Paid-Search Ad Clicks Rose During U.S. Holiday Weekend, But Investments Paid Off

Dollar-signs-Clouds-Shutterstock-BMarin Software and Kenshoo released data Wednesday that reveals an increase in percentages spent on paid-search ads during the Thanksgiving Day 2012 holiday weekend compared with 2011. While marketers increased budgets, consumers spent, spent and spent again.

For the most part, return on investments in paid-search ads paid off for brands looking for a little love. Marin's clients increased budgets on turkey day by 59%. Kenshoo clients saw a 65% increase in revenue driven by a 10% uptick in search ad spend.

It all comes down to supply and demand for keyword terms. From Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday for Marin's clients, the amount spent by retail marketers on paid-search terms rose 43%; and cost per clicks (CPCs), 20% compared with 2011, as competition among retailers for search terms grew.

Suzy Sandberg, president at search marketing agency PM Digital, noted Tuesday monitoring "astronomically high" CPCs on Google and Bing during the holiday weekend -- up between 30% and 50% across the board.

On Cyber Monday, retailers working with Kenshoo drove a 44% year-on-year increase in online sales revenue from search marketing, but the amount spent on search ads rose 51%. Impressions, clicks and conversions rose 66%, 57%, and 52%, respectively. The average order value, compared with the previous year, fell 5%; conversion rate, 3%; return on ad spend, 3%; cost per click, 3%; and click-through rate, 6%.

On Thanksgiving Day for Kenshoo clients, the average order value rose 19%; conversion rate, 4%; and return on ad spend, 50%; while the cost per click fell 17%, and the click-through rate rose 28%. Black Friday showed lower YoY revenue growth compared to other key days, but still delivered a 24% uptick.

Aaron Goldman, CMO at Kenshoo, said search marketers have "upped their game" this year, as consumers respond by buying early and often. "If this pace continues it will be a very merry Christmas for the SEM world," he said.

Overall, the November holiday season continues to show double-digit growth on conversion rates and return on ad spend, as major retailers have become more sophisticated with their search marketing programs and deployment of technology solutions, including managing Google Product Listing Ads.

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