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Display Advertising Stats 2019: Semrush Study [Fashion Edition]

Display Advertising Stats 2019: Semrush Study [Fashion Edition]

Google Display Network, with more than two million websites and six hundred fifty thousand apps, is one of the most influential and profitable digital marketing channels that the majority of Fashion & Lifestyle companies underutilize. It can be a goldmine of targeted, quality traffic at a lower cost.

This article will cover essential knowledge for fashion vertical such as:

Reasons why fashion & lifestyle companies should readjust their digital strategies and invest more in GDN. Key research findings of audience demographics for both advertisers and publishers. Valuable information on topics similarity for both advertisers and publishers. Explanations of why advertisers prefer two particular ad sizes while publishers use almost an equal amount of all sizes and mix them up. Which ads are more preferred – images or responsive. The list of top publishers to look at. And finally, the list of tips for creating a better advertisement for using on top publishers sites. 

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Google Display Network's (GDN), ROI-based traffic is priceless for both acquisition and retention if campaigns are executed correctly.

Smaller merchants, in particular, try to avoid display advertisement at any cost because they have limited budgets & resources as well as narrow knowledge accompanied by a lack of strategic directions.

In simple words, smaller guys don’t always know how to do display ads right and some are intimidated to give it a try because they are scared to lose money. Those retailers (and wholesalers as well) try to manage it themselves because agency management and minimum spend are still unachievable for them, and in-house talent is too expensive. So often, after the first failure, they stop campaigns and never come back. Unfortunately, this is a reality.

Larger companies tend to give away PPC management power to third-party agencies who make their own decisions on how and where to run ads. If they had a positive experience in the past and believe in this channel, they would use it.

So, utilizing GDN for those companies is up to account executives and hands-on PPC agency professionals. Not every agency is equipped with the best talent or care enough to spend additional time on clients testing all their campaigns to the full potential, especially smaller ones.

What We Did to Help You

To help advertising specialists make data-driven decisions for their upcoming GDN campaigns, SEMrush gathered data from more 40 million impressions from the top GDN Fashion & Lifestyle advertisers and publishers across almost all English speaking countries like the US, UK, India, Canada, Australia, and the Netherlands. All of this data was pulled from the  Display Advertising tool, and it is all fresh, as it was sourced within the last three months.

Research Methodology

SEMrush compiled a list of the top 61,462 GDN advertisers and 63,823 top publishers, and then divided them up by industry. With the help of the  Display Advertising tool, SEMrush collected relevant data from the past three months and then rated each individual domain on a scale from 1 to 100. This score was based on internal algorithms, which defined how closely each domain related to the industry at hand.

Reasons Why Fashion & Lifestyle Companies Should Readjust Their Digital Strategies and Invest More in GDN

You may already have well-performing digital marketing strategies and tactics, but you should also test new waters and continually educate yourself and your team.

Several years ago, some display advertisements might not have been entirely relevant for websites, and advertisers could not control their audiences, but that it is not an issue anymore. With the right set of knowledge and tools, display ads can take a Fashion & Lifestyle businesses to the next level.

So, there are reasons why I like using GDN for my clients and my business. Let's look at a few of them.

Remarketing for Fashion & Beauty Verticals

Remarketing is a must for the Fashion & Beauty verticals; it is a proven way to increase conversions while being much less expensive than Shopping Feed or Search Ads.

It is also a great way to re-activate and re-engage website visitors that your search campaigns brought to the website. Those visitors won’t be lost leads, but active buyers instead.

Fashion & Lifestyle customers are the most visual shoppers on the internet. Because possibilities to touch and try on products are not options during online shopping (there are brick & mortar locations for that), quality imagery and graphics became the number one selling tool. GDN gives you the opportunity to use visuals (unlike the regular PPC ads). Reaching more customers with the Google Display Network is another benefit that can take any retail or wholesale business in the Fashion & Beauty verticals to the next level. You can work with any budget and never spend more than is in your plan.

You can set up ads targeting, and in conjunction with daily spend, your company can reach more potential customers.

There are thousands of amazing brands that nobody knows. With lots of smaller clothing and accessories companies putting more money into product development instead of marketing, display advertisements can increase reach at a fraction of the regular search cost.

Key Research Findings

Audience Demographics


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Advertisers intend to reach 64.1% of women and 35.9% of men; that is why the knowledge and understanding of how men and women shop online are essential.

Women represent the largest segment of online shoppers. Therefore, images, text copy, and calls to action should be appealing to them. Men care more about the simplicity of finding what they need at the right price and the ease of getting their purchases.

Women have completely different shopping patterns. While men in most cases enjoy the result (a purchase), women enjoy the whole process and shopping journey itself (which includes education, information, entertainment, and interaction). When women go shopping (online or offline), they want a positive, fun experience because they have enough of work-related and personal life stress in everyday life. So, women wish to see free interesting info, self-assuring imagery, and everything else that can add positivity and joy to their lives.

It applies to everything they see — from Social Networks to a chat with friends to the advertisement on websites they browse.

