically, the Top 20 advertisers — representing 3.9% of the 510 total Product Listing Ad advertisers — accounted for $4.9 million or 77% of all Product Listing Ad spend from January through September. Looking at this another way, the Top 20 advertisers actually spent as much on Product Listing Ads ($4.9 million) as all 1,464 total advertisers spent on Text Ads during the 9 months studied.

In addition, the Top 20 advertisers spent $3.6 million on Text Ads, which means that 1.3% of the 1,464 total Text Ad advertisers accounted for 73% of total Text Ad spend.

Product Listing Ads vs. Text Ads

Fifteen of the Top 20 advertisers spent more on Product Listing Ads than Text Ads during the period, with  seven advertisers actually concentrating all or nearly all of their Paid Search budget on PLAs (Rakuten, Brookstone, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Apple, NoBetterDeal.com, eBay and Bed, Bath & Beyond.)

On the opposite end of the spectrum were Garmin and Amazon, the only two advertisers not to use PLAs for the keyword group during the period studied. (Amazon reportedly does not sponsor Product Listing Ads as a policy.)

Top Keywords

fitness device paid search AdGooroo Top 20 keywords

For insight into the fitness device keywords being sponsored, the above chart ranks the Top 20 keywords based on spend on Text Ads from January through September.(Product Listing Ad activity was not included.)

It’s not surprising that Fitbit was the top spending advertiser considering that there were 6 Fitbit brand terms in the Top 20 keywords by spend, including ‘fitbit’, ‘fitbit flex’, ‘fit bit’, ‘fitbit force’, ‘fitbit one’ and ‘fitbit.com’.  Moreover, spend on the 6 Fitbit keywords accounted $2.7 million or 55% of all spend on Text Ads for the 109 keywords studied.

Including the Fitbit terms, there were 11 branded keywords for fitness devices in the Top 20.The other branded keywords include ‘nike fuel band’ and ‘jawbone up’ as well as three Garmin brand terms, ‘garmin connect’, ‘garmin forerunner’ and ‘garmin watch’.The remaining keywords in the Top 20 ranking are generic terms such as ‘heart rate monitor’, ‘pedometer’ and ‘digital scale’.(The latter is not likely wearable but presumably necessary to get one’s accurate weight for various uses with the other devices.)

Perhaps a hallmark of a hot category, there was particularly intense competition on fitness device keywords in the first 9 months of the year. The Top 20 keywords, in fact, averaged 47 advertisers competing on each term, with branded terms averaging 35 advertisers and generic terms averaging 61 advertisers.