June 21, 2013, 3:12 PM

Marketers say “I do” to more wedding-related paid search spending

Paid search spending on wedding ads rises 15.7 % in 2012.

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Just as brides, grooms and often the poor father of the bride shell out big bucks for weddings, marketers also spend hefty chunks on wedding-related paid search and Google Product Listing ads geared toward couples planning for their pending nuptials, according to new research from paid search firm AdGooroo.

With the average wedding budget standing at $27,000, according to a 2011 survey by wedding web site and e-retailer The Knot, and more that 2 million weddings per year in the U.S., the domestic wedding industry is now worth more than $500 million annually. That has companies that cater to brides and grooms heavily advertising to get their piece of the (wedding) cake.

Total pay-per-click spending on wedding related paid search ads jumped from $13.3 million in 2010 to $19 million in 2011, and again to $22 million in 2012, AdGooroo says. That’s a 15.7% year-over-year increase between 2011 and 2012. Although wedding pay-per-click spend is down 21% in the first five months of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012, the decrease is likely a result of a shift in clicks and advertising spend from pay-per-click text ads to Google Product Listing Ads on Google results pages, the vendor notes on its blog post about its new findings. Google only started charging last fall for those listings, which display an image and price as well as the retailer’s name prominently on search results pages.

Per The Knot’s study, December is the most popular month to get engaged. So it’s no surprise that the peak planning month appears to be January, which shows spikes in click-throughs to wedding advertisers’ sites in each of the past four Januaries, AdGooroo says.

So what are smitten couples searching for as they begin planning their event? Rings take the cake with 29.2% of all 2012 U.S. wedding-related paid search ads on Google AdWords being triggered by searches for an engagement or wedding ring.

The next most commonly searched topic was wedding dress or gown, with 26.8% of all wedding ads displayed in response to such a search. Common variations on dress search terms include ‘short’, ‘informal’, ‘beach’, ‘2nd wedding’, ‘vintage’, ‘maternity’ and ‘plus size’. Searches for wedding plans and planners was the next most common trigger of paid search ads (10.4% of impressions), followed by bridesmaids and flower girls, which accounted for 5% of ads in the category.

Designer and brand searches came in ninth on the search topic list, led by David’s Bridal, Vera Wang, Jovani and Alfred Angelo, as well as Bari Jay, Martha Stewart, Mary’s Bridal and Mori Lee. Ads for brands and designers posted the highest click-through rate by far, averaging 19% compared to the overall average of 3.6% for all wedding paid search ads. This, AdGooroo says, suggests high consumer interest in finding the right dress from a desired and trusted brand.

When it comes to the most expensive ads for wedding companies to run, wedding photography/videography ads came in with the highest price tag. Costing $2.05 per click on average, photo/video ads are more than three times as expensive as the overall wedding category cost-per-click average of $0.67.  Invites and thank-you ads were the second most expensive at $1.39 on average. This, AdGooroo says, suggests that suppliers of these wedding accoutrements enjoy higher-than-average conversion rates and margins and thus can afford to spend more to attract visitors.

Other AdGooroo findings include:

  • The term that attracted the greatest number of advertisers was “bridal stores” with 376.
  • The term “bridesmaid dresses” yielded ads by 197 different advertisers, while the term “bachelorette” only surfaced four advertisers.
  • In a reflection of changing tastes (literally), the term “wedding cake” was joined by “cupcake/cupcake stand” as one of the top terms that brands and advertisers bid on.
  • David’s Bridal held tight to its 2011 No. 1 ranking as the wedding brand with the most ad impressions. It was followed by wedding favor retailer WrapWithUs.com, which also took the second position last year.
  • Only three new brands appeared in the top 10 ranking of wedding advertisers with the most impressions last year: Simply Bridal, Misses Dressy and Bridesire.
  • 36% of advertisers in 2012’s top 50 wedding advertisers ranked by impressions did not appear in the top 50 in 2011. This is evidence of high volatility among the sellers in the category, AdGooroo says.
  • The top 50’s share of total wedding-related AdWords impressions in the category rose from 78.9% in 2011 to 84.5% in 2012. Those slipping out of the top 50 in 2012 included both national brands (The Wedding Channel, Wedding Favors.org, Gracious Bridal) and local boutiques (Village Bridal, Bridal Boutique Lewisville).
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