The Cost Per Click On Retail Sites Could Offset Those On Search Engines

For the first time this past holiday season, brands had an opportunity to bid on paid-search ads running across a network of retail sites using a cost-per-click model. Major participating retail sites used the CPC model allowing brands to bid on the top ad space.

HookLogic ran a study sampling more than 500 million impressions on peak shopping days during Black Friday. Eleven major retailers participated.

Several reports released earlier this month analyze digital trends and CPCs across a variety of markets. Several factors have produced unstable CPCs in the past six months, but HookLogic believes its paid-search ads on retail Web sites should help to stabilize costs.

Here how it works. HookLogic's paid-search ads appear on ecommerce sites like Target, Sports Authority, Walmart, Sears, and Staples -- supporting searches on retail sites, rather than engines. The CPC reflects prices that brands in different markets paid to be featured on top retail Web sites. In 2012, Forrester Research released a study estimating 30% of online buyers begin researching purchases on Amazon compared with 13% on a search engine like Google or Bing.

When consumers go to Target.com or many other top retail Web sites and type in "Seattle Seahawks jersey," for example, they often see paid featured product ads from brands. Brands selling related products bid on the ad space, similar to the way they would bid in Google AdWords or on the Yahoo Bing Network.

On HookLogic's network, the return on ad spend for the ads exceeded 940% on Thursday and Friday, averaging more than 680% for the shopping week. CPCs rose 60%, with the average price of a click between $0.36 to more than $0.58.

Brands selling office supplies paid the most for clicks, at about $1.40. Those selling electronics paid a bit more than $1. Food, beverage and tobacco followed at $1, and vehicles and parts hovered just under that amount. Products related to business and industrial paid the least, at $0.24. Cameras, baby equipment, hardware, furniture, hardware, sporting goods and toys ranged from $0.60 to $0.80.

The Toys and Games category led the impressions with 34%; followed by Electronics at 22%; Software, 11%; Baby and Toddler, 9%; Home & Garden; 7%; Health & Beauty; 7%, Apparel & Accessories; 5%; Furniture, 4%; and Office Supplies, 1%.

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