Surprising SEM Stats Every E-Commerce Marketer Should Know

Santa’s elves weren’t the only ones busy this past holiday season. Paid search was also working overtime to make sure shoppers ended up with perfect holiday gifts. The share of e-commerce transactions driven by SEM during November-December 2013 was 15%, up from 14% in 2012.

And, organic search accounted for 26% of holiday e-commerce orders. Clearly, Google was the gatekeeper for e-commerce success, with over 40% of all e-commerce sales originating in search queries.

These stats are based on e-commerce data from The Custora Pulse – a free US e-commerce industry benchmark, aggregating transaction and customer data from over 100 US e-commerce retailers, developed and updated by e-commerce marketing analytics company Custora (disclosure: my employer). Most of the stats pertain to the 2013 holiday period, but are just as relevant in 2014.

Surprising SEM Stats Every E-Commerce Marketer Should Know

Stat 1: SEM Conversion Rate Was Up 20% During The Holiday Season

In November and December 2013, conversion rates for e-commerce visitors that came through paid search ads jumped up 20% relative to the rest of the year — from 3.00% in off-holiday months to 3.60% during the holidays. This is compared to a 10% bump for all other advertising channels. (Note: this refers to desktop conversions; we discuss mobile conversion below)

What It Means For Marketers

In an age where showrooming and instant online price comparisons have become the norm, customers have never had so many ways to find bargains with the click of a mouse. And savvy search marketers — the ones that can capitalize on that purchase intent to deliver the right product, at the right time, at the right price — are stepping in to clean up.

Stat 2: The Average Order Value Of E-Commerce Orders Originating From SEM Went Down During The Holiday Season

The average order value (AOV) across all channels except for paid search stayed remarkably stable — and actually inched upward — during the holidays, from $78 to $80. But for paid search, the AOV actually went down. Paid search shoppers dropped their average spend per transaction from $108 to $101. (Note: this is AOV of desktop shoppers; we discuss mobile shoppers below)

What It Means For Marketers

During holiday time, paid search attracts a more price-sensitive shopper: a bargain-hunter on the lookout for great deals. Google Trends identified the hottest-trending search terms in the month leading up to the Black Friday / Cyber Monday frenzy including three of the steepest-discounting big box retailers (Walmart, Best Buy and Toys R’ Us). Search terms like [plasma TV], [iPhone on sale] and [PS4] all saw huge spikes in traffic around Black Friday.

What does this mean for marketers? If you’re able to manage your e-commerce inventory, get your bidding strategy together and promote your deals in a timely way, you may be in for a great holiday season, maximizing revenue and transactions. But it’s worth bearing in mind that these shoppers are likely to be “fair-weather friends” — not the type of loyal customers who will drive long-term value to your business by way of full-price shopping.

SEM + Mobile = A Promising Future?

While the analysis so far has focused on the traditional desktop SEM landscape, the story becomes more complicated when we bring mobile into the mix. Mobile presents its own challenges — and opportunities — to marketers looking to identify insights from last year’s holiday season. Read More…

Source : Search Engine Land

Posted in Search Engine
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