We analysed exact brand searches using AdWords and trend data to find out which fashion brands had the biggest increase in brand demand year on year.
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2. Big Brands
4. Small Brands
The aim is always the same: dominate the season. In the fashion industry, it’s notoriously difficult to break into with a fiercely competitive online landscape, which is why some brands succeed at this more than others. By analysing brand demand YoY using exact brand searches as our benchmark, we created a leader board of the top performers to see how they stack up against each other.
To ensure detailed and granular info, we split the results into four categories:
1. Top 100 Brands: with the biggest increase year on year
2. Big Brands: who receive, on average, over 1 million searches a month
3. Medium Brands: who receive between 100 000 and 1 million searches a month
4. Small Brands: who receive less than 100 000 brand searches a month
Top 100: Biggest Increase in Brand Demand YoY
These are the fastest growing brands in the UK according to brand demand YoY. Each of the top 10 spots are dominated by smaller brands who receive less than 100 000 brand searches a month, as they are starting from a lower base.
In this category, the Inditex group made a notable appearance with four of their brands making the top 100 with noteworthy increases. This includes Stradivarius, Bershka, Zara, and Pull & Bear.
It also highlights a decline in demand for many Arcadia brands, which include Wallis, Oasis, Burton, Topshop, Warehouse, Topman, Dorothy Perkins, and Miss Selfridge, of which most experienced a decrease in search demand.
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Big Brands: Highest Increase in Brand Demand YoY
These brands all receive, on average, over 1 million searches a month.
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Brand searches can sometimes almost double within a week and traditionally continue to remain strong in build up to Christmas, but of the 16 brands on the leader board, only four managed to increase their year on year brand demand, with 11 seeing their brand demand decrease. For example, despite the widespread popularity of the John Lewis Christmas ad, which cost around £1m to produce. The brand only received 9 719 402 total searches in December 2016, which is more than 12% down from 2015.
Top Performer: Zara
Searches for Zara increased by 20% from 2015 to 2016, resulting in the largest increase in brand demand YoY. Total searches reached a whopping 2 691 929 in 2016, that’s a massive 451 929 extra searches for the brand compared to 2015.
Zara’s retail and pricing strategy has long been applauded, having quickly outgrown other specialty retailers with its approach to fast fashion, and quick turnarounds, with an in-house design team. The brand drops new designs twice a week and regularly releases new collections and edits online, but with limited stock, which creates a sense of urgency with consumers. The constant activity is of interest to high domain publications, blogs and influencers, strengthening the brand authority and spreading awareness.
Special Mention: Missguided
In second place is Missguided, whose brand demand increased 11% year on year. This resulted in 165 137 extra searches in December 2016, and a total of 1 665 138.
In November 2016 the brand launched their Baddie Winkle campaign, naming the 88 year old Instagram celebrity their official spokeswoman as proof that ‘you’re never too old to party’. The campaign blew up on social media, generated some great content and imagery, and gained press hits from the likes of Cosmopolitan, the Telegraph, Stylist, Huffington Post and more. Previous brand ambassador for Missguided is former Pussycat Doll and X-Factor judge Nicole Scherzinger – signing an 88-year-old spokesperson to a brand that typically targets under 30s was a bold move that generated a lot of interest and ultimately, paid off.
Medium Brands: Highest Increase in Brand Demand YoY
These brands all receive between 100 000 and 1 000 000 searches per month.
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Of the 57 brands in our mid-size category, only 18 saw an increase in brand demand, while 36 saw their brand demand decrease. Karen Milan (-31%), Forever 21 (-27%) and AliExpress (-26%) experienced a decrease in search traffic of 94 186, 125 709 and 177 632 respectively.
Top Performer: Pretty Little Thing
The top performing mid-size brand was Pretty Little Thing with a huge 84% year on year increase in brand demand for December. This resulted in brand searches going from 550 000 in 2015 to 1 012 000 in December 2016.
This surge in brand demand is likely due, in part, to their 2016 campaign featuring Sophia Richie which launched on October 31st. Just in time for the holiday season, the brand announcement was featured on multiple high domain authority sites like Glamour Magazine, Daily Mail, Mirror.co.uk and E!Online. In the months leading up to December, the brand garnered even more interest by creating content like “13 Reasons Why Sofia Richie Should Be Your New Muse” and #PLTSquadGoals, a campaign which featured user generated content.
Small Brands: Highest Brand Demand YOY
These brands all receive less than 100 000 searches per month.
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Top Performer: Stradivarius
The top performer in our small brand category is Stradivarius with a 66% year on year increase in brand demand. This resulted in 21 942 extra brand searches in 2016 compared to 2015.
Interest in the brand shot up when the Spanish-owned Inditex group (who also owns Zara) expanded its presence in the UK by opening two new Stradivarius stores in Manchester and Belfast. This came after the brand also opened its largest flagship store in the world on London’s Oxford Street in June 2016, gaining press hits in a wide variety of titles which covered the launch, celebrity endorsements, and their latest collections.
How We Did It
What Is an Exact Brand Search?
Instead of typing ‘best online fashion brand’ into a search bar, shoppers searching for ‘Zara’ or ‘Thomas Pink’ are using exact brand searches instead. This gives us a fantastic indication of how popular a brand is and how effective their marketing strategies are at driving customers to their website.
People searching for these exact brand words are likely to be further into the buyer’s journey, specifically looking for something from the brand in question, and are more likely to convert than those searching broader terms. There are many reasons why exact brand match searches increase during certain times of the year – peak sales months, brand awareness campaigns, advertising, PR coverage, and more.
An increase in exact brand searches is essentially more shoppers through the door, so if brand demand is increasing, that can significantly impact a brand’s bottom line. In the same vein, fewer brand searches over time can result in a dip in revenue for brands.
How We Sourced the Data
To create accurate leader boards, we analysed two main data sets: Google trend data from the last 5 years and monthly google searches from AdWords over the last year. By overlaying the two we could determine how brands compared each December year on year, and how they fared against competitors.
Increase Your Brand Demand
To increase brand demand, businesses don’t need to spend millions on flashy TV advertising campaigns and hire famous brand ambassadors (although it does help). Through digital marketing channels like SEO, content, display advertising and social media it’s possible to reach massive, highly targeted audiences, for a fraction of the cost, driving people directly to a website.
From our own experiences, we’ve seen that producing high quality content and promoting it through Digital PR, paid and social channels, brands can reach a large audience that really engages. In turn this increases revenue and traffic.
Display advertising is an effective way to reach an audience, targeting people based on demographics, interests and even on other websites they’ve visited. Narrowing down the target audience allows brands to maximise their budgets by not wasting money targeting the wrong people. This makes this channel hugely cost effective, getting the brand in front of the right people at the right time.