If you’ve noticed an abundance of mattress commercials on television lately, there’s a reason. According to data from AdGooroo parent company Kantar Media, TV advertising for mattresses has spiked in August every year since 2013 at least, averaging $56 million in spend for the month across the 3 years. May and July are big months for mattress advertising on TV as well, averaging $51 million and $46 million, respectively, from 2013 through 2015, compared to an average of $35 million per month across the other 9 months of the year.
If there’s a reason for this particular spend pattern on TV commercials, it’s likely tied to holiday- and seasonal-themed sale promotions (which even occasional TV viewers are undoubtedly familiar with), including Labor Day, Back-To-School and End of Summer in August, the Fourth of July and Memorial Day in May.
Yet, when we looked into advertising spending in paid search, we found a very different and less predictable story.
Specifically, AdGooroo examined U.S. Google desktop text ad activity on the top 151 mattress keywords (not counting the brand name terms of mattress retailers) during the same period, from January 2013 through December 2015.
Overall, we found that the months of November and December averaged the highest paid search spend across the 3 years, around $2.6 million for each month, with single month spend topping out at $4 million in November of 2015.
Although the top month for paid search ad spend in 2014 was August (at $2.9 million), paid search advertising for mattresses on the whole did not match the TV ad spending pattern.
The question is why?
One clue may be found in the creative. The top paid search ad copy by spend in November and December of 2015, for instance, concentrated on pricing and sales with no mention of a holiday-themed tie-in.
Three of the top paid search mattress ads by ad spend, December 2015:
For another view, the following word cloud illustrates ad copy found in the best performing ads of the Top 10 paid search advertisers on the 151 mattress keywords from November through December 2015, i.e., their ads with the highest clickthrough rate during the period . The size of the word depicted is proportionate to the clickthrough rate of the ads that contained them. That is, the bigger the word or phrase in the graphic, the more often the ad containing that word was clicked on by consumers. As is apparent, ‘free delivery’ is a key message in persuading online mattress shoppers to click on a paid search ad.
The lack of seasonal-themed copy is not necessarily surprising given the limited amount of space in a paid search text ad and the need to prioritize messaging. After all, “free shipping” messaging is likely more compelling for shoppers than say a “Thanksgiving Day Sale” message.
The larger implication, however, is that paid search mattress advertisers simply aren’t tied to the same Memorial Day-Labor Day promotional schedule as their TV ad counterparts. Instead, their campaigns may be more closely aligned with general retail trends in paid search, where ad spend skyrockets in November and December as consumers look for savings during the Thanksgiving-Christmas holiday season.
Top Mattress Advertisers
To assess more recent mattress advertising activity in paid search, we also looked at U.S. Google desktop text ad advertising on the 151 mattress keywords from January through July 2016. In total 1,338 advertisers sponsored the 151 mattress keywords during the first seven months of the year, spending a total of $37 million on the keyword group at an average clickthrough rate of 3.64% and an average cost per click of $2.89.
The top 20 advertisers by paid search spend on the mattress keyword group are as follows:
Sleep Number led all advertisers with nearly $2.9 million in spend on the keyword group during the period, followed by Tuft & Needle ($2.6 million), Sears ($2.2 million), Casper ($2.1 million) and Macy’s ($2 million) rounding out the Top 5.
Although Sleep Number spent the most, it ranked 2nd in total clicks behind Sears, which generated an estimated 669,000 clicks during the period compared to Sleep Number’s 621,000 clicks. The difference in the two advertisers’ spend is largely attributable to Sleep Number’s higher average cost per click, $4.65, compared to Sears’ $3.34 average CPC.