US Insights

In US and UK, Amazon rules apparel paid search

Jim Leichenko

Director of Marketing, AdGooroo

Digital 09.14.2015 / 09:30


Kantar
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Despite differences, both nations also share consumer fixation on weddings, prom, and Christian Louboutin

We recently looked at apparel advertising in Paid Search in both the US and the United Kingdom, analyzing Desktop Text Ad activity on the top 2,288 apparel-related keywords on US Google and on Google.co.uk from January through July 2015.

Given that the US is a significantly larger market than the UK, it's no surprise to see far higher spend figures for apparel retailers on US Google than on Google.co.uk ("UK Google"). AdGooroo found that US apparel advertisers spent $289 million sponsoring the top 2,288 apparel keywords on US Google from January through July, compared to around $63.4 million spent sponsoring the equivalent number of apparel keywords on UK Google.

For an additional perspective, we also looked at the average spend for the Top 20 apparel advertisers in both markets during this time. The top apparel advertisers on US Google spent an average of $3.8 million from January through July compared to the UK Top 20 average of around $1 million.

Beyond these figures, we found as many notable similarities as differences.

Key Numbers

  • #1 in the US Zappos (Amazon)
  • #1 in the UK Amazon

Growth in Desktop Text Ad spend by both US and UK apparel advertisers outpaces overall growth. Notably, both the US and UK apparel verticals are spending on Desktop Text Ads at a higher rate than the overall industry in each market. US apparel advertisers increased their spend on the 2,288 US keywords by nearly 17% in 2015, from $248 million in the first seven months of 2014 to $289 million in the same period this year. Overall US spend on Desktop Text Ads by all industries increased by only 10% year over year, going from $9.2 billion spent from January through July 2014 to $10.1 billion spent during the same time period in 2015.

The £41.2 million UK apparel advertisers spent on the 2,288 UK keywords in the first seven months of 2015 represented a 23% increase over their £33.6 million spend during the same period last year. Overall UK spend on Desktop Text Ads by all industries actually decreased by 11% year over year, dropping from £867 million in January through July 2014 to £773 million during the same time this year.

Impressions and competition. Two stats illustrate why apparel paid search spend is higher in the US than the UK. One is the number of impressions gained, which shows that US advertisers are reaching far more consumers. The top 20 US apparel advertisers in the study gained an average of 114 million impressions during the period compared to an average of 38 million impressions for the top 20 UK advertisers.

The other stat pertains to competition: There are far more apparel advertisers competing in the US market than the UK. From January through July, 17,334 advertisers bid on the US apparel keyword group compared to 7,132 advertisers who bid on the UK keyword group during this time-a 143% difference.

Cost per click. Higher competition in the US also helps to explain why the average cost per click (CPC) is higher for apparel retailers in the US than in the UK, as increased competition is shown to drive up CPCs. US apparel advertisers paid an average of $1.28 or £0.59 per click in the first seven months of 2015, compared to an average cost per click of $0.49 or £0.32 for the UK.

Top advertisers. Amazon is at the top of both Top 20 Apparel advertiser rankings, coming in at #3 in the US and #1 in the UK. Amazon-owned Zappos took the top spot in the US. The only other advertiser that both lists have in common is Net-A-Porter, which ranked #16 in the US and #13 in the UK. Otherwise, both markets are well-represented by omnichannel retailers, including mass retailers and department stores, and online pure-play retailers. For the full list, click here.

Branded vs. non-branded keywords. One notable difference between the US and UK markets is in the area of branded and non-branded keywords. Fourteen of the Top 20 apparel keywords on UK Google, ranked by Paid Search spend, were branded terms, including 'nike', 'boden', 'adidas' and 'ann summers'. In contrast, 14 of the Top 20 Apparel keywords on US Google were non-branded terms, including 'prom dresses', 'wedding dresses', 'shoes' and 'custom t-shirts'. This difference in top keywords suggests that UK apparel shoppers are more brand-oriented than US shoppers, who are more focused on finding the type of apparel item they need via the search engines, regardless of brand. For the full list, click here.

Along with higher competition, noted above, the concentration on branded terms in the UK Top 20 keywords may also help explain why CPCs are higher in the US than in the UK, as brand terms are often less expensive than general terms.

Weddings, prom and Christian Louboutin. Both the US and UK Top 20 apparel keywords include a concentration on generic terms related to two special occasions: weddings and proms. There are four such terms in the UK Top 20 and five in the US. In addition, the Top 20 apparel keywords by Paid Search spend in both the US and UK include the branded keyword 'christian louboutin', revealing the popularity of the French shoe designer in both markets.

Source: Kantar Media

Editor's Notes

This article originally appeared on the AdGooroo blog on September 10, 2015. Journalists, to speak with the author, contact us. Follow us on Twitter for the latest news or sign up to receive our email alerts.


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