Fashion, Beauty, and any other Lifestyle shoppers want to see models who look like them or a little better versions of themselves (not someone they will never become). They also want to read words that show the benefits of products and explain how those products can improve something in their lives.

Age Range Targeting


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The leading segment of beauty and fitness websites is 25-34, following by the second major segment, 35-44. Therefore, I recommend designing ads based on your target demographics for a particular niche and sub-niche. 

Beauty and fitness websites have overlapping demographics with fashion. Ads' text and images provided to an advertiser should feature models styled for particular demographics. 

With a whopping total of 70% audience between 18 and 44 years old who are usually glued to their phones and tablets, Google Display Network with 650 thousand apps is priceless. Beautiful responsive advertisements can bring more business to any company nowadays, and fashion companies of any size should understand this fact.

Smaller businesses (if adequately educated on the subject) just recently started to realize the beauty of advertising on the variety of niche sites that closely relate to their businesses. Large, top retailers have understood that for years and at least have tested all their GDN options at some scale. 

Audience Demographics


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Another great reason to utilize GDN for Fashion & Lifestyle is that often, publishers are shoppers themselves (for clothing, accessories, beauty, etc.), so their sites provide super related information for visitors. I am referring to bloggers and influencers here.

A display ad, surrounded with great content, will result in better click-through rates, conversions, and eventually continuous business.

While top fashion & lifestyle retailers can afford expensive agencies, smaller companies have continual issues with budgets, so they pretty much shoot at the dark with their lack of knowledge (and this is the pure reality of the industry, especially in the Los Angeles fashion district community). Therefore, having their ads on high quality, informational sites improve their performance and is another reason to invest more in GDN.

Topic Similarity


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Nowadays, many lifestyle industries overlap because they have blended in many topics and naturally relate to each other (like health and fitness, apparel and beauty, etc.). With the high percentage of topic similarity, running your ad with relevant industries' publishers, not only will increase results but will decrease risks of wasted budgets.

Some marketing managers are afraid that ads won't be relevant to the website, or they won't be able to fine-tune the target audience, or the number of fraud clicks from the competition will be high. I don't think that those issues are significant if you know how to set up your ads and design creatives properly. It is all about continual learning, which I always highly encourage in all companies.

Important tip: always allocate test budgets, find out the main metrics, and watch for ROI. Use this information to optimize results, and then repeat it again and again. My teams always start slow and then expand the reach carefully.

Topic Similarity


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Audiences who are interested in Beauty & Fitness will be involved in health because fitness is part of well-being and healthy lifestyles, so those topics are extremely related in a visitors’ mind. People who are interested in those topics love and take care of themselves, therefore shopping will be the logical extension of it as well. Nowadays, borders between different verticals are very undefined because they all belong under the one “lifestyle” umbrella.

Ad Sizes


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Fashion advertisers' preferred ad formats are 728x90 and 300x250 because they have more significant real estate. Images are one of the essential online selling tools, so the larger the space, the better for an advertiser (in thee advertisers' minds, it give more chances). While other verticals can get away just with text copy ads, fashion merchants need to have a space to showcase their brands & products along with text and call to action.

Ad Sizes


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While publishers still prefer larger ad sizes, their preferences are based strictly on ROI. For publishers, creative sizes don't matter as much as persuasive sales copy and a proper call to action.

Usually, publishers run A/B testing to figure out which ads' sizes are preferred better for particular brands. Then they run advertisements based on their conversions and other measurable results.

Ad Formats

Images vs. Responsive HTML

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Another critical component to display advertisement for Fashion & Lifestyle is to make ads mobile-friendly and responsive.

Advertisers strongly prefer responsive ads because those ads increase their conversions.

Publishers, run almost equally both images and responsive formats. The reason they do it is because they know their visitors and demographics, and base their decision on proven performance.

Top Publishers to Look at

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BigCartel.com and Lovetoknow.com are two top publishers for fashion brands because they are both one-of-a-kind, well promoted, fashionista-oriented sites that attract customers that are interested in fashion brands. While Big Сartel is a solution for artists and LoveToKnow is a lifestyle informational portal, their customers are people who are interested in stylish online shopping.

Big Cartel’s visitors are looking for unique merchandise made by artists. It means they will be willing to spend hours of their online shopping time to find something great in other places, as well. Those people are looking for products that will help them to stand apart from the crowd and look unique.

Makeupalley.com, the makeup review site, is delivering massive value for visitors. According to Statista, revenue in Beauty & Personal Care market is expected to grow annually by 2.6% up to 2023 in the USA. 

Obviously, customers who are willing to spend money on makeup will also spend on fashion because while makeup is “salt & pepper,” outfits would be “bread & butter".

Tips for Creating a Better Ad for Top Publishers' Sites

Make your ads responsive​​​​​. Use your slogan along with the logo, so customers who are not familiar with your brand could easily understand what your company does. Create your ad appealing to publishers' sites from overlapping categories (verticals). List at least one main benefit of choosing your product over competition, so visitors have a reason to click through your ad. Design your ad to be fun while subject related.

Now it is time to explore the entire infographic!

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