Paid-Search CPCs To Rise With Competition, Investments In Retail Online Technology

Holiday-Wrap-Boxes-Retailers and consumer product goods companies continue to invest in online and mobile technologies that attract consumers shopping onling and in stores, but those plunking down the bucks for innovation might be driving up paid-search ad keywords for all.

Tracking paid-search budgets for an aggregate group of retail clients, Performics data identifies an 88% increase in spend and 43% rise in click-through rates between Oct. 30 and Nov. 15 compared with the same time period a year ago. Retailers and consumer product goods companies will continue to invest in technology, driving up competition and prices for specific keywords.

The cost per click for the first week in November rose to 32% -- up from 12% between Oct. 2 and Oct. 8, respectively, compared with the year-ago time period, according to Performics. Retailers should expect the 2011 holiday season to become the most competitive year for online keyword bids.

Nearly seven in 10, or 68%, of retailers participating in Shop.org's eHoliday survey conducted by BIGresearch, expect their company's online sales to grow at least 15% compared with last-year's holiday season, up from the 63.8% who had those expectations last year. The survey is supported by new data from the National Retail Federation (NFR) that found the average shopper plans to do about 36% of holiday shopping online, up from 32.7% last year.

Many retailers invested in new technologies and site and service features in anticipation of selling more online, according to the NFR. More than half, 51%, said they have significantly invested in mobile-optimized Web sites and 19.6% invested in tablet device apps. Google said it would consider mobile optimized mobile Web sites and paid-search ad rankings.

Slightly more than 35% of retailers said they have significantly invested in QR codes in offline advertising, such as magazine ads and billboards. Of those who regularly use social media platforms, nearly three-quarters admit to investing in their Facebook and about 41% in Twitter accounts.

The survey reveals that more shoppers this year will buy online, with 36.3% spending more online if shipping comes free. Thirty-seven percent said a lack of desire to fight in-store crowds -- and nearly 30% said the ease of comparing prices -- will drive them to buy online.

Consumers will get information about retail sales and promotions from a variety of channels. The survey found that nearly three in 10 will check out a company's Facebook page for more information and about 65.1% will read customer reviews on their Web site.

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