Less than 20% of shoppers buy the product they click on

- Andreea Toma
Less than 20% of shoppers buy the item they clicked on

Fashion is unpredictable. And people who buy designer brands are even more so. Current trends, product prices, and the number of available products all influence the decision making of online shoppers. Because of their unpredictability, they might start their search with a certain designer-branded item in mind and wind up with something else entirely.

Obviously, a customer’s online behavior has a strong influence on your PPC account performance, and you likely rely on that information to help make important business decisions about which products/categories to focus more on to boost KPIs.

We looked at search queries, clicked text/product ads and products purchased for various international markets and analyzing a dataset of more than 200,000 conversions from Google Shopping and Search.  We needed to find out just what the heck was going on.

And this is what we found….

Less than 20% of the shoppers buy products from the same designer in Search

Unsurprisingly, there was quite a big difference in conversion rates between traditional Search ads and Google Shopping Ads.

Around 50% of users clicking on Shopping ads actually bought something from the same designer they searched for.  Yet in Search, less than 20% decided to purchase products from the designer they initially had in mind.

This trend is similar across all the markets we analyzed. The only exception was in the US, where, shoppers seem to have a slightly higher rate of buying the same products they clicked on – 16% in Search and 53% in Shopping.

80% of shoppers buy products from the same category in Shopping

When it comes to categories, the results show that a higher number of customers decided on purchasing the same type of product they searched for compared to designers.

Again, the percentages are much higher in Shopping, where more than 70% of conversions came from the same category, making up to almost double compared to Search.

In Search, the majority of conversions came from categories that were different than the initial query.

What do customers buy instead?

So, if they’re not buying the same type of product they clicked on, what on earth are they buying?

In the case below (showing a UK Shopping campaign) around 64% of conversions came from the clicked designer, while 32% were generated by the retailer’s own brand, followed by other designers offering similar products.

Regarding product categories, the results are slightly different. Oftentimes, what people end up buying are from a wholly different category.

In this case from all the received conversions only 37% were associated with the same category customers clicked on – dresses. The other 67% was spread out over three more categories – shirts & tops, swimwear, and jeans & trousers.

Why don’t shoppers buy what they click on?

Knowing exactly why shoppers don’t act like we expect them to is impossible. But, we do have some theories.

As shown in a previous post, price is probably the most important factor in whether or not someone ultimately chooses to buy a product – especially when it comes to Product Ads. Even though they are searching for something specific and click on the related Text/Product Ad, their final purchase decision could be influenced by the price.

The number of products found on the website can also play an important role as, due to the high number of options available, customers could finally decide to purchase another item. After all, Shopping is supposed to be fun – who hasn’t gotten lost down the rabbit hole of too many options before?

What should you do about it?

When optimizing your PPC accounts, you can’t just rely on Google’s conversion data. You need to take a step back and look at the whole picture. You should be analyzing what customers are looking for and compare that to what they wind up adding to their shopping basket.

This will provide you with a better overview on which products and categories you should push more in different channels, in order to get that nice performance boost. There may be some keywords that perform poorly as a last-click attribution, but aids and assists the value of other high performing keywords.  You should also use search query reports to improve the keyword coverage based on what your customers are actually looking for.

Finally, keep in mind fashion trends, your product prices and the number of available products for a certain designer/category – these could all be influencing what someone chooses to buy once they get on your site.

If you’re using Camato, you can easily track and optimize which product ads are leading to sales – either directly or through assists. To find out more, visit www.camato.io.


Andreea is a PPC enthusiast, working for our leading international ecommerce customers within the fashion retail industry, with a focus on the US market.

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