- Gap recently cut its keyword on paid search ads by 95%, according to an Adthena analysis of 2.2 billion impressions across about 3 million paid desktop and mobile ads from December 2017 to June 2018. Gap increased its keywords from 225 to nearly 1,000 between January and mid-March 2018, and then dropped them to 50 by mid-May. Gap cut its women’s fashion terms and was using 190 terms by early May.
- Gap is devoting most of its search investment on brand and sister brand terms. Over the past few months, 76% of clicks have come from these terms. In women’s fashion, the top performers have been “gap,” “athlete,” “gap com,” “old navy com” and “www.oldnavy.com.” The company continued using non-brand terms, like “denim dress” and “women’s suits,” but they weren’t the focus.
- The company’s clickshare dropped to 0.1% in women’s fashion at the end of May 2018, one of the weakest performances that Adthena reports seeing from a major retailer. That’s after reaching 0.8% in early January. Gap’s product listing ad clickshare grew from 2% in December to 3% by the end of May, with spikes above 4% over the time period.
The Adthena analysis highlights how dramatically Gap has cut its search strategy as sales have stalled. Paid search is an important strategy for retailers, so Gap trying to get by with the minimum could signal trouble for the company. Despite being an iconic American brand, focusing search terms on sister brands like Old Navy and Athleta is a smart move for Gap, however, since these brands have been some of the top performers for the parent company. By not investing in terms like "spring jacket" the marketer is missing an opportunity to lure in new customers.
In general, paid search marketing continues to grow as marketers invest more of their budgets to reach the growing numbers of consumers initiating their purchasing journey's online. Google has long dominated the space but Amazon has recently made inroads.
Gap Inc. reported an 8% net sales increase for Q2 to $4.1 billion. Comparable sales grew 5% for Old Navy and 2% for Banana Republic, but dropped 5% at Gap. The company is projecting that comps will be flat to slightly positive for the 2018 fiscal year. In June, the company tapped Neil Fiske as the new president and CEO of the Gap brand. Fiske formerly led a brand turnaround for Billabong, and Gap is clearly hoping he can help the brand regain its top spot among fashion retailers.
This month, Gap unveiled its fall campaign “Good Creates Good,” which is promoting the retailer’s new Soft denim and celebrates what inspires people to feel good and look for the good in others. The campaign features a diverse cast of influencers with reputations for doing good, and content will run across paid social, owned and digital channels.