One question we have gotten from our retail clients for years at The Search Monitor is: “What offers should I be running to get the best CTR and to stay at least on par with my competitors?

Yes, there is a lot of free data out there that has attempted to answer this question. But it’s free for a reason. It just isn’t precise.

If a search marketer wanted the good stuff, the top-shelf accurate data that leads to smart business decisions, it usually required a significant amount of work to find and assemble the data. Then, the question was always: “Can I really trust this?”

The Search Monitor came a long way in addressing the issue of inaccurate SEM data this year when we partnered with comScore and gained full access to their amazingly rich database of online measurement data.

The Search Monitor crawls the web regularly and knows what advertisers are running on search engines, where the ads run, how often and when they run, and lots of other helpful data. But comScore provided the post-click perspective that added the color commentary that our clients desperately need to make smarter decisions.

The comScore data set is deep (lots of history), broad (lots of categories), varied (lots of different metrics), and incredibly precise and reliable (it comes from a large trust-worthy data set).

So now, onto the question at hand. We wanted to find out the most popular offer type for retailer. We used Lighthouse (which is the name of our product combining data from us and comScore) to pull offers used by SEM advertisers in October 2013. The findings are below:

Top 5 Retail Offer Types

We didn’t expect things like:

– Nearly 40% of all advertisers were using Free Shipping, higher than announcing a ‘sale’. We thought that would only spike this high in November.

– Only 14% mentioned a minimum spend requirement to get free shipping. Was this on purpose?

– Offering a free product with purchase is not as common as we would have thought

– Very few retailers combine both free shipping with money off the purchase – it’s either one or the other

While our team was surprised with many of these findings, we’d be curious to see how other search marketing experts interpret this data. What do you think are the implications for search marketers running offers this holiday season? What other ways could this data be sliced and diced to learn even more?.

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Lori Weiman
-Lori Weiman is the CEO and Co-founder of TheSearchMonitor.com and has been creating products for SEM and SEO marketers since 2002. Prior to The Search Monitor, Lori co-founded KeywordMax.com (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 Food.com. Lori holds a degree in business from Emory University, and a J.D. degree from the University of Baltimore School of Law.