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Black Friday 2013: which toy retailers topped the rank vs. frequency chart in SEM?

The Black Friday shopping weekend was an amazing opportunity to study the different search marketing strategies in play.  The Search Monitor decided to look closely at one interesting vertical – toy retailers – and two important search marketing metrics in that vertical: ad rank and ad frequency. We were very curious how the leading toy retailers would balance these two important metrics.

The chart below contains data from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday for 7 of the bigger players in this vertical.  Other than Kohl’s, the other 6 retailers fell into an approximately linear relationship where higher frequency led to better rankings. That’s a win-win!

Biznology - Black Friday Search Marketing Ad Rank Vs. Frequency - The Search Monitor

English: Logo of Target, US-based retail chain
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Target was a good example of this. Their ad frequency over this period was around 70% and their average ad rank was 4%. Conversely, Sears had a much lower ad frequency over the period, only showing their ads 25% of the time with an average rank of 5.4. Sure, Target likely had to spend more money to get such great visibility, but you could argue that this was a very effective strategy for that important weekend.

Kohl’s, meanwhile, succeeded in getting the best average ad rank among the toy retailers profiled on the chart, slightly ahead of Target’s, but their ads did not show up as often as many other retailers. This might have been a strategic decision if toy-related keywords are not that important to their business. (When you think of Kohl’s, do you think of toys?)

What are your thoughts on the Black Friday trade-off between ad rank and frequency in the Toy vertical? Is there a right strategy? The Search Monitor would love to hear your thoughts!

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