Last week, Offers.com released a survey conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs that had an interesting implication for retailers and paid search, especially during the holiday shopping season. One survey question asked consumers, “How much time do you spend researching the best prices for each of your holiday purchases?” 38 percent of respondents indicated they spend one to three hours, while 14 percent spend over three hours.
These long spans of shopping highlight the importance of timing your campaigns to support when your customers are beginning to shop instead of when they are making their purchase. Most advertisers that use dayparting promote their products around the most frequent times of purchase, when most analytics solutions will indicate the CVR is highest. But if the time lapse between when a customer starts shopping (the first click) and ultimately purchases an item is several hours, having the highest CPCs close to the purchase time could represent wasted ad spend. You want your ads to be prominent when your customers are browsing—which can be well in advance of their purchase—to lock-in their interest in buying the product from you.
We have seen some significant time gaps between the first click and time of purchase. The size of this gap, or latency, typically hinges on the degree of consideration involved in the purchase. In general, consumers spend more shopping for expensive items than for inexpensive ones.
We create heat maps that analyze CVR and AOV by hour based on first click or the time of purchase, which helps our Account Managers hone in on the ideal time to advertise each product,. We also build heat maps that distribute revenue based on different attribution models. We see dramatically different results when applying these alternate models. It’s extra work, but worth doing.