May is prom season and a perfect time to look at this robust Apparel subcategory in paid search.
To do so, AdGooroo examined U.S. Google desktop text ad activity on 172 prom-related keywords from January through April this year.
Altogether, 1,289 advertisers spent $9.9 million sponsoring the 172 prom keywords during the period, at an average cost per click of $1.33 per keyword. The following chart details the Top 20 prom keywords by paid search spend.
Nearly 78% of total spend on the prom keyword group went to a single keyword term, ‘prom dresses’, which generated close to $7.8 million in desktop text ad spend on U.S. Google in the first 4 months of the year.
To put that $7.8 million figure in perspective, more money was spent on the keyword ‘prom dresses’ than on any other term in the entire Apparel category during the period, not just the prom-related keywords in our study.
In fact, the $7.8 million advertisers spent on the term ‘prom dresses’ from January through April was more than 5 ½ times higher than the amount advertisers spent on the #2-ranked Apparel keyword, ‘wedding dresses’, which generated $1.4 million during the same period at an average cost per click of $1.05.
Given that one’s prom and wedding are arguably the two most important life events for dress purchases, we found this disparity in paid search spend intriguing and decided to explore it further.
When comparing the larger prom dress and wedding dress sub-categories in paid search (not just the two terms ‘prom dresses’ and ‘wedding dresses’), we found a similar phenomenon. From January through April this year, AdGooroo data showed 1,601 advertisers spent $2.8 million sponsoring 331 wedding dress-related keywords on U.S. Google desktop text ads—far less than the $9.9 million advertisers spent on the 172 prom-related keywords, as detailed above, and significantly less than the $7.8 million spent on the single keyword ‘prom dresses’ as well.
Ultimately, the disparity in spend between prom dress keywords and wedding dress keywords seems to come down to consumers. Specifically, there were more than twice the number of searches on the term ‘prom dresses’ (12.5 million) as there were for the term ‘wedding dresses’ (5.3 million) during the four months we studied. And though we could not find statistics on the number of female students who attend a high school prom in the U.S. each year, based on the difference in search volume on those two terms, we can only surmise that the figure is far higher than the 2+ million U.S. women who get married each year.
Top Prom Dress Advertisers
As for the top advertisers on the prom keywords, a number of them also sell wedding dresses. In the following chart, David’s Bridal is shown to be leading the category, garnering 12.12% of paid search clicks on the 172 prom keywords from January through April, followed by PromBelle.com (10.31%), FabBeautyDress.com (7.48%), JJ’s House (6.13%) and T.J. Maxx (5.43%).
Note: The results of this report are limited to the 172 prom-related keywords studied. Advertisers may be sponsoring additional keywords that, if measured, would alter the findings of this report.