Shelby Gagnon

Product Marketing Manager
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3 Sweet Valentine’s Day Tips to Woo Your Online Shoppers

Valentine’s Day is a sweet time for searches and sales, to the tune of $17.3 billion this past year. With half of purchases occurring within the week before Valentine’s Day and an average spend of $134, this last minute shopping holiday has both retailers and customers on their toes.1

Last-minute shopping: Valentine's Day searching and shopping tend to occur close to the big day. While 90 percent of gifts are purchased within three weeks of Valentine’s Day, the majority (51 percent) are bought in the days before.1 On the Yahoo Bing Network, Valentine-related searches begin to rise during the first week in February, as last-minute Cupids get busy. Some of them are still searching on February 14.2

 

More love to go around. Valentine’s Day is no longer reserved for lovers and spouses to demonstrate their affection. These days, family members, friends, classmates, colleagues and even pets can expect a token of love.1

The sweetest gifts. Did you know that over half of consumers plan to give candy, cards or flowers this Valentine’s Day?1 The traditional Cupids among us will spend $1 billion on candy, and 75 percent of that spend will be on chocolate.3 In fact, 59 percent of men and 83 percent of women say it's their preferred sweet treat – what a sweet time for sales!4

In addition, consumers will splurge on special experiences on Valentine's Day. Fifty-three percent will go out to dinner, 32 percent will prepare a special meal at home, and 16 percent will cuddle up with a movie rental.5 All these activities represent opportunities for marketers beyond the traditional gifts.

And the sweetest gift of all?  Sales!  Here are our top tips for wooing shoppers:

1. Fall in love with your mobile shoppers.

Mobile means on-the-go shopping for Valentine's Day, with 24 percent researching products and comparing prices on smartphones and another 32 percent doing the same on tablets. Fifteen to 20 percent will look up the locations of physical stores, as well as their hours and the best routes.1  And with over half of shoppers making a purchase the week of Valentine’s Day, many of these may be shoppers-on-the-go.

  • Select discount and deal-oriented keywords since smartphone customers search for deals
  • Use our Call Extensions feature to surface your business phone number inside your text ad
  • To drive foot traffic into your store, leverage Location Extensions, where your clickable phone number and directions will be displayed to help customers find your store – not just your website

 

2. Sweeten Up your Ad Copy

Anticipate what your customer will be in search of around Valentine’s Day and create dazzling ad copy to capture their attention.

  • Sweeten up your ad copy to target Valentine’s Day shoppers. For example, “Add some sparkle to Valentine’s Day with jewelry” or "Sweet talk your Valentine with a box of chocolates"
  • Customize your keywords and ad copy with Valentine’s Day seasonally relevant terms
  • Promote shipping options, especially "Guaranteed Delivery" if available. Be clear on shipping timeframe options and guaranteed delivery – you don’t want to disappoint customers if they don’t receive their order in time for Valentine’s Day
  • Include Valentine’s Day keywords to your keyword lists; consider using broad match to send more searchers your way who may be searching for related Valentine’s Day gift ideas

 

3. Fall in love with the Yahoo Bing Network this Valentine’s Day.

It would be heartbreaking to miss 29 percent of your potential customers this season of love, or access to the 32 million retail searchers not reached on Google.6 These cherished searchers are more likely to have spent lavishly on flowers in the previous six months or to have bought cards, gift foods and gift certificates.6

And finally, what advertiser isn’t infatuated with a more cost-effective solution than Google AdWords?7

For additional insights, check out our Valentine's Day seasonal insights deck on SlideShare below, and the Bing Ads Industry Insights Portal for more seasonal and vertical insights.

 Questions? Comments? Feel free to ping me on Twitter.
 

