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Asda winning paid search online grocery battle

Asda has been the most successful UK supermarket so far this year in terms of online paid search advertising, according to a new study by Kantar Media company AdGooroo.

Research on click-through traffic – which examined Google.co.uk desktop advertising activity on 83 branded and unbranded grocery-related keywords in the eight months between January and August 2016 – found that Asda.com generated 5.8 million clicks during the period, giving it a 2.5 million click lead ahead of its closest competitor, Waitrose.com (3.3 million).

Tesco.com received two million clicks and Morrisons.com garnered 1.2 million clicks, while Ocado.com (1.1 million) and Sainsburys.co.uk (230,000) completed the top six.

Richard Stokes, CEO at AdGooroo, commented: "The vast majority of clicks generated by the grocery retailers in the study came from ads served on each company's own branded keywords, indicating that brand awareness and preference play a strong role in a successful paid search advertising campaign for the UK grocery industry.

"At the same time, the high number of advertisers bidding on competitors' branded keywords, coupled with double-digit growth in ad spend in the grocery category, demonstrate an increasingly competitive paid search advertising market for grocery advertisers."

The study found that investment in branded and unbranded grocery keywords grew by 39% year-on-year with spend growing from £3.1 million in January to August 2015 to £4.3 million during the same period in 2016.

Multiple advertisers bought competitor keywords, with Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury's topping the list of most competitive brand keywords.

A different angle

AdGooroo also removed branded keywords from the study and examined a narrower set of 38 non-branded keywords focused on online grocery delivery such as 'online grocery shopping' and 'grocery delivery'. The marketing intelligence firm provided insight into the retailers that are more focused on engaging consumers who are actively using search engines to find online grocery delivery services.

By this measure, Tesco led the field, driving 19% of all clicks on the 38 online grocery delivery keywords, followed by Iceland with 14.8% share, Asda (12.4%), Ocado (11.5%) and Sainsbury's (10.8%).

Overall year-on-year spend on these keywords grew by 63%, from £46,000 in January-August 2015 to £75,000 during the same period in 2016.

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