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Shopping Behavior Aligns with COVID Case Numbers

Shopping Behavior Aligns with COVID Case Numbers

In 2020, more customers shopped online due to the pandemic. According to data from Merkle, shopping behavior continued to correlate with changes in COVID-19 cases and related mandates and public-safety concerns this year.

Merkle published its Q3 2021 Digital Marketing Report today, which analyzed key trends across paid and organic search, Amazon ads, paid social, and display ad spend.

According to a company spokesperson, “Most platforms experienced double-digit traffic growth in Q3 2020, however, that, in combination with more expensive clicks and impressions this year, set up channels to see Y/Y (year-over-year) declines in traffic in 2021.”

Merkle found that consumers were eager to venture out of their homes this summer. On organic search, paid search, and Amazon Sponsored Products, retail Y/Y traffic comps were worse in July – while shoppers turned to mobile to meet their search needs more than they ever had previously; however, the numbers improved in August and September, following a similar trajectory as COVID-19 cases in the US.

Traffic was down Y/Y across Amazon Sponsored Products (-61%), Amazon Sponsored Brands (-11%), Google paid search (-11%), and Google organic search (-8%) in the third quarter of 2021.

With traffic down in comparison to the same period last year when ecommerce saw exceptional growth, cost-per-click (CPC) was up thanks to intense competition.

Paid search CPC was up 41% Y/Y, with neither Google nor Microsoft immune to increases, Merkle found. Amazon Sponsored Products CPC was up 43% Y/Y while Sponsored Brands CPC jumped 76%. In paid social, Facebook and Instagram CPM increased 46% and 11%, respectively.

Merkle’s report delves into much more detail, you can find the report on MerkleInc.com.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.