In anticipation of Black Friday, the ‘official’ kickoff to the holiday shopping season, AdGooroo examined Paid Search activity during the first three weeks of November in one of the most popular holiday gift categories, Consumer Electronics.
Specifically, we looked at Product Listing Ad and Text Ad activity on the top 2,500 Consumer Electronics-related keywords based on spend on U.S. Google AdWords Desktop/Tablet from November 1 through November 22. (Mobile Search was not included.)
Best Buy In Charge
After a disappointing holiday season last year, Best Buy vowed to do a better job of attracting online shoppers and reportedly has made a sizeable shift in marketing budget from TV to digital as part of this strategy.
If search marketing spend figures from the last few weeks are any indication, Best Buy is not only making an impressive effort in this direction but is poised to dominate the Consumer Electronics category in Paid Search over the Black Friday weekend and Cyber Monday. AdGooroo found that Best Buy spent $9.8 million in the first three weeks of November on the 2,500 Consumer Electronics keywords studied, more than double its next closest competitor, Walmart, with $4.7 million in spend.
The other advertisers in the Top 5 include Sprint’s retail site, shop.sprint.com ($4.5 million), Apple’s retail site, store.apple.com ($3.1 million) and Amazon.com ($3 million).
Notably, Best Buy spent nearly $7 million more than Amazon, the company most often cited in media reports as the retailer that would benefit most from consumer “showrooming” at Best Buy stores. (This scenario supposed that shoppers would look at products in person at Best Buy’s physical stores but then actually buy them online at Amazon.com to get a better price.)
Also worth noting, Apple’s brand store, Apple.com, spent $2.5 million on top of its retail store’s $3.1 million spend during the period, bringing Apple’s total to $5.6 million. Apple.com features information on the company’s product line and directs consumers to store.apple.com to actually purchase merchandise.
Product Listing Ads
With their colorful product images and prices, Product Listing Ads (PLAs) are seemingly tailor made for the holiday shopping season. However, in the first three weeks of November, Paid Search spend among the Top 20 Consumer Electronics advertisers was evenly split between PLAs ($4.6 million) and traditional Text Ads ($4.5 million).
Eleven of the Top 20 advertisers spent more on Product Listing Ads, 8 spent more on Text Ads, and one advertiser, Verizon Wireless, spent the same amount on both mediums ($1.1 million). Three of the Top 20 did not participate in PLAs during the period: Amazon, Apple.com and Lunexshop.com. Amazon reportedly does not sponsor PLAs as a policy (although AdGooroo found evidence last week that this policy might not be set in stone), while Apple.com, as previously mentioned, is not a retail site and logically is not a fit for PLAs.
The vast majority of Best Buy’s search expenditure went to Product Listing Ads— $7.2 million compared to $2.6 million in Text Ad spend. Product Listing Ads, in fact, appear to be an emphasis in Best Buy’s search marketing strategy. In a report last month, AdGooroo found that Best Buy led Share of Voice for Product Listing Ads among the Top 10 overall PLA advertisers—not just those in the Consumer Electronics category—for the seven-week period from August 31 through October 12.
In addition to being the top Product Listing Ad spender, Best Buy has a very effective PLA program. The retailer led the Top 20 in Ad Coverage, Impressions and Clicks, and garnered a better average Cost Per Click ($1.63) and Clickthrough Rate (6.0%) than the other Top 20 advertisers, which averaged $1.93 CPC and 5.9% CTR. Moreover, Best Buy garnered a whopping 61% Ad Coverage, meaning that its PLA ads appeared 61% of the time when its keywords were searched by consumers. Walmart was the only other advertiser in the study to generate double-digit Ad Coverage (26%). For comparison, the other advertisers in the Top 20 ranking averaged only 5.13% Ad Coverage.
(Notably, in September AdGooroo found that Best Buy led in performance in our review of Product Listing Ad activity on Mobile Device keywords, even though it was outspent by competitors in this Consumer Electronics sub-category.)
Top PLA Keywords
To provide insight into the types of keywords and products included in the study, as well as which gifts consumers may be opening this holiday season, the above chart ranks the Top 20 keywords by Product Listing Ad spend in the first three weeks of November.
Mobile phone keywords made up 8 of the Top 20 Consumer Electronics keywords by PLA spend during the period. The top 6 ranked keywords, in fact, were related to Apple’s iPhone and generated nearly $6.6 million in PLA spend or 58% of the $11.4 million total PLA spend on all Top 20 keywords. The other two mobile phone keywords were ‘htc one m8’ and ‘samsung galaxy s4’.
Two branded game console keywords made the list (‘ps4’, ‘xbox one’), as well as branded keywords for computer and tablet models (‘microsoft surface pro 3’, ‘macbook air’, ‘ipad’). Other branded keywords in the Top 20 include ‘microsoft office’ and fitness device ‘fitbit’. (For additional reading, earlier this month AdGooroo examined the fitness device category in Paid Search and found it to be quite robust.)
Generic or non-branded keywords in the Top 20 include ‘laptop’, ‘laptops’, ‘tablets’, ‘refrigerator’ and ‘solar panels’.