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ANALYSIS How leading retailers handled search campaigns ahead of the back-to-school rush

Competitive intelligence platform Adthena analysed how some leading retailers for whom the back-to-school rush is relevant handled the event. Here’s what it found.

Next led the field in paid desktop search, winning 25% of clicks for back to school search terms around stationery, school uniform and school accessories.

Ian O’Rourke, chief executive of Adthena said: “It is positive to see Next beating traditionally dominant retailers of the back to school market. It is interesting because Next has not typically been associated with school uniform or back to school sales. Last year’s leaders Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer are being out-spent and maneuvered by Next and others. M&S was the dominant brand last year, and it is particularly interesting to see that their share of the spend has dropped from 21% in August 2016 to just 9% in 2017.”

However, it says that Next appears to be prioritising desktop over mobile, where Tesco and shoe retailer Clarks take a lead.

The top ads, says Adthena, were focused on shoes, with a Clarks ad seeing the highest number of impressions at more than 66,000. By contrast, Next marketed a selection of ads at different keywords, mostly around clothing. Its top ad focused on ‘girls shoes’, which Adthena says saw 25,000 impressions.

But the top brands dominating paid searches were not always the same ones dominating organic search results in this space. Next won less than 7% of organic clicks on desktop and mobile, while Tesco barely appears at all in organic searches.

“The prioritisation of paid over organic search is a trend we’ve seen across the search marketing landscape recently,” said Ian O’Rourke. “Share of page is an area often overlooked by both paid and organic search marketers, however the two are absolutely critical parts of search marketing strategy and should be viewed together. It has been proven that the organisations which put the most effort into unifying their processes see the best search engine marketing results in the long run, which is why we’ve looked to combine insight from the two in our latest product update.”

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