How Are Retailers Avoiding a PPC Scare This Halloween?

Lorna Rose Gill Posted by Lorna Rose Gill


As soon as September rolls around and children begin heading back to school, shops around the country begin adopting a new colour scheme, with pumpkin orange, slime green, and midnight black all taking over the shelves. Halloween may have its roots in the traditional religious ceremony of All Hallow’s Eve, but in the past few years the celebration has exploded in popularity in the UK, following in the footsteps of the US. Last year, retailers in the UK were forecast to see a £330m boost from spending on Halloween products, with supermarkets especially poised to cash in on the spooky spectacle – according to research, costume sales were estimated to hit £148m alone, with half of all shoppers who planned to buy a costume, planning to do so from a supermarket.

With that kind of market out there, it makes sense that supermarkets and other retailers would be making sure they tried to to secure as many sales as possible by advertising their offers online. We took a look at some of the biggest PPC players on keywords such as halloween, costumes, and fancy dress, to see who was avoiding a ghastly strategy.

If we look back at the past 12 months, we can see that there’s a lot of movement over the keyword group as a whole.

Price comparison site IdealPrice performs well throughout the year, while everything-store Argos and online fashion retailer Very pick up the biggest share of voice for people looking at dressing up over the festive period. But if we look back into autumn last year, we can see one retailer in particular has performed particularly well when Halloween hits – Asda. After seeing a sharp upturn at the beginning of September, Asda briefly gains the top share of voice in October, right as shoppers are on the hunt for fake fangs, capes, and witches hats, showing that the supermarket chain is smartly deploying its ads to ensure impressions and clicks at a lucrative time of year, and proving the analysts rights when they predict that supermarkets will be the ones to benefit from Halloween sales.

While pulling off a successful campaign is an excellent achievement, reliably repeating it is a trick worthy of only the very best-dressed wizards. So, looking at the current market on the same keywords, how are the same competitors faring?

While August saw IdealPrice continue with a strong share of voice, with Argos also performing well, there’s a very obvious trend that’s apparent once September begins. As soon as we enter the month, Asda immediate begins making an impact on the keyword group, with its share of voice spiking dramatically, and taking the top spot within a few days after being virtually out of the market in the preceding weeks. Its precise performance shows that 2014’s achievement was no fluke, and that the supermarket chain is making smart choices when it comes to the Halloween market, and making the most of the annual opportunity.

Halloween is a great example of a once-a-year event that thousands of brands will be hoping to jump on. With that being the case, the key to getting ahead of your competitors is intelligence, knowing where your competitors are spending, the ads they are using, and how they’re performing. Adthena is a solution that provides comprehensive competitive intelligence for search, making sure you can have a full range of tricks up your sleeve, and get plenty of treats in return.

No Adthena client data was used in this analysis

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.