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Retailers’ search spend up in Q4

A recent SearchIgnite report reveals that retail search spend has grown in anticipation of fourth quarter holiday sales.

Year over year, multi-channel retailers have increased their US search spend by 33% so far in Q4 2008, compared with spending at this time last year. The quarter to quarter increase in spending has also grown over last year’s: between Q3 and the first half of Q4 2007, search spend rose 40%, but this year, search spend went up 58% between Q3 and the first half of Q4.

“Retailers are increasing their spending in Q4 at a faster rate this year than last year, which is very interesting given the current economic environment,” said Roger Barnette, president of SearchIgnite. “To put that into context, we feel that retailers are being much more cautious about where they spend and are putting their money into performance-driven media. This means they continue to invest in search, perhaps at the expense of other channels that aren’t performance-based models.”

He added that search marketing is an efficient way of buying media, which could account for some of its added appeal in a slow economy.

The first two weeks in November, in particular, saw a sharp increase in search spend by retail clients, Barnette reported. In fact, that increase is responsible for much of the overall quarter over quarter increase.

“We think that bodes well for what will hopefully be a strong rest of the fourth quarter,” Barnette said. He added that he expects marketers’ interest in search and other performance-based media to continue growing next year.

“You’re going to see continued strength in search marketing and other performance-based digital channels, such as performance-based display ads and behavioral targeting,” he said. “The market is moving more in that direction, and performance-based media will be bucketed in one group, where search will be part of the performance landscape instead of its own segment.”


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