What are the most common marketing strategies

E-commerce worldwide: an overview of the most popular marketing strategies

The field of e-commerce means hotly contested markets and therefore websites require constant optimization. But where does a young website start, which structures help it to be successful? A current study offers data-based answers as a basis.

E-Commerce Study 2017 by SEMrush: Data is in the foreground

In the comprehensive e-commerce study 2017 (download behind a form), SEMrush analyzed 8,000 e-commerce companies from a total of 13 industries worldwide. Business strategies were in the foreground. In order to be able to define these more generally, the evaluation refers to specific data. According to the report, these should help "to develop a well thought-out and cost-effective strategy for the further development of your e-commerce website - from small businesses to international corporations."

This means that the results are of interest to both marketers and employees at various levels in e-commerce companies. In particular, the study aims with its findings, among other things, at setting out the best channels for generating traffic or which phrases or discount values ​​are considered effective. In addition, it is revealed at which points investments are more worthwhile and where there may still be a need to catch up, for example technologically.

Even if the results of the study can only represent options for action or optimization, the SEMrushs data set forms a sound basis for adapting your own strategies to the circumstances and developments in the e-commerce sector.

The markets and industries under investigation

For the analysis, companies from different countries were considered, including those from Germany, the USA, the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, France, etc. It should be noted at this point that markets for which Google is not the primary search engine , were not taken into account; like China or Korea. The companies selected from the most visited websites in the markets can be divided into the following 13 categories:

  • Sports & Freetime
  • children
  • Eat Drink
  • electronics
  • health
  • Living
  • Fashion
  • Books
  • Furniture
  • Flowers
  • Jewellery
  • music
  • travel

And for these markets and industries, SEMrush has on the one hand determined information and on the other hand has derived insights for business strategies in e-commerce from this data-based information. Therefore we want to shed light on some central aspects of the study.

Traffic Sources: Social plays a minor role

It only seems logical to place answers to the question of where the traffic for e-commerce websites is actually coming from at the beginning of such an analysis. Accordingly, the sources for the traffic in the study were divided into five categories. While direct access (42.18 percent) and web search (40 percent) have the largest share of traffic allocation, social is hardly significant at just 2.92 percent. Access via referrers, on the other hand, is still more to be considered at 8.61 percent; likewise the paid search with at least 6.19 percent.

Despite the overall uniform picture in this area, there are minor exceptions. Paid search takes third place from the referrers in the sports & leisure sector (7.07 percent) and flowers (10.58 percent). It is also noticeable that the traffic coming from the referrers for the books, electronics, travel and food & drink sectors accounts for more than ten percent of the hits and therefore plays a larger role there. In contrast, the otherwise negligible aspect of access via social media is more relevant, especially in the music (4.17 percent), jewelry (4.85 percent) and fashion (4.94 percent) industries.

Although social media seems to play a subordinate role here, this channel in particular is essential for branding - and this is especially true for newcomers in e-commerce. Because it is only through brand awareness that long-term access can be generated directly and via the search. Since web search is and remains relevant for all industries, it is worth investing in a clear and effective keyword strategy and organic SEO. The rankings on Google and Co. are influenced by positive mentions. And with regard to the quite high percentage of referrer traffic, strong backlinks must not be ignored; which in turn have a positive effect on the ranking.

Organic traffic: desktop is still ahead

A surprising result of the study is the distribution of search traffic on desktop and mobile. Because it becomes clear: on average 57 percent of search traffic is on desktop, only 43 percent on mobile. The reason given here is that mobile apps were not taken into account in the study. In addition, consumers in e-commerce (still) more often rely on the desktop as a tried and tested size for extensive research before and for the product purchase itself.

The picture that presents itself to us here, however, is likely to change in the near future. So it shouldn't hide the fact that SEOs should do their homework at the latest with regard to Google's Mobile-First Index.

Which countries does the traffic come from?

It should come as no surprise that the US has the largest share of global search traffic at 42.9 percent. However, Germany still has 6.2 percent. The United Kingdom also provides a large proportion of this traffic with 6.7 percent. In an international comparison, users from Germany show particular interest in the electronics, music, health and furniture sectors.

But how does this information help ecommerce companies? You can point out to always implement the important hreflang tags on your own website so that the UX works for users in every region. So here you have to pay attention to the correct country code, etc., as well as to not let the traffic suffer from hreflang errors.

The most important SERP features in e-commerce: Reviews

For functions that appear most frequently in the top 20 of Google's SERPs, there is a clear winner according to the SEMrush analysis: the reviews. While they appear in almost 58 percent of the results in Google's Top 20 worldwide, this percentage has grown to around 71 percent in Germany alone. This means that implementing assessments in the form of structured data pays off. This is because they are often used to display search results and e-commerce websites should not forego this competitive advantage over normal results.

