Rewind Paid Search Performance Index: February 2012

Due to the arrival of leap year, online retailers benefited in February from having one extra day in which to promote and sell more merchandise, and indeed, sales growth this month was strong on a year-over-year basis. This growth came in a month that already benefits from the traditional promotional hooks of President’s Day and Valentine’s Day, as well as general momentum going into the Spring season. Paid search revenue growth in particular was strong, according to PM Digital’s February 2012 Rewind Index, which measures monthly U.S. paid search performance for online retail clients. February revenue from paid search rose 32%, and even when removing the extra day of leap year to compare just the first 28 days of February 2012 to the same number of days one year ago, revenue still grew by 26%. Growth was driven by conversion rate improvement of 12%, as well as by higher average orders, which rose 5%. Paid search spend rose 13%, solely because of higher clicks, as CPCs dipped -2%. The typically promotional holiday of President’s Day once again indexed the highest in February for all key paid search metrics (revenue, orders, clicks and spend). Sales indexes also surged on Wed 2/29, which could be called Leap Year Day, to reach a second peak almost as high as President’s Day.

YoY Performance Metrics for February 2012

YoY Performance Metrics for February 2012 – The Impact of Leap Year

Even when removing Wed Feb 2/29 from consideration, the first 28 days of February 2012 compared very favorably to February 2011, showing strong year-over-year growth. CPCs, conversion rates and average order values were barely affected (0%-0.5%) in the comparison of with/without Leap Year Day.

February 2012 Top Sales Days: Mon 2/20 (President’s Day), Wed 2/29 (Leap Year Day)

Online retail sales had several inflection points in February. The top overall day for both revenue and orders was President’s Day, Mon 2/20. This typically promotional holiday also indexed the highest in February last year. Another sales peak on Wed 2/29, the second best sales day of the month, was noteworthy mainly because it appears on the calendar only once every four years, but also because Wednesdays are typically slow days for online retail. Several marketers took advantage of this quadrennial opportunity to promote special offers, driving sales even higher than usual in an already good time of year. Lastly, the period leading up to Valentine’s Day also saw sales rise steadily in anticipation of that holiday, though no single days reached the peaks of 2/20 and 2/29.

February 2012 Top Spend Day: Mon 2/20 (President’s Day)

President’s Day, Mon 2/20, also indexed the highest for spend and clicks metrics in February.

February 2012 Top Clicks Day: Mon 2/20 (President’s Day)

About PM Digital Rewind

The PM Digital Rewind Monthly Index measures paid search performance for online retail marketers during the prior month. Based on aggregated and indexed performance data, the PM Digital Rewind Index provides immediate, ongoing perspective for the retail sector just a few business days after the close of a given month. The Index covers all retail categories, including merchandise and apparel.

Look for our next edition of the monthly PM Digital Rewind Index covering March 2012 to be released in April.


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