By Mark Ballard
Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and paid search advertisers have just a few precious weeks to strategize before the holiday shopping season kicks into full gear.
One common piece of advice you’ll see during this time is for advertisers to review historical holiday performance to guide their bidding and other ad optimizations. However, with so much of a retailer’s merchandise assortment turning over from one year to the next, how deep do we need to dig to predict what will sell well this holiday season?
How Much Item Turnover Is There From Year-To-Year?
Paid search would be a lot simpler for advertisers in the retail space if product collections could remain static over time. We would have a wealth of historical performance data; there would be fewer keyword build-outs and less ad copy creation. We wouldn’t have to worry as much about setting initial bids for product-specific keywords or about optimizing our feeds and PLA targeting settings.
But, the individual items we market have a shelf life. They become obsolete, get replaced with newer models, and fall out of style or favor – or, the manufacturer may simply decide to stop producing the item.
Ultimately, a retailer’s product offering often changes dramatically from one year to the next. This can make it difficult to predict exactly which items will drive the bulk of our critical holiday sales.
Our research team at RKG recently looked at some data around this issue and found that for the average retailer, 51% of 2013 paid search holiday sales came from items that didn’t generate any sales during the 2012 holiday season. For apparel retailers, the rate is often much higher.
(Note that we’ve defined the “holiday season” as the 30 day period beginning with Thanksgiving.)
Are More Recent Results More Predictive?
If we expect that over half of our holiday sales will …read more