Daily Insights

The Search for Popularity

By: Alizah Asif Farooqi | Feb 25, 2019

When it comes to building up buzz via digital marketing, search is the secret sauce. Traffic from SEM efforts accounts for the highest share of paid traffic for beauty brands. But with both brands and retailers pouring dollars into search, standing out is easier said than done. Here’s how one brand is facing the new challenges to get noticed in a saturated market.

While legal guidelines prohibit explicit coordination, new obstacles exist in defining owned versus retail partner search lanes. That said, gunning for the most popular SKUs isn’t always the best strategy. Although a certain amount of keyword bidding overlap is to be expected across brands and retail partners, distinct product assortments across channels can help create natural search guardrails and reduce ad redundancies.

Tarte touts a channel-specific product assortment strategy to help avoid overlap in its e-tailer and brand search strategies. In doing so, the brand pulls back on SEM investment for product collections that are exclusive to only one retailer. Instead, it allocates a higher share of SEM activity to product collections that are newly launched or fragmented across e-tailers. For example, Tarte limits brand-owned ads for its Ulta-exclusive “Double Duty Beauty” collection and instead relinquishes the majority of ads against both nonbranded and branded terms to Ulta. In contrast, the brand owns 93% of shopping ads for its “Rainforest of the Sea” collection and 72% of ads for its “Tarteist” collection, both of which are available more broadly across a number of retail partners, according to Gartner L2’s recent report on the topic.

Brands struggling to compete in search should consider how segmented assortment strategies can serve SEM efforts, and that going broad can be better when trying to get the most out of search. As such, to be a winning a beauty brand, labels should craft differentiated assortments by channel and focus on supporting newly launched products rather than hero SKUs.

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