[1] Experian Marketing blog, November 2014

[2] Microsoft internal data

[3] Sweetworks, 2014

[4] Food Manufacturing, February 2014

[6] comScore qSearch (custom), US, June 2014

[7] AdGooroo, Google Adwords vs. Yahoo Bing Network – Average Cost per Click by Industry, Q1 2014

 

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Holiday Preparation Overview: New Year's Insights for Digital Marketers

With December winding to a close and January just around the corner, we're back again at that time of year when we reflect the previous 12 months and imagine the possibilities for the next. It's a fairly universal truth that a lot of people want to do something to assure that this year will be better than the last. In fact, 45% of Americans do. For digital consumers, 35% plan to spend $25 per month or more on their New Year’s resolutions. 

Having said that, it is especially important for marketers to capitalize early and continue to be visible throughout this period of time when people are thinking about their resolutions for the new year. Maintaining focus during this time is critical because research has shown that around 75% of resolution makers maintain their goals through the first week. After that, the numbers drop off to about 64% past the first month. Even so, this still presents a huge opportunity to PPC marketers to help people maybe get it right this time (whatever “It” is). 

It is estimated that $5.6 billion dollars will be spent on resolutions this year, and the top goals that people searched for in 2014 were:

Top New Years Resolutions


 

The majority of searches on the Yahoo/Bing Network were for:

1) Fitness

2) Smoking Cessation

3) Weight Loss

Our New Year’s Insights video below will show you the unique timing characteristics of each category and how you can capitalize on them:

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For other resolutions on the list, it's important to remember to spread your budget across the time frame when people are still thinking about resolutions. If, for example, you offer a product or service that allows for people to “Learn something new and exciting," make sure that online searchers can find it throughout the New Year’s season... skydiving anyone?

That brings us to some of our tips for digital marketers, especially our first one:

Remember that New Year’s is a season.  It's not just a night or a week or month of effort on the part of potential customers. People are plugging in resolution-related queries starting before Christmas and continue well into February, either to get a head start or to get help to make sure they can stick to their resolutions.

Use words that work: Just as New Year’s resolutions create a huge opportunity, they also create huge competition. We've done some research using heat maps to help identify which ad titles and descriptions match up to create the most clickable ads.


 

A word on mobile… or four: DON’T forget about it! Any article offering advice on digital marketing and ignoring mobile today is doing a disservice; in this case, it is especially important. From Christmas to mid-January, mobile searches for “Fitness,” and “Weight loss” spike dramatically, presenting a fantastic opportunity for mobile PPC marketers. What's more, 50% of sporting goods and game purchases, and 35% of health and personal care items were influenced by mobile, either before or during a purchase in-store. People are researching and doing price checks all the way up until they have their money (or card) out.

Diversify:  Bing Ads has made it especially convenient and intuitive to import your Adwords campaigns into our platform.  Remember, there are 14 million health searchers not reached on Google, that's an opportunity that online marketers can't afford to miss.

After you watch our video, check out our New Year’s Slideshare presentation for an even more comprehensive breakdown of some of the hottest trends in digital marketing for the New Year season:

 

To access our entire library of industry and seasonal insights, visit the Bing Ads Industry Insights Portal.

Thanks for reading and Happy New Year!

Shelby Gagnon,

Vertical Insights Specialist

 

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Top Tips and Insights to Blitz the Football Championship Season with Bing Ads

The Super Bowl holds many first and second place records in American culture; the game typically generates the highest national television viewership each year.[1]  It is the second highest day of food consumption in the United States, behind only Thanksgiving, weighing in with 1,200 calories and 50 grams of fat in snacks alone.[2] As far as commercials go, it’s the most expensive television ad spot of the year, with the average commercial (excluding production costs) commanding $4M for the XLVIII game in 2014.

