seeks comeback with back to school

Lorna Rose Gill Posted by Lorna Rose Gill

As parents prepare their children to return to school next week, Britain’s leading retailers have been battling to dominate sales.

Adthena data has revealed Next as the leader on the search engine results page, with the retailer securing up to 25% share of paid desktop clicks for back to school search terms related to stationary, school uniform and school accessories.

Share of paid desktop clicks on back to school search terms

Fig 1: Share of paid desktop clicks on back to school search terms – August 2017 (Source: Adthena)


It marks a significant change to the retailer’s approach from 2016. Last year, Next secured less than a 5% share of clicks.

Fig 2: Share of paid desktop clicks on back to school search terms – August 2016 (Source: Adthena)


The data suggests confidence at Next is high following a challenging year that has recently produced some much more positive results and a rising share price.

Ian O’Rourke, CEO of Adthena commented: “It is positive to see Next beating traditionally dominant retailers of the back to school market. It is interesting because Next has not typically been associated with school uniform or back to school sales. Last years leaders Sainsbury’s and Marks and Spencer are being out-spent and maneuvered by Next and others. M&S was the dominant brand last year, and it is particularly interesting to see that their share of the spend has dropped from 21% in August 2016 to just 9% in 2017.”

Next appears to be prioritising desktop over mobile, with Tesco and shoe retailer Clarks dominating the mobile landscape.

Fig 3: Share of paid mobile clicks on back to school search terms – August 2017 (Source Adthena)


Top Ads

The top adverts were focused on shoes, with a Clarks ad seeing the highest number of impressions at over 66,000.


Fig 4: Clarks top desktop ad for the month of August (Source: Adthena)


The strategy of Clarks was in contrast to Next, with the retailer choosing to market a selection of ads at a number of different keywords, predominantly related to clothing. The top ad from Next focused on ‘Girls Shoes’, receiving 25,000 impressions.


Fig 5: Next top ad desktop for the month of August (Source: Adthena)


Paid vs. Organic

Interestingly however, the top brands dominating paid searches are not necessarily the same ones dominating organic search results in this space. Next for example has secured less than 7% of organic clicks on desktop and mobile, and Tesco barely appears at all in organic searches.

Fig 4: Frequency of appearances on organic searches on back to school search terms – August 2017 (Source: Adthena)


“The prioritisation of paid over organic search is a trend we’ve seen across the search marketing landscape recently,” explains Ian O’Rourke. “Share of page is an area often overlooked by both paid and organic search marketers, however the two are absolutely critical parts of search marketing strategy and should be viewed together. It has been proven that the organisations which put the most effort into unifying their processes see the best search engine marketing results in the long run, which is why we’ve looked to combine insight from the two in our latest product update.”

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.