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How has non-essential shops reopening impacted paid media?


Blog Article

Over the past year online retailers have seen a boom in performance as consumers heed the Government’s advice to stay at home & stop the spread of Coronavirus.

At the same time, their offline counterparts have had a tough year with several high street retailers permanently closing their doors & Primark losing £3bn in sales.

However, on 12th April the UK Government reopened non-essential shops & hospitality venues returning the country to some semblance of normality. Since this date, we have seen some interesting trends emerge within our Retail & Automotive clients.

Across the board search volume is down, suggesting that consumers are either reverting to their previous habits & shopping in person OR the lure of the pub proved too great…

From an automotive perspective, the reopening of dealerships has provided a rise in conversion rate. Whilst fewer people are actively searching, the cost of booking test drives or services has become 12.81% more efficient from an advertising cost perspective.

Whilst dealerships have been closed, the industry has diversified slightly with more options for purchasing cars available online. However, there remains the need for being able to “experience” the vehicle. As such, the number of people booking a test drive rose 20% in the period after restrictions were eased.

In retail, we have seen CPAs rise 12.55% in the last few weeks. From speaking with some of our clients who have a presence both online & high street, they saw similar returns in the weeks after the easing, with the split between the two heavily in favour of the high street.

Looking at the retailers running activity across Europe, we saw the opposite effect with revenue being delivered at a much more efficient rate. ROAS on the continent rose 14% vs the UK’s drop of 7%.

The past year has proven very successful from an online perspective & whilst it is too early to suggest we will return to pre-lockdown performance levels, it is clear the “new normal” we were living online isn’t here to last. This year’s performance was very hard to forecast given the unprecedented nature of the last 12 months, but the early signs are that we are heading back towards a similar set of behaviour to the start of 2020.

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