Ecommerce Christmas trends: Google keyword ads and product listings ‘most important’ ad type


Google keyword search ads and product listing ads (PLAs) are the most important digital ad types for online retailers as they gear up for the 2016 holiday shopping season according to new research.


The global online retailers and their ad agencies by Kenshoo and OrionCKB, also found nthat Facebook is set to take the lion’s share of social budgets while spend on Twitter ads is on a downward trend.

Google keyword search ads were cited as ‘very important’ for their seasonal marketing by 74% of the survey sample, while PLAs were cited as ‘important’ by 61% in the research which surveyed 140 Kenshoo and OrionCKB clients and prospects (advertisers and agencies) who manage paid search and social programmes for the retail vertical including those in electronics, books, sporting goods and others.

Facebook came out as the most important platform for social advertising with half of all social budgets dedicated to it and 71% of retail advertisers and agencies saying their spend on Facebook is up this year compared with 2015.

Other key metrics and findings in the report (titled 2016 Holiday Advertising Survey Report) are:

• Instagram is the second most important destination for social advertising, making up 10% of the social ad budget and half of all companies surveyed said their Instagram spend is higher YoY.

• Twitter saw a large number of companies saying ad budgets are down, with almost a quarter of the sample saying they will spend less on Twitter this year and the majority of others saying spend will remain unchanged.

• 76% of large companies rated video as ‘important’ to their holiday marketing, while only 26% of small companies and 24% of mid-sized companies said the same Seemingly smaller companies fail to recognise that techniques such as rotating images or GIFs can be used effectively in video ads without having to invest in high- level productions.

The survey results showed Facebook will command the majority of social media ad budgets for advertisers. Advertisers will dedicate almost half of all marketing budgets to Facebook, with 71% saying that spend will increase from last year.



New ad types also present new opportunities for advertisers, providing increased ad engagement and interaction. “The holiday season is the most competitive time of year to try to stand out in social feeds, so for the 60% of advertisers whose primary goal is direct response, it could be a good strategy to diversify and test all different types of ads - especially video - to see what will get shoppers’ attention,” said Scott Briggs, Co-CEO of OrionCKB. “The true test will come if one type of ad will start to perform best; it’s important to keep some level of agility to capitalise on that and go ‘all in’ to really maximise spend during the Q4 sprint. The payout is almost always substantial.”

While Facebook will command a larger share of retailer’s social media ad spend, the two most important ad types for holiday marketing programs come from Google. More than 74% of those surveyed said that Search Keyword ads are very important to their holiday marketing programs, while 61% of respondents cited Product Listing Ads (PLAs) as important. Since search is intent-driven it will continue to play an important role in e-commerce and retail holiday programs.

Additionally, the survey shows the importance of omnichannel and omni-ad-type strategies. Chief Strategy Officer at Kenshoo Will Martin-McGill noted “Many sophisticated advertisers focus on customer acquisition strategies that go beyond retargeting. They use lookalikes and pull data from other channels to create new audiences in Facebook.”

Download the 2016 Holiday Advertising Survey report here

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