Online retail spending increased a whopping 13% last quarter, according to recent data from comScore. To help search advertisers take advantage of that growth, we asked SEM expert Dave Carter of Yahoo!’s Retail Account Management Team to look over the data and share recommendations on how you can optimize your SEM campaigns on the Yahoo! Bing Network.
Consumer concerns and top product categories in Q1
- 73% of Americans say they’ll change spending habits in response to Jan. 1 increase in payroll taxes
- Changes include reducing spending, looking for sales, and using more coupons
- Seven online retail categories showed year-over-year growth of 15% or more, including:
- Apparel; sports and fitness; consumer electronics; home and garden; consumer packaged goods; digital content and subscriptions; flowers and greetings
Recommendations: Overall retail spending increased just 1% last quarter, dwarfed by the 13% growth for e-commerce. More consumers are shopping online, and they’re turning to search to help find the best retailers and deals. Here are some tips to connect with them:
- Review your account budgets and campaign budgets to ensure you’re dedicating enough funding to the search channel and optimizing your individual search ad campaigns; especially if you’re marketing retail products in the quarter’s top-performing categories.
- Ensure your most profitable keywords are bid for placement at the top of the page, where more than 80% of retail clicks occur. This video shares expert tips on how to bid your way to the top.
Consumer sentiment improves, but price sensitivity drives their behavior
- 40% of consumers say the economy is in “poor” condition---but that’s the lowest percentage since January 2009
- Price-sensitive consumer view free shipping, no sales tax, and exclusive online deals as the most valuable cost-reducing options that retailers can offer.
Recommendations: Consumers are attracted to offers and incentives, so be sure to promote them.
- Review and audit your ad copy to make sure that you’re including your current promotions, using your best-performing copy, and leveraging the most effective ad formats.
- Use Sitelinks Extensions, which allow for up to 6 additional links to display with your ads. This ad format helps you take more SERP real estate away from your competitors.
- Leverage the Rich Ads In Search format for your brand keywords, which are displayed exclusively in the top position on Yahoo! Search and Bing search results pages.
Mobile commerce is ready for primetime
- 11% of all online retail commerce now comes from mobile platforms
- Smartphones are less likely to drive purchase than tablets, but they outnumber tablets and account for greater overall mobile spending activity
Recommendations: All mobile devices and consumers are not created equal.
- Separate your mobile campaign to target each device, which allows you to customize your ad copy and bidding strategy. Check these expert tips on mobile search and the differences between smartphone and tablet customers.
- Optimize your smartphone and tablet campaigns by using the “reporting by hour option” for determine when you get the most traffic by device. If you see a prime time for shopping, apply a bid modifier for those hours to get the best position possible.
- Drive mobile customers to physical store locations, use our Call Extensions ad format to add a clickable phone number to your search ads to encourage consumer engagement and action.
The good news for online retailers is that e-commerce now represents 10.6% of overall consumer spending, the highest share ever. For more information on how to optimize your SEM campaigns and take advantage of this growing market, please contact your Yahoo! account representative.