SEO & PPC advice for fashion retailers

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We use the latest data from Google to optimise campaigns for fashion brands – including device targeting, bid optimisation, CRO & more

Fashion brands operate in one of the most competitive search environments, making every advantage count. As an official Google partner, we receive exclusive insights on industry trends and search behaviours every few months, which we can use to help our clients gain the edge over their rivals.

In this article, we take a look at some of the insights from Google’s latest report for the fashion industry and how we can use them to inform key marketing decisions for our clients.

Key search trends for the UK fashion industry

The latest round of Google search insights for the fashion industry shows a continued trend of growth and recovery in the post-Covid period. With lockdown measures and social restrictions firmly behind us, the demand for clothing, fashion accessories, holiday outfits and the familiar searches are on the rise once again.

Here are the key takeaways from Google’s latest Vertical Trends report:

  1. Clothing searches up by +11% in the UK
  2. 79% of clothing searches take place on mobile
  3. Clicks up +25% for clothing searches
  4. 82% of clicks for clothing searches happening on mobile
  5. Clothing searches peak in November

You can read the full report here

SEO & PPC tips for UK fashion & clothing retailers

The insights in the report show that mobile is only becoming more important and reveals some valuable seasonality trends. So, now, let’s look at how we can turn these insights into actionable marketing strategies.

1. Prioritise mobile searches

The data on device types is clear: the vast majority of searches for fashion and clothing take place on mobile and this carries over into impressions and clicks. This means mobile visibility is crucial and fashion brands should prioritise mobile searches, including mobile PPC campaigns with bids optimised to favour mobile queries.

Also, make sure your website is optimised for mobile because this is a key factor in organic search rankings. Likewise, you should optimise for Core Web Vitals to prevent page performance from hurting your search ranking.

Core web vitals

The issue with prioritising mobile traffic is that many studies over the years have reported higher conversion rates on desktop, even though mobile generates significantly more traffic. This could suggest mobile generates a higher volume of lower-quality traffic and weaken the case for prioritising mobile searches.

This is a common misconception but a closer look into device data hints at the perils of ignoring mobile.

2. Win the mobile UX race

If you look at studies analysing conversion rates by device types from a few years ago, mobile was significantly behind desktop and tablets but the gap has closed a lot in recent years.

For example, this study published by SaleCycle last year finds average mobile conversion rates were 1.81% in 2020, only slightly lower than the desktop average of 1.98%.

Conversion rates by device 2020

Tablets still achieved the highest conversion rates but the trend is swinging in favour of mobile – the question is, why?

First, we can gain some insight into why mobile conversion rates still trail other devices if we look at add-to-cart rates by device, which SaleCycle also provides data for in the same study.

Add to cart rates by device 2020

So users are adding more items to their cart on mobile devices yet conversion rates are still lower, which suggests one of two things. Either users simply prefer to browse on mobile and complete purchases on other devices or they’re running into issues during the checkout and payment process.

According to the SaleCycle study and insights from payment provider GoCardless, poor checkout experiences is the main culprit. Meanwhile, a separate study carried out by Littledata shows the average mobile conversion rate for style and fashion brands was 1.2% – even lower than the average across all industries.

This tells us that checkout issues are even more problematic for fashion brands’ conversion rates.

The fact that mobile conversion rates are catching up with those on desktop provides another clue. The average mobile experience is improving and increased mobile conversion rates align with this trend, meaning we should see even better performance as mobile experiences improve further.

In other words, if you prioritise mobile UX now (especially the checkout and payment process), you could achieve conversion rates significantly higher than the industry average. Mobile is already generating the vast majority of traffic from fashion searches but brands are failing to take advantage of this.

This means you have a lot to gain by leading the way with mobile UX.

3. Prioritise branding during the summer

Earlier, we looked at how searches for clothing in the UK have peaked during November for the past four years and (aside from the first lockdown slump) tend to be lowest in June and the summer months.

With overall demand lower during the summer, you might want to spend less of your budget on paid search ads and prioritise branding through organic search and social media campaigns. This doesn’t mean you want to stop advertising altogether and you certainly want to run your seasonal campaigns for the spring and summer (summer clothing, holiday outfits, etc.) but it’s worth saving some of your budget for the winter months.

In the meantime, you can focus more of your efforts on branding with content marketing campaigns getting ready for the peak season. Start optimising for the keywords you want to gain visibility for in the autumn/winter early so you’re in a good position to take advantage of peak demand and use social media campaigns to reach wider audiences and build brand awareness.

4. Win cheap clicks & follow up with remarketing campaigns

Earlier, we also looked at how CPCs are lowest in October and the post-Christmas period with a couple of dips either side of the summer. These present opportunities to win cheaper clicks, which you can target during peak times with remarketing ads.

Aide from winning cheaper clicks from PPC campaigns, you can also use remarketing to target organic traffic. Just keep in mind that organic visitors often have a lower purchase intent than paid traffic so you’ll want to create remarketing campaigns that reflect their position in the marketing funnel.

Remarketing campaigns typically achieve significantly higher conversion rates than regular ad campaigns and conversion rates actually increase over time. One of remarketing’s big strengths is that you can use lists to target prospects at each stage of the funnel and deliver messages that move them closer to the next purchase, rather than asking them to make the full commitment on day one.

So, by winning cheaper clicks and nurturing prospects with remarketing campaigns, you can achieve higher conversion rates for lower CPCs.

Gaining the edge with data insights

As a 2022 Google Premier Partner, we receive exclusive access to search insights and industry reports. This gives us an advantage over non-partner agencies but Google isn’t the only source of data we use to give our clients the edge over their competitors.

Our intelligent automation system, Apollo Insights, collects data from hundreds of different sources and uses machine learning to detect opportunities, identify emerging trends and predict outcomes. This alerts our team to new search opportunities before they even materialise so we can optimise and put our customers in the best position to seize them first.

Need help with your fashion campaigns?

We have a lot of experience working with fashion brands – get in touch today on 02392 830281 or send us your details here and we’ll call you.

Lee Wilson profile picture
Lee Wilson

Lee has been working in the online arena, leading digital departments since the early 2000s, and oversees all our delivery services at Vertical Leap, having joined back in 2010. Lee joined our company Operations Team in May 2019. Before working at Vertical Leap, Lee completed a degree in Business Management & Communications at Winchester University, headed up the online development and direct marketing department for an international financial services company for ~7 years, and set up/run a limited company providing website design, development and digital marketing solutions. Lee had his first solely authored industry book (Tactical SEO) published in 2016, with 2 further industry books being published in 2019, and can be seen regularly expert contributing to industry websites including State of Digital, Search Engine Journal, The Drum, plus many others. Lee has a passion for management in the digital industry and loves to see the progression of others through personal learning, training and development. Outside the office he looks to help others while challenging himself, having skydived, bungie jumped and abseiled (despite a fear of heights) with many more fundraising and voluntary events completed and on the horizon. As a husband and dad, Lee loves to spend time with his family and friends. His hobbies include exercising, trying new experiences, eating out, playing countless team sports, as well as watching films (Gangster movies in particular – “forget about it”).

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