February was another good month for paid search campaigns for online retail, continuing the pattern of online retail growth outpacing growth for retail overall. PM Digital’s February 2011 Rewind Index, which measures monthly paid search performance for online retail clients, shows that revenue from this source was up 36%, achieved with a corresponding 29% increase in paid search spend. Clicks were up slightly year-over-year, but the bigger factor contributing to sales growth was especially strong improvement in the average conversion rate. The traditionally promotion-laden Presidents’ Day emerged as the top day in February for several key paid search metrics, namely spend, clicks and revenue.
YoY Performance Metrics for February 2011
February’s top paid search revenue day for PM Digital retail clients was Monday, 2/21, which was also Presidents’ Day. Tues 2/8 was a close contender and ended up the second highest day for paid search revenue, as well as the top day for order volume. In general, sales indexes remained solidly above average during February’s first ten days and final four days. Valentine’s Day may have exerted some influence on consumers during the first third of the month, while spring merchandise previews may have had more of a role as March approached.
YoY Performance Metrics for Presidents’ Day
In addition to paid search revenue peaking on Presidents’ Day, that patriotic holiday also saw stronger year-over-year revenue growth (50%) than the average for the month (36%). It should be noted that Presidents’ Day arrived almost one week later this year, on 2/21 vs. 2/15 in 2010, and that extra distance from Valentine’s Day was possibly a factor for some retailers.
February 2011 Top Spend Days: Mon 2/21, Wed 2/2
Two dates at opposite ends of the month shared the status of top day for paid search spend by online retail clients, Wed 2/2 and Mon 2/21 (Presidents’ Day). Taken in context with other metrics, spend earlier in the month seemed to pay off immediately in terms of clicks and over the course of several days in terms of conversion to sales.
February 2011 Top Clicks Days: Mon 2/21 (Presidents’ Day)
Other Key Days: Wed 2/2, Tues 2/1, Tues 2/8
Clicks tracked closely with paid search spend in February, with the highest peak on Mon 2/21 and the second highest peak on Wed 2/2. The trend line of February’s paid search clicks was slightly flatter than the trend line for sales, but had the same pattern of peaks and troughs.
The PM Digital Rewind Monthly Index measures paid search performance for online retail marketers during the prior month. Based on aggregated and indexed performance data, the PM Digital Rewind Index provides immediate, ongoing perspective for the retail sector just a few business days after the close of a given month. The Index covers all retail categories, including merchandise and apparel.
Look for our next edition of the monthly PM Digital Rewind Index covering March 2011 to be released in early April.