By Lori Weiman

CEO & Co-Founder, The Search Monitor

Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and that means that “Black Friday” is also almost upon us. And this of course means that all kinds of retailers all across America are readying for a strong surge of shoppers not only in-store, but online as well.

In order to stay relevant and top-of-mind with today’s consumer, retailers must always keep introducing new products, programs and campaigns. And here at The Search Monitor, we are always launching new programs via our TSM Labs wiki – where you can find all the latest research findings, learning and insight from us. Recently, we’ve published performance data across 1,200 micro-verticals for SEM, SEO and PLAs. This performance data is compiled via our exclusive and innovative Lighthouse product, which combines the power of The Search Monitor’s comprehensive keyword monitoring database (and pre-click data) with comScore’s audience measurement system.

Thanks in large part to the introduction of massive amounts of comScore data into our platform, we have been able to measure and release some amazing metrics, including average ad spend by industry, where PLAs are running, ad copy variations, and several CPC and CTR benchmarks. We are quite excited about the many industry benchmarks for search performance that we now have access to.

We recently used Lighthouse to compile extremely precise data on monthly PPC ad spend by vertical. To help our retail clients plan out their Holiday campaigns, we looked closely at the top retail verticals.

As you can see, we found that the top spenders resided in:

  1. Household
  2. Entertainment
  3. Apparel

We also recently went to work in the TSM Labs to examine the top retail verticals even closer, even analyzing which verticals have the highest number of ad copy variations in paid search ads.

As you can see, we found that Office Supplies and Household had the highest number of variations, with each of those verticals seeing over 60,000 ad copy variations in a two-day period.

When you compare your actions to those in other industries, you can find some surprising things. Usually companies benchmark themselves against something that is way too narrow, like other companies that sell tents; or way too broad, like every single advertiser using search engines. But here at The Search Monitor, we’re seeing very important differences among industries. Many times, we’re not even entirely sure why, so we have to ask our clients, who understand and know their industry much better than we do.

Lori Weiman has been creating products for SEM and SEO marketers since 2002. Prior to The Search Monitor, Lori co-founded (now a division of Digital River, Inc.) which provides campaign optimization software to SEM marketers and agencies. Lori started her career at Time Warner Cable as part of the team responsible for inventing on-demand television. She has held executive level positions at several early stage ventures including Click Forensics, Webquarters, and Lori holds a degree in business from Emory University, and a J.D. degree from the University of Baltimore School of Law.

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