In a global comparison, images (41.68 percent) or bottom ads (48.69 percent) are also often found in the SERPs. Videos lag behind with 25.51 percent.

When looking at the most common features in the SERPs of Google's Top 20 in relation to Germany, special features are now apparent.

The local packs (17.4 percent) and the knowledge panel (39.31 percent) are significantly more relevant in the SERPs in this country than in an international comparison (6.88 and 27.18 percent, respectively). Although it stands to reason that appearing in the Local Pack on Google can have a positive effect on an e-commerce company with a physical store, this fact seems to be of particular relevance for Germany. If you want to get into the Local Pack and optimize your local SEO, you should in turn fall back on positive reviews, which have an influence on this.

The importance of the function of the knowledge panel cannot go unnoticed for Germany either. The need for information of users in Germany is apparently already very high when searching on the search engine; and companies would do well to satisfy this as much as possible with informative content.

Some numbers on trends in the e-commerce industry

Since the SEMrush study is very comprehensive, it reveals a variety of findings that are not presented in great detail here. For example, it was also found that 50 percent of the companies analyzed invested only $ 0-1,000 in advertising in an eleven-month period. The second largest group of companies (16 percent) generated $ 10,000-50,000 in advertising expenses. The fashion and living sectors in particular are investing heavily in paid advertising. Here, of course, the size of the company determines its activity.

The study also shows that the majority of companies (69.68 percent) rely on HTML display ads that are mobile-friendly. The sectors of fashion (89.98 percent), jewelry (76.62 percent) and food & drink (73.63 percent) are the exception here with a reference to alternative media.

As with the furniture, this is likely to be due to the peculiarity of its visual representation.

SEMrush also explains that 728 × 90, the leaderboard, is the most popular display size in e-commerce (44.84 percent).

This size is the dominant one in eleven industries. Only sport has another front runner with the 160 × 600 format, as does jewelry with 300 × 250.

When it comes to device targeting, smartphones are ahead

Where are the e-commerce company's display ads actually played? Almost 85 percent mobile and around 44 percent on smartphones, according to the study. But tablets are also targeted at around 41 percent. However, only about 15 percent of the ads are played on desktops.

Benefit from advertisements with product information

Anyone considering Google ads with product information (Product Listing Ads or PLAs) can, thanks to the SEMrush study, gain insights into the approaches of the industries in these campaigns. It can be seen that the electronics industry both places the most product ads (26.58 percent) and uses the most keywords (36.15 percent). The fashion, living and sports sectors also play an important role here.

Of course, investing in paid advertising is more helpful when businesses understand the types of ads that may be most effective. PLAs seem like a great option. The observation of industries in general and competitors can become a factor in budget planning.

Most Common Phrases in Ads: “Big Choice” is popular

Phrases in ads are an indicator of their relevance to the customer. In Germany, “large selection” in particular, but also “order online”, “online shop” or “buy online” are very popular. Somewhat surprisingly, “free shipping” and “fast delivery” fall behind here, where these aspects are most popular in the US. Ergo: a particularly good selection is most likely to be advertised in Germany.

When it comes to discount values, the 50 percent mark is clearly the most common; both globally and in Germany.

In the residential sector, a 70 percent discount is also very common, while the music industry likes to fall back on a 10-15 percent discount. In this regard, it is also worth keeping a close eye on the competition.

The phrase “year guarantee” is more popular in Germany than, for example, the “best price guarantee” or the “money back guarantee”. A similar analysis result shows that the “now online” CTA is the most popular.

Backlinks, HTTPS and hreflang: pay attention to technical aspects

The SEMrushs e-commerce study also teaches us that while most backlinks are anchored in text (89.43 percent), 7.96 percent are also in images. In e-commerce, 79.5 percent rely on follow links; however, it is advisable to focus on no-follow links if they come from relevant pages and support the branding.

On another technical aspect, e-commerce is already doing well. Almost 60 percent of companies use HTTPS instead of HTTP. This signals security and credibility - and its use has now become a must in online trading. This can be seen from the fact that the top 50 e-commerce companies in the Google search results increase the value of HTTPS usage to around 77 percent.

These Top 50 take a similar pioneering role in the use of hreflang tags.

The SEMrush report on the study specifies the use of the hreflang tags:

By specifying through Hreflang in which language and which country
The content is targeted, you can use it on your ecommerce pages
differentiated content with modifications in design, text translations,
Local currencies or special offers that are better suited to the
appropriate users are tailored.

The value of such a study

Such an e-commerce study provides a whole range of data that can be used for various strategies in e-commerce. The importance of reviews as an SEO function or the indication of traffic sources turn out to be very helpful for tactics in e-commerce.

Anyone who, as a decision maker or marketing manager, social media manager, etc. draws specific conclusions from the findings of SEMrush can of course come to different consequences depending on the application interest. Nevertheless, it can never hurt to take a look at the developments in business strategies - and to develop impulses for your own process from them.