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2019 benchmark report: brand vs. non-brand traffic in Google Shopping

My Post (58).pngNew research suggests that splitting campaigns to bid separately for branded traffic is worthwhile in many industries.

For paid search managers, developing an effective branded keyword strategy is nothing new. When it comes to Shopping ads, however, the picture gets a lot murkier – Shopping is not keyword-based, and Google only offers negative keywording. Especially in large, granular accounts, the workarounds needed to execute a brand/non-brand split can be quite challenging to implement and maintain.

Is a brand/non-brand split worth it?

This benchmark report excerpt analyzes brand vs. non-brand traffic specifically in Shopping campaigns to shed some light on this topic. To produce this data, we ran a script to parse brand traffic for 750+ European accounts in eight key retail industries for the period from January 1 to June 30, 2019. The data clearly demonstrates the significance of branded traffic for merchants – both in terms of performance and budgetary planning.

Let’s take a look at:

  • Overall brand/non-brand ROAS differentiation per industry
  • Average brand/non-brand cost share per industry
  • Average brand/non-brand differentiation for CPC and conversion rate
  • Why you should care and what to do next

Average branded ROAS is twice as high as non-brand in most industries

Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) is a sometimes controversial but nevertheless widely accepted metric for assessing the overall performance of Shopping campaigns. (Sidenote: I recommend combining ROAS with margin information for a better assessment of profitable growth).

It might come as no surprise, but what our benchmark data proves is that branded traffic delivers a much higher ROAS than non-branded traffic. This is because Google search users who enter branded queries are typically further down the buying funnel than those who don’t: They are already brand-aware and their query implies a brand preference or interest.

Specifically, when I dug into other KPIs, I discovered that this increased ROAS performance is due to two primary factors associated with purchasing intent: on average, higher conversion rates and higher average order values (AOV). Lower average CPC also helps.

For example in Furniture & Home Decor, the whopping +236% ROAS for branded traffic is due to massively higher AOV, while in Health & Beauty, an improved conversion rate is the main driver of efficiency. Both of these influences are discussed in more detail below. – Read more


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