UK Retailers Spent 27% More on Paid Search in Christmas Season

UK retailers spent 27% more on search marketing through Google and other major search engines during this past Christmas season than in 2011 with more than 31% of all paid search clicks coming from mobile phones and tablets according to data from global digital marketing technology leader, Kenshoo.

The Kenshoo 2012 Global Online Retail Holiday Shopping Report reveals UK retailers’ Boxing Day search ads generated a 34% increase in online sales revenue with a 43% increase in conversion rates year-on-year (YoY) . Overall, for the season, advertisers in the Kenshoo U.K. retail index generated £12.95 return on ad spend or nearly 13 GBP for every 1 Pound invested in paid search.

“Savvy U.K. retailers planned ahead for post-Christmas shopping and allocated budgets to capture Boxing Day peaks,” said Aaron Goldman, chief marketing officer at Kenshoo. “Despite increased competition throughout the Christmas season, Kenshoo U.K. clients adapted their strategies to achieve strong results including creating bespoke campaigns to target consumers by device type.”

The Kenshoo study found that tablets emerged as a critical consumer shopping device, generating 18% of all paid search clicks and 21% of total revenue. More affluent tablet owners produced an average order value (AOV) of £88.48 from search ads, significantly higher than the £73.78 AOV for computers. Despite the strong performance, the average paid search cost-per-click (CPC) for tablets is 31% less expensive than computers.

2012 U.K. Retail Paid Search Key Metrics – Breakdown by Device

    Device   Clicks  Conversions Revenue Ad Spend Cost-per-Click Conversion Rate    Average 
                                                                                Order Value
    Computer 68.88%       78.07%  75.32%   78.74%       GBP 0.36           6.53%   GBP73.78
    Phone    13.09%        3.62%   3.40%    7.09%       GBP 0.17           1.59%   GBP71.98
    Tablet   18.02%       18.31%  21.27%   14.17%       GBP 0.25           5.85%   GBP88.84

Other key U.K. findings revealed in Kenshoo’s report include:

  • When comparing paid search ads across mobile phone operating systems, Apple’s iOS (iPhone) devices were dominant (62.4% of clicks), leaving Android behind (34.55% of clicks) with lower conversion rates and smaller average order sizes, while Blackberry drew just 2.18% of clicks
  • For paid search ads delivered through tablet devices, 98.3% of clicks came from iOS (iPad) with just 1.07% coming from Blackberry and 0.62% from Android
  • Paid search conversion rates in the U.K. grew steadily from late November through the first three weeks in December and did not drop until the final few days before Christmas
  • Consumers were choosier with clicks as Christmas Season paid search impressions were up 18% but clicks were down 2%

The Kenshoo 2012 Global Online Retail Holiday Shopping Report provides charts, graphs and insights supporting these trends along with search marketing imperatives for advertisers in the year ahead for search, social, and mobile.

The data analysed for this report reflect a representative cross-section of Kenshoo clients (advertisers and agencies) managing paid search programs for the retail vertical across all major markets (including Australia, China, France, Germany, Japan, U.S. and U.K.) with active campaigns tracking impressions, clicks, conversions and revenue over the 12+ month period from November 1, 2011 through December 31, 2012. This index includes all major retail categories such as, but not limited to, electronics, books, apparel, appliances, shoes, sporting goods and more. The data set covers 24+ billion paid impressions and clicks on search engines including Google, Yahoo!, Bing, AOL and Baidu that delivered more than $1.7 billion dollars in online sales revenue.

In addition to the U.K., the Kenshoo 2012 Global Online Retail Holiday Shopping Report also includes sections covering search advertising trends in the United States. Please visit http://www.Kenshoo.com/2012GlobalOnlineRetailShoppingSeasonReport to download the entire report.

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