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The Apple watch: What UK retailers need to know

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There is plenty of optimism: NextMarket Insights predicts, for example, that device sales will hit 373m by 2020. Wearables are set to become a highly desirable consumer product, adopted by the masses and not just startup folk and ‘techies.’ 

Due to this shift in sensibilities, retailers need to be prepared in order to be able to effectively advertise smartwatches online to draw customers to their websites, especially as we run up to Christmas. In PPC specifically, there is a lot UK retailers can learn by analysing the approach of US commerce heavyweights such as Amazon and Best Buy.

Although search traffic for the smartwatch is predominantly coming from the US, European traffic, specifically from the UK, is growing rapidly. In the past 12 months, UK search traffic for the term ‘smartwatch’ has increased by 34 per cent, according to Google Trends. Although we now know Apple’s offering is not called iWatch, results for this keyword has almost doubled in the past year. A quick Google search also reveals that Apple is still bidding heavily on the iWatch keyword. 

Research from deltamethod shows that on average there are 143,700 monthly searches for the term ‘smartwatch’. For UK retailers, especially smaller sized stores, it is becoming increasingly clear that they need to strike while the iron is hot in order to make the most of growing smartwatch demand. 

Amazon, Pebble and Best Buy are examples of US outlets leading the way when it comes to identifying relevant smartwatch traffic and tapping into it. For example, Amazon ads are triggered for nearly 40 per cent of all smartwatch related searches.
While Amazon generates plenty of AdWords coverage, its ads aren’t the top performers when it comes to relevance and quality. Instead, retailer Target has the most effective approach to matching the searched keyword with a fitting ad and linking to a landing page relevant to both the keyword and displayed ad.

UK businesses looking to take full advantage of smartwatch demand would do well to take note of the successes and failings of US commerce giants such as Amazon, Best Buy and Target. There are several key takeaways. 

The first to bear in mind is that with all campaigns it is important to optimise landing pages. By improving the link between keywords and corresponding landing pages, you will greatly increase conversion rates as well as Quality Score, lowering the CPC. In order to do this, create highly specific ads for each well performing keyword in your portfolio and link those keywords to the most relevant landing pages on the website. 

Second, make a habit of continually refining your keywords. This will involve staying up to date on breaking developments and amending your campaigns to reflect the changing demands of the market. A great way to do this is to monitor your competitor’s websites and ads. By staying abreast of all related news, you will be able to quickly and deftly cater for new search terms while also deleting any irrelevant, costly keywords. 

It’s still early days for the smartwatch market, however, this is something smaller retailers can use to their advantage. Large American and European e-commerce outlets continue to change their AdWords campaign strategies for smartwatches to account for the latest prevailing opinions and emerging trends. Furthermore, with companies such as Apple yet to actually launch their product, the market could still change considerably. 

As a result of these factors, smaller retailers which are agile enough to adapt their AdWords campaigns to capitalise on last-minute developments stand a good chance of equalling, if not beating some of the larger stores offering the smartwatches.

Elias Russezki is managing partner of deltamethod.

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