Super Bowl searches start a couple of weeks before the game, typically around dates, times, and the rival teams. Popular keywords in 2014 included “Super Bowl date change,” “Denver Broncos” and “Seattle Seahawks.”3

 

The week before the game, food searches around popular game day foods started climbing. Common food-related keyword searches included “artichoke dip,” “buffalo wings recipe,” “super bowl food ideas” and “super bowl recipes.”  But on the actual game day, searches for pizza took the cake.[3]

During the game, the half-time show became all the buzz. In 2014, Bruno Mars’ half-time performance made history and entertainment sales; a record breaking 115.3 million viewers tuned in to see Bruno Mars perform.[4] After the Super Bowl half-time performance, Bruno Mars’ Unorthodox Jukebox secured the No. 1 spot on the iTunes Top Albums chart and his debut album moved up to No. 3.[5] In support of this history-making viewership and chart climbing music, entertainment searches went through the roof during half-time. Top keywords included “Bruno Mars,” “Bruno Mars songs,” and “Bruno Mars tour 2014.”3

 

And the Super Bowl wouldn’t be the Super Bowl without the ads. In 2014, 78% of Super Bowl viewers looked forward to the commercials.[6] Additionally, 32% of Super Bowl viewers watched a commercial online before the game and 30% watched a commercial again after the game.[7] Searches for Super Bowl commercials peaked the next day, as people watched and re-watched the ads online. Top keywords around Super Bowl ads included “Budweiser puppy love,” “Cheerios super bowl commercial,” and “best Super Bowl ads.”3

For additional Super Bowl search insights, check out our Football Championship seasonal insights deck below. To access our entire library of industry and seasonal insights, visit the Bing Ads Industry Insights Portal.

 

Thanks for reading!

Shelby Gagnon

Vertical Insights Manager



[1] Super Bowl by the DMAs – A National Treasure Built on Local Passion, TVB, February 2014.

[2] Calorie Control Council and Snack Food Association; as quoted by Latin Times, Super Bowl 2014: 9 Shocking Statistics About Sunday Game Day Culture That Will Surprise You, 2014.

[3] Microsoft Internal Data Analysis: Yahoo! Bing Network, Owned & Operated, US, January 1 – February 28, 2014.

[4] Bruno Mars: Most Watched Super Bowl Halftime Show, WebProNews, February 2014.

[5] Bruno Mars Tops iTunes After Most-Watched Super Bowl Halftime Show, Mashable, February 2014.

[6] www.eMarketer.com, Venables Bell & Partners as cited in company blog, January 15, 2014.

[7] Lab42 Super Bowl XLVII Survey, February 2014.

 

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New Year’s Resolutions: Capture Shoppers Searching for a Happier New Year

Post holidays, 'tis the season of renewal, when folks resolve to make positive changes in their lives.  And they're willing to put good money on those resolutions, to the tune of $5.6 billion annually1. Those New Year's bells ring out opportunity for marketers who can help people fulfill their dreams – or at least shed a couple of pounds. The biggest piece of that spending pie will be consumed by the weight-loss industry, with $20 billion in annual revenue2.

45% of Americans typically make a New Year’s resolution, although only 75% maintain through the first week, meaning timing is everything for marketers. 

Here are the top resolutions from 20143:

  1. Lose weight
  2. Get organized
  3. Spend less, save more
  4. Enjoy life to the fullest
  5. Stay fit and healthy
  6. Learn something exciting
  7. Quit smoking
  8. Help others in following their dreams
  9. Fall in love
  10. Spend more time with family

Resolve to up your digital marketing game with these tips this New Year’s season:

1. Understand post-holiday search trends

While the end of one year and the dawning of another turns most people's thoughts to self-improvement, search behavior differs depending on the New Year's resolution and the device used.

