London Fashion Week PPC Was Totally Eclipsed by Viral Events

Lorna Rose Gill Posted by Lorna Rose Gill

London Fashion Week was overshadowed by high street retailers trying to jump on other trends such as the Oscars with their sponsored search strategies. Perhaps David-sized brands can, in fact, compete with Goliath-sized spenders by using PPC budgets intelligently.

A perfect storm of fashion events – both planned and unplanned – created some choppy waters in the pay-per-click fashion sphere throughout February and early March. Some retailers peacefully rode out the storm, while other, less-fortunate ones sank. Let’s take a look at who stole the spotlight and who floated beneath the radar.

A Fashion-Filled Week

This year, London Fashion Week took place during an unusually chaotic time for the industry: the catwalk shows ran from February 20-24, with the Oscars falling right in the middle on the 22nd.

The intensive, time-shifted coverage of the popular awards ceremony generated a colossal amount of web traffic, which unsurprisingly spilled into Monday, as the awards were easily one of the top ten trending stories of that day on Google.

The graph above shows that both search terms – academy awards and oscars – actually peaked the day after the event. Most major awards ceremonies attract significant interest in red carpet fashions, with entire shows like Fashion Police dedicated to the public’s fascination with who and what celebrities wore to these events, according to E!.

Interestingly, though, the keyword dress remained relatively inactive until a few days later, on February 27.

What happened then? #TheDress debate, of course – otherwise known as this month’s “Break the Internet” moment, according to Wired. Top designers launched innovative new trends on the catwalks of London, Hollywood’s biggest stars had whole teams of fashion experts crafting their looks, and yet a low-quality image of a dress managed to steal the whole show.

#TheDress and the monumental attention it amassed proves that it doesn’t necessarily matter how much you spend on advertising – it’s what you do with it that counts.

Advertiser Traffic Trend: What else was trending?

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Fashion retailers share of voice, Adthena data

With this chart, we see that the majority of the brands monitored received significantly less traffic on February 27, as internet users were totally distracted by #TheDress debate.

To get some idea of the numbers, the search term the dress topped one million hits that day, while the next most popular search term, leonard nimoy (following the actor’s death, which occurred the same day), received literally half the traffic.

The debate was still raging on the 28th, and the dress remained firmly within the top ten search terms. You can see on the chart that the popular online fashion brand ASOS was the first and strongest competitor, making a hefty jump in clicks that Saturday.

Its savvy marketing team devised a specially-worded advert to help them ride #TheDress wave, and it clearly paid off. Next also saw a slight spike at the time, taking advantage of the other competitors’ poor preparation.

Advertiser Spend Trend: Who Spent What?

According to the traffic trend chart, Very, another online-only retailer, pulled suddenly ahead of ASOS around February 20. But how? If you look at the estimated spend trend graph above, it’s easy to figure out – Very stepped up its spending for just a few days in a strategic bid to earn top-dog billing during London Fashion Week.’s quick and dramatic increase in spending allowed it to quickly jolt past ASOS and enjoy its own moment in the spotlight.

Brands like show us that brands without the luxury of an unlimited budget can surge to the top of the rankings with clever and well-timed spending. If your brand wants a bigger slice of the PPC pie, you need Adthena’s competitive intelligence tools. Check out the opportunities the big players are missing and turn their loss into your gain!

Disclaimer: No client data was used to generate this blog post

(Main image credit: Farrukh/flickr)

About the author

Lorna Rose Gill
Lorna Rose Gill
Lorna is responsible for acquisition marketing at Adthena, communicating their award-winning product and generating demand. She has developed her career in fast-paced, start-up environments, including two tech track 100 companies. She is curious and passionate and likes to find stories in data and technology.