Why is Perfume Such a Popular Paid Search Term in October?

Ian O'Rourke Posted by Ian O'Rourke

Searches and reach for perfume-related keywords experienced a huge boom last October. We take a look at what the trends during this lucrative time of year can teach marketers everywhere.

The traffic and SOV for keywords related to ‘perfume’ experienced a mountain of growth during October last year, with traffic for the biggest search term growing by 60,000 visits through the month.

Why so much activity for a comparatively unremarkable time of year? Perhaps online customers, who are known to be planners, are stocking up on luxuries for the upcoming holiday season.

Keyword Traffic


Take a look at the graph above. It plots website hits over time. Notice how, starting at the end of September, there’s a huge swell of traffic through the main keyword curves, which only properly dies down by the end of December.

The top scoring keyword was ‘perfume shop’, followed by ‘perfume’, ‘fragrance direct’ and ‘cheap perfume’. Two of these are clearly non-brand related, though there may be some ambiguity in the term ‘perfume shop’. This traffic could be comprised of both people looking for The Perfume Shop and people looking for a shop to buy scents.

However, if we exclude the brand terms and set the keyword term as ‘perfume shop’, The Perfume Shop saw a sudden uplift starting in November and overtook its main competitor for the term – Fragrance Direct – at the beginning of the New Year.

Christmas Forethought?

Though early October is notably early, it is easy to correlate the swell, peaking in November and dying out in late December, to customers bagging their perfumes early on to guarantee Christmas gifts. Perfume is definitely a popular choice for Christmas, according to Statista, which found that 62% of UK shoppers bought their loved ones ‘cosmetics or perfume’.

Moreover, retail research from Summit found that – while most people start their shopping in November or December – online shoppers plan ahead and usually start earlier. During this season, shoppers who want to get perfume for a loved one head to search engines to get a good deal ahead of time.

Keyword Share of Voice


Share of voice by keyword, which measures the extent to which brands are able to reach out to customers through these keywords, shows a similar trend. As you might expect, the SOV for ‘perfume shop’ performed increasingly better through October, although ‘perfume’ and ‘cheap perfume’, along with most related keywords, actually lost voice in this period.

The only other major keyword that took more SOV was ‘the perfume shop’. An obvious but important question then follows this observation: What is The Perfume Shop doing so we can do it too? If you want to understand this sort of question and gain access to powerful data on your competitors, Adthena provides the perfect expertise and analysis.

Price Per Click and Brand SOV



Fragrance Direct and The Perfume Shop, who paid around 30p per click by the end of October, were rewarded with a 25% and 20% SOV for the same day.

Clearly there are more variables involved in online advertising than simply burning money on Google ads. It is notable that Fragrance Direct and The Perfume Shop both have names that shoppers using generic search terms will find more quickly than more well-known brands.

Of course they may simply have better ads. Whatever the case, the data suggests that paying a high price per click over a long period is not always the best way to make up for other deficiencies in your online marketing plan.

Brand Traffic: What It’s all About


With the exceptions of John Lewis and House of Fraser,  the major brands saw a massive surge through October and November. As you might guess, the two biggest winners were Fragrance Direct and The Perfume Shop, which will be galling for those brands that spend a lot for each click this month.

The fact that All Beauty takes the third place, both in SOV and traffic, proving that it’s not all about having a generically searchable name.

So what can we learn from the remarkable trends in online shopping that October generates every year? Firstly, October is an important time of year for perfume. With continually increasing online traffic for the holiday season, it can only be bigger this time around.

Secondly, it seems that customers are seeking perfume as much if not more than they are seeking a particular perfume seller. The “fragrance warehouses” offering sizeable discounts on popular perfume brands performed much better with price-aware early shoppers than individual makers with big marketing budgets.

The Perfume Shop and Fragrance Direct teach us that throwing money at your ads does not always translate to better performance. Smart marketing requires analysing and responding to trends in real time.

(Main image credit: Vetiver Aromatics/Flickr)

About the author

Ian O'Rourke
Ian O'Rourke
Ian is the CEO and Founder of Adthena. After 22 years being involved in technology businesses and start-ups, he has driven Adthena forward since 2012 and it is now experiencing rapid growth. Ian likes to foster a culture of common sense and self-reliance at Adthena, and ensures everyone has the tools they need to succeed, His flair for innovation and business has been recognised with the Developing Entrepreneur Award at the WCIT Enterprise Awards – commonly regarded as the Oscars for technology entrepreneurs. A graduate of the University of Queensland, Ian is also a fluent Chinese speaker having lived and studied in Taiwan. He is married with two children and is an avid rock climber in his spare time.