  • Fitness - The volume of fitness searches on desktops and tablets remains fairly steady throughout December and January.  Top searches on the Yahoo Bing Network were for Lululemon apparel and Planet Fitness.4
  • Smoking cessation – These searches peak a couple days before Christmas and again the last week of January.  Top searches on the Yahoo Bing Network were quit smoking and Chantix.4
  • Weight loss - Searches begin to build on December 25, with strong peaks through January 25. Top searches on the Yahoo Bing Network were for Garcinia Cambogia (dietary supplement) and Weight Watchers4.
  • Mobile - On mobile devices, the search trends for smoking cessation and weight loss are similar to the desktop; but more post-holiday fitness searches take place via mobile.4
  • Timing - Different search terms also heat up at different times. For example, "quit smoking" is the top term in the smoking cessation category overall, and it peaks January 28, whereas “smoking cessation” peaked a few days before Christmas.4

 

 2. Get schooled on new fitness trends

Mobile devices, wearables and apps will play a big role in the fitness game. Forty-eight percent of U.S. internet users said they would wear a fitness device to improve overall health, while another 41 percent would monitor diet and nutrition5. (Don’t forget to check out the new Microsoft Band!)

 


3. Get moving on mobile – and mobile fitness trends

Mobile continues to be a strong influencer on in-store purchases, especially in the personal improvement game. They play a role in 50 percent of purchases of sporting goods, games and hobby materials; mobiles influenced 35 percent of health and personal care dollars spend in stores6.

To capture shoppers on the hunt for better health:

  • Use our Call Extensions feature to surface your business phone number in your text ad
  • To drive foot traffic into your store, leverage Location Extensions, where your clickable phone number and directions will be displayed to help customers find your store – not just your website

Start the New Year right with search campaigns that help your customers achieve their goals.  Cheers to a New Year of digital opportunity.

For additional insights, check out our New Year’s seasonal insights deck on SlideShare below and the Bing Ads Industry Insights Portal for more seasonal and vertical insights.



Comments? Questions? Leave them below, or ping me on Twitter.

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Social Vibe, New Year’s Resolutions Study, 2013

Euromonitor International

University of Scranton, Journal of Clinical Psychology, 2014

4  Microsoft Internal Data, December 2013 – January 2014

Reasons US Internet Users Would Use a Wearable Health/Fitness Device ,  eMarketer March 2014

Deloitte, The New Digital Divide, US Retail, April 2014

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Blurring the Lines: The Rise of Omni-channel Retail

We all know shopping has changed now that digital and mobile access provide close to real-time price and product information. When we took a look the latest retail stats, one thing stood out: the line between online and in-store shopping is blurring.

At the same time, the whole idea of shopping has expanded to include a heavy helping of research conducted before heading out to a store or hitting the buy button. In fact, shoppers may toggle back and forth between research, product comparison and price-shopping multiple times and on multiple devices before they open their wallets -- real or virtual.

Part of this trend is due to the adoption of mobile devices. With a mobile device usually at hand, consumers have immediate and constant access to information, pricing and the buy button. That's why one out of five consumers turn to search while shopping.[1]

The omni-channel approach to the shopping process does not mean, however, that digital is always the end point for buying. While e-commerce grew much faster than offline retail spending last year, 80 percent of shoppers made their last purchase in a store. [2] In addition, three out of four purchases resulting from a mobile search still take place in a physical store.

 

You've heard about showrooming, when consumers go to a physical store to experience a product hands-on and then go online to buy it at the best price. Well, a recent study showed that the opposite practice -- tagged webrooming -- is just as prevalent. Webrooming shoppers check prices and/or availability online and then head to a store to get the product immediately without having to pay for shipping. Close to nine out of 10 showroomers have webroomed, while six in 10 webroomers have showroomed.[3]  Forrester research estimates that webrooming will result in $1.8 trillion in sales by 2017, up from $1.2 trillion in 2012.[4]

As the line between online and in-store shopping blurs, search has become the bridge uniting digital and traditional retail. Consumers may turn to search at any time during the expanded shopping process to validate that they’re getting the best product, at the best price, from the retailer that will give them the best shopping experience. Search becomes their personal shopper, helping them navigate through the physical and online shopping worlds simultaneously. Retailers who embrace every part of this complex shopping process will be able to connect with shoppers no matter where they are or how they're shopping.

