Doubling Down on Paid Search in 2020

Paid Search
October 1, 2020
Grocery

Key Takeaways

Paid Channel Focus Allocation — Heavy Focus on Paid Search: Superstore heavily focuses on the Paid Search channel (3x - 10x grocery competitors, ~1M traffic per year), and has doubled their Paid Search efforts since the onset of Covid-19. In terms of warehouse retail competitors, Superstore’s paid search traffic is roughly equivalent to Costco, but 10x - 20x smaller than Walmart (in both cases, only referring to those brand’s Canadian traffic).

Paid Search Strategy — Driving to Digital Commerce: Since the onset of Covid-19, Superstore’s approach to paid search keywords and landing pages has heavily prioritized online shopping, pickup, delivery, and ship-to-home eCommerce; while de-prioritizing brand-based messaging such as SLAM.

Paid Search Strategy — Google Shopping Whitespace: Search Shopping ads are common best practice in most eCommerce verticals. None of Canada’s main grocery brands— including Superstore—has yet to make a foray into Google Shopping Ads. In comparison, Walmart ran 10K product ads in Canada over the past 12 months. Amazon ran 32K.

Over the past two years, Superstore has generated 2.1 million site visits from paid search on desktop alone (not including mobile).


Superstore’s traffic from paid search far exceeds those of other Canadian grocery competitors.


That said, Superstore’s paid search traffic is dwarfed by Walmart and matched by Costco during the same period of 2018 - 2020.


Like many brands, Superstore paused almost all of their search ad efforts during the early days of COVID-19, going from 95K web traffic in February 2020 to just over 46K in March (-51% MoM).

Soon afterwards, however, the Superstore redoubled their paid search traffic to more than 2x its pre-COVID levels. Other grocery brands increased their Paid Search spend as well, but nowhere near as much, in both relative and absolute terms. This sustained increase in both spend and traffic likely indicates strong results from the channel. 

Paid Search Keywords: Superstore’s top 100 traffic-generating keywords shifted majorly during Covid-19. Online shopping, pickup, and delivery was prioritized over everything else. At the same time, the overall number of keywords being targeted was greatly increased (by 66%) indicating a stronger focus on long-tail keywords.

As a % of the top 100 keywords by traffic volume ignoring brand name variations.
Prior to Covid-19 = July 19’ - Feb 20’. During Covid-19 = Mar 20’ - Oct 20’


Paid Search Landing Pages saw a similar trend to keywords, with Superstore heavily prioritizing online shopping, pickup, delivery, and ship-to-home eCommerce; while de-prioritizing brand-based messaging such as SLAM.

As a % of the top 100 landing pages by traffic volume ignoring using the homepage as a landing page
Prior to Covid-19 = July 19’ - Feb 20’. During Covid-19 = Mar 20’ - Oct 20’


During Covid-19, Superstore kept its ad copy relatively stable. The most notable changes were a deprioritization of Health Management services and a heavy prioritization of ad copy about specific products, both grocery and ship-to-home.

As a % of the top 100 ads by SERP position
Prior to Covid-19 = July 19’ - Feb 20’. During Covid-19 = Mar 20’ - Oct 20’


Product Search Ads: None of Canada’s main grocery brands—including Superstore—has yet to make a foray into Google Shopping Ads. In comparison, Walmart ran 10K product ads in Canada over the past 12 months. Amazon ran 32K.


Added by: 

Recent Case Studies

Scroll horizontally to view more case studies →