Article: 5-min Read

Searching for a way to reach customers this unusual shopping season? Here’s how.

Renee Doerre

Head of Strategy, Planning & Operations

Online shopping boomed in the wake of the pandemic. Now, it’s time to rethink your search programs to effectively engage shoppers in the new normal.

If you’ve been waiting for the green light to reboot your advertising programs, this is it.

The shock waves from the COVID-19 pandemic have accelerated online shopping to an all-time high at $211.5 billion, totaling 16.1% of total retail sales in Q2 2020.1 That’s a 31.8% increase from Q1 2020, a massive leap compared to the 2.4% and 2.2% increase in e-commerce sales from the previous two quarters.1

Like all aspects of 2020, this holiday shopping season is going to look dramatically different than in previous years. But if you want to reach customers when, where, and how they’re shopping today, you must take advantage of the digital opportunities in today’s path to purchase. Ask yourself:

Are my media plans keeping pace with the rapid uptick in online shopping behavior?

How can I leverage the e-commerce explosion to see a better return on ad spend (ROAS) this holiday season?

The strategic lever to pull: search marketing.

Want to engage high-intent shoppers as they actively search and drive more-qualified traffic to your products online? Search offers an opportunity for advertisers to increase incremental sales during the e-commerce boom by helping customers make more-informed decisions about relevant products as they search and shop online. With the holiday season fast approaching, advertisers should evaluate their search programs, inclusive of traditional search engines such as Google or Bing, as well as retail search sites like

We have seen some tremendous acceleration in digital purchasing behavior. It’s even more so evident when considering the following indications:

  1. 38% year-over-year (Y/Y) growth in U.S. paid search clicks in Q2 2020²
  2. 87% Y/Y average increase in daily retailer sales generated by Google search ads in Q2²
  3. 10 million new Target digital guests added in the first half of 2020³

Sure, search is growing, but does it drive conversion? You betcha. Target customers were two times more likely to convert when they interacted with search, based on first-party data as of September 2020.

We are at an unprecedented time where both supply and performance are increasing at the same time. The stakes have never been higher and the payout larger, but the brands that invest and elevate their search programs like never before are the ones positioned to glean true rewards.

Ensure your brand is at the forefront of search during this extended holiday season.

The holiday season is starting much earlier this year. That’s because brands are adapting their strategies to drive strong sales while ensuring people have a safe and convenient shopping experience. For instance, Target is offering Black Friday pricing throughout November.

With more people searching and shopping online, search ads could be the difference-maker for advertisers. A creative way to attract new customers is to ensure your products appear for terms that aren’t directly associated with your brand or product.

See how one leading toy brand made it happen.

Last holiday season, a leading toy brand partnered with Roundel to complement its existing paid search efforts to deliver on its ultimate key performance indicator: new customers. This approach surfaced the brand’s products to Target guests who were conducting a general search. Meanwhile, Roundel’s custom Audience Bidding script continuously optimized its ad spend against the highest-performing guest audiences to drive sales of the toy brand’s products nationally.

The results? The toy brand saw an $18+ ROAS* from its Search Ads by Roundel™ campaign (when calculating total brand sales over identified media spend). That’s well above the $2.54 Google search ROAS benchmark across all divisions.

Don’t stop at just your traditional search engines. Get eyes on your product where high-intent shoppers search, too.

Omnichannel search programs can help advertisers reach shoppers who are close to making a purchase decision. Consumers often search on apps for deals and gift ideas during the holiday season, so integrating social channels, like Pinterest, as well as retailer apps, into your media campaigns can provide a wider reach and higher engagement.

What does this look like? Here’s how Roundel helps our clients cover all the bases:

Reach new potential customers searching or browsing on Google (as the toy brand did last year) via Search Ads with Roundel.

Drive active shoppers on and the Target app to your product pages with Target Product Ads by Roundel™. You can activate and manage your campaigns with end-to-end automation through the preferred partner platform of your choice, Criteo or Kenshoo.

Because of our measurement capabilities, you get closed-loop reporting that reflects revenue breakdowns across channels and devices. Remember that toy brand campaign we just talked about? It saw a $4.43 ROAS from Target Product Ads by Roundel.

Are you ready to optimize your search campaigns and truly understand how your media impacted sales? Now is the time to start putting your holiday messaging in front of shoppers wherever they’re searching—before it’s too late.

Find the right partner with the right search solutions.

Eager to drive sales via search marketing this holiday season? A dedicated partner with innovative search solutions can make all the difference. Roundel’s search offerings can help grow your sales with ease.

Contact us or your Sales Representative to see how we can put search to work for your brand. Or read more about our search solutions.

Renee Doerre

Head of Strategy, Planning & Operations

Renee joined Target in 2016 and currently serves as Head of Strategy, Planning & Operations at Roundel. She leads several core functions, including Strategy & Planning, Learning & Development, Marketing, and Business Enablement.

In addition to her experience in building and operating retail media networks, Renne spent two years at a retail-focused ad tech company. Prior to that, Renee spent 14+ years in sales, marketing, and media functions, holding senior leadership positions at,, and Electronic Arts (EA SPORTS).

Further Reading

Reducing buying complexity: The push for greater standardization
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Driving retail media innovation: Self-service, standardization, and tech enhancements
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The importance of a curated experience amidst constant change.
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*$6.11 ROAS when calculating total brand sales over total media spend for Search Ads by Roundel campaign. 
1U.S. Census Bureau, “Quarterly Retail E-Commerce Sales: 2nd Quarter 2020,” August 18, 2020, (accessed October 14, 2020).
2Merkle, “Digital Marketing Report for Q2 2020,” (accessed September 28, 2020).
3Target Q2 2020 Earnings.