In this omni-channel world, Bing Ads is a prime way to get shoppers' attention and increase sales -- no matter what channel consumers use to buy. There are 31 million consumers who shop exclusively on the Yahoo Bing Network -- and they spend 31 percent more online than the average internet shopper.[5]  Moreover, for every dollar spent in e-commerce revenue from paid search, you can expect to gain another $6 from in-store sales, thanks to the trends we've talked about.[6]

To find out more about how Bing Ads can help you connect with shoppers everywhere and all the time, with more intriguing stats about the expansion of the shopping process, check out our latest insights.


Questions? Comments? Leave them below, or ping me on Twitter.


 

[1] Microsoft, “The Consumer Decision Journey: Retail” September 2013

[2] IBM Survey: Shoppers Poised to Dramatically Expand Purchasing Power Beyond the Store. 15 Jan 2013

[3] "Making Sense of Complex and Contradictory Ecommerce Metrics" Jason Goldberg, VP of Commerce Strategy, Razorfish, January 29, 2014

[4] Adweek, "Study Shows Prevalence of Consumer Webrooming." May 9, 2014 http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/study-shows-prevalence-consumer-webrooming-157576

[5] comScore Explicit Core Search (custom), March 2014

[6] Revtrax, "Measuring the True ROI of Paid Search: The In-Store of Paid Search", August 2011

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Sales Tax Holidays: An Opportunity for Both Back-to-School Retailers and Shoppers

Summer's back-to-school shopping season is the second-brightest period for retailers.  When paired with the sales tax holidays, the combined season gives shoppers an opportunity to save even more on much needed school supplies, and gives retail search marketers an additional opportunity to increase their profits.  Some states enact tax holidays to give their citizens a break on buying essentials, from hurricane preparedness supplies and hunting gear, to clothes and school supplies.

Not coincidentally, tax holidays covering back-to-school purchases are timed for the peak of the $72.5 billion back-to-school and back-to-college shopping season.  Shoppers can save an extra 2 to 10 percent during tax holidays, just by avoiding the sales tax. Savvy search marketers can ignite sales by appealing to bargain hunters with a double dip of savings: discounts, plus no sales tax.

Fifteen states have sales tax holidays that fall during the back-to-school shopping season, according to the Federation of Tax Administrators,[1] exempting clothes, shoes, school supplies and computers from sales tax during limited periods in late summer. (Time periods and items exempt from sales tax vary by state, so check our guide at the bottom of this blog post.)

Help your back-to-school customers take full advantage of the sales tax holidays with these tips:

  • The most effective combos of ad title and ad description change across devices - identify the best ways to reach shoppers on different devices with the Top Keyword Combos for PPC Retail Ads During Back-to-School.
  • Tweak ad copy to create a sense of urgency and capture shoppers seeking deals during the sales tax holidays.
  • Keep an eagle eye on your back-to-school budgets to make sure they’re not depleted during the key shopping dates.
  • Consider geographic bid modifiers during the tax holidays to connect with shoppers in states honoring the tax holidays with strong incentive to purchase.
  • If you sell in multiple states, consider a negative keyword strategy for states that do not honor the tax holiday.
  • Prepare campaigns targeted to the tax-exempt products in individual states. For example, Iowa gives back-to-school shoppers a pass on sales tax for clothing items costing less than $100, while Connecticut extends its tax holiday to clothing and footwear under $300. Then there's Georgia, where the tax holiday covers school supplies, clothing, and computers.

Study up on this chart1 to identify the smartest times to alert back-to-school shoppers of special deals.

For more education on both back-to-school and back-to-college shopping trends, check out Back to School with Bing Ads: Our Top Tips for an A+ Season of Sales and Higher Education Insights to Help Reach Prospective Students with Bing Ads, respectively.

Comments? Questions? Leave them below, or feel free to ping us on Twitter.


[1] http://www.taxadmin.org/fta/rate/sales_holiday.html

 

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