For Fashion & Apparel retailers it’s that time of year again, Christmas is over, the January sales have finished and Valentine’s aside, it’s a quiet couple of months until Spring/Summer collections launch.
For most, this is a time for planning. New marketing calendars are created. Budgets are proposed, and growth targets are set. Inevitably, the majority of this budget is focused on the peak periods, whether that’s next Christmas or a summer sale. That can leave some small numbers for Paid Search in Q1. Mostly, the vast proportion of this focused on remaining visible on branded and bottom-funnel/in-market searches to keep revenue as high as possible over this quieter time.
This article will propose a change to the status quo. Given that paid search operates an auction mechanic, when the market is low, the cost per click is typically lower too. Below you’ll find some helpful tips on how to stay ahead of the competition and grow audience size throughout the year.
Building a Paid Search Strategy
Pick your Focus Themes – We advise working closely with your agency and merchandise team to align on what to push and when. What is the next collection being launched? Build out a campaign in advance of this to build an audience to target.
Peaks outside of Christmas – Whilst Black Friday and Christmas period are usually lucrative, there are plenty of opportunities throughout the year. Depending on your global coverage, seasonal events like Ramadan, Easter, Independence Day offer in-market users looking for a new addition to their wardrobe – these are often less saturated in advert results too.
Product Launches – New shiny products will often catch users eyes and can help create compelling and fresh advert copy. Definitely a time to be aggressive and broadcast this to potential new customers – don’t forget lapsed and returning customers either though!
Key Competitors/Wholesale Partner Activity – This a time where you should consider pulling back spend. If you know your value proposition is weaker than your competition, save your budget for when you can compete, or better yet surpass competitor USP’s.
Extra Tip – This doesn’t necessarily need to be account-wide, e.g., if the competitor is Swimwear-focused, re-allocate budget into non-Swim campaigns for that time period.
Judging Success – What should good performance look like?
Audience Size – The easiest and most tangible form of analysis – how many people have clicked on your advert and engaged enough to form part of your audience segmentation? Be sure to archive reports so you can check back on progress over longer timeframes.
Click-through Rate (CTR%) – A great way to see how users are responding to your advert copy. A low CTR% does not mean performance is bad; broader searches e.g. ‘dresses’ will always have a lower CTR% than a more qualified one where competition is lower e.g ‘embellished red sequin dress’.
Average Time on Website – The job isn’t done once the user is on the landing page, average time per session is an important metric in judging whether the user is suited to the Brand and products displayed. Consider combining all users sessions together into a ‘total time on site metric’ – 3 hours of total time on a landing page is a nice statistic to share.
Impression Share – A bit more complex, but useful nonetheless. Using Google’s Auction Insight functionality, you can see how often you are showing relative to search traffic. For example, a 40% impression share states that 4 in 10 times your advert is showing when the given keyword is searched.
Reasons for a low impression share are usually budget-related, but can also be due to a low relevancy, in which case it’s time for an ad copy change.
Annual Review – Bringing the above together in an annual review helps display long-term success, as well as opportunities for growth. Whilst audience size can be seen straight away, KPI’s such as revenue and Brand search uplift are more long term, but important metric to consider.
Spend now to avoid spending later
With audience functionalities allowing for year-long harvesting of search intent, the value for money for audience building is in the earlier months of the year. Simply put, spending early in the year means less spend is needed in the competitive months for the same outcome. To see one way of how this was done. Check out our case study with fashion retailer Lipsy here.
Analysis can be difficult and time-consuming, but it’s not about finding all the answers every time. Focusing on improving one or two metrics for the next campaign cycle leads to incremental growth, and as processes become familiar through teams, this will scale, and product launches and audience builds will become seamless and second nature over time.
If you are a fashion brand looking for advice on your PPC strategy for 2022. Get in touch today to discuss further.