Study: Search marketing winners and losers for the royal wedding
- On the day of the royal wedding, Bergdorf Goodman and Matches Fashion increased their click share by 17% and 9%, respectively, surrounding the search term “Erdem,” according to an analysis by search intelligence platform Adthena that was provided to Marketing Dive. Neiman Marcus increased click share by 27%, pushing Nordstrom out around the term “Jenny Packham.” Erdem and Jenny Packham were the two designers that many speculated would make Meghan Markle’s dress before the wedding.
- Adthena analyzed thousands of paid and organic searches in the week leading up to the royal wedding of Markle and Prince Harry on May 19. The analysis uncovered a battle between fashion sites MyTheresa.com and Farfetch.com over the search term “Stella McCartney Wedding Dress.” Markle wore a Stella McCartney dress to the reception. In the four days leading up to the wedding day, MyTheresa increased click share from 45% to 85%, knocking Farfetch’s down to 16% from 36%. On the wedding day, MyTheresa dropped out completely, and Farfetch owned a 72% share of clicks.
- On “royal wedding” text ads, NPR and E! Online grabbed 39% and 28% of clicks, respectively. Top Google Shopping product listing ads (PLAs) included tea towels, flowers, flags, paper dinner plates and fascinators. Amazon broadly matched royal wedding-related search terms, likely relying on Dynamic Keyword Insertion— but “wedding" was misspelled, resulting in a lost opportunity.
The Adthena analysis demonstrates how brands and digital media that build campaigns around popular or newsworthy events can drive engagement. Search ads are projected to make up 42% of total digital spending in 2018, reaching $95 billion, according to Zenith data discussed in a Recode report.
While royal weddings usually generate plenty of buzz, the nuptials of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were especially popular in the U.S., because of Markle being American-born, resulting in a number of marketers doubling down on paid search to capitalize on this interest. The BBC, for example, appeared most frequently on PLAs for royal wedding merchandise in an attempt to drive traffic to its online shop offering royal wedding merchandise, according to Adthena's report. Fashion retailers also bid aggressively on wedding related terms, resulting in a few battles for click share. However, not all retailers bidding on wedding related terms came out winners. Amazon likely missed out on key opportunities with its misspelling of "wedding" and the use of dynamic keyword insertion.
While fashion brands jumped on the excitement and speculation over Markle’s dress, news and entertainment outlets focused their campaigns more broadly to encompass the various aspects of the event that they might cover, like whether Markle’s father would attend the ceremony.
The event also dominated social media and drew 29.2 million viewers in the U.S., compared to the 22.8 million who tuned into see Prince William marry Kate Middleton, according to CNBC report, citing Nielsen data.
In addition to paid search campaigns, a number of brands incorporated the royal wedding into their marketing strategies to tap into the excitement over the event. For example, Dunkin’ Donuts released a special heart-shaped donut, and Boodles gin offered etiquette advice and lessons on being “truly proper.”