Summer Results in Sunny Outlook for Boots’ Tanning Strategy

Lorna Rose Gill Posted by Lorna Rose Gill

Across the UK, summer has been trying its hardest to break through the clouds, which means it’s time for High Street pharmacies to kick off their seasonal campaigns.

There’s no doubt that safe suncare will emerge at the forefront of High Street health and beauty retailers’ summer marketing drives, whether it’s helping customers choose the safest option – fake tanning – or the safer option – sun cream – if and when they decide to risk their health to get some sun.

Let’s take a look at how the leading High Street pharmacies, Boots and Superdrug, are advertising their summer wares using PPC, and who has the best strategy when it comes to keyword choice.

A Race of Two Halves

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Top competitors share of voice, Adthena data

Looking at the overall share of voice (SOV), it appears that the two competitors have split themselves into two halves of the year – Superdrug dominates over winter, and Boots over summer. It looks like Boots only started pushing tanning products via PPC in mid-March last year, and this had a profound effect on Superdrug’s SOV as the year went on.

Starting in January, the companies’ respective SOVs began to move slightly closer together – could it be that they’re preparing for a power struggle over the summer months?

Seasonal Tanning?

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Top keywords share of voice, Adthena data

Let’s take a look at the overall top-ranking generic keywords, including suncream, sun cream and cheap suncream, as well as two of the leading named brands, ambre solaire suncream and piz buin fake tan.

In the summer months, the focus seems to be on cheap sun cream, probably to target the families going on their annual holiday, rather than those who wait until the peak holiday season is over before heading for the sun.

Brand names only begin to increase in popularity at the end of the holiday season, when companies’ main summer targets have already gone on their family breaks.

Seeing as both Ambre Solaire suntan lotion and fake tanning creams are more expensive options unlikely to be purchased at peak holiday season, it’s a sensible strategy, and demonstrates that the competitors are adapting their approaches according to the season.

Looking at which specific keywords Superdrug and Boots used for their campaigns shows us an interesting variation. Boots used none of the top-ranking “generic” keywords, yet all were featured heavily in Superdrug’s campaign.

Throughout the year, Superdrug owned the generic suncream market, concentrating on sun cream and suncream, followed by cheap sun cream and cheap sun cream offers over the summer period. Superdrug bid on 15 keywords in all related to tanning, but many of its keywords gained very little traction.

Boots spent the summer focussing only on suntan lotions. At the end of the season, however, it switched to focus on premium brand products, including Clinique sun cream and Clinique sun protection, plus its own line of products called Soltan. In total, Boots bid on five related keywords.

Making the Most of Intelligence

This study of Superdrug, Boots, and tanning products in general proves that a clever strategy requires focussing your campaigns on fewer keywords that you know you can win, rather than spreading your budget on words you think you might be able to win, as was the case with Superdrug.

Had the latter chosen wisely, it likely could have clawed some SOV back from Boots, and had a more successful summer season on the whole.

By combining seasonality, intelligent spending, and insights into competitor intelligence, you can secure a much better ROI at the time when it really matters.

Main image credit: Lady May Pamintuan/flickr)

No Adthena client data was used in this post.

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.