Zara has been dominating the fashion game for years; decades even. With more than 2,000 stores worldwide, the Spanish retail giant may seem like they’re coasting on a cloud of big traffic and sales. But is there room for improvement?
In this blog, I’ll discuss Zara's advertising strategy and how the company can improve its marketing efforts to regain its position as a market leader. I’ll take you through a strategy overview using tools like SEMrush, Google and Facebook.
The breakdown of Zara's page strategy will include:
3. Advertising research
4. Product listing ads (PLA)
Zara has had its finger on the pulse of global retail for over 40 years. Founded in 1975 in Spain, the company has rapidly grown with stores around the world, making it one of the largest and most successful fashion retailers in the world. It's known for its fast-fashion business model, which involves quickly producing and distributing trendy clothing designs to keep up with the latest fashion trends.
The pic above shows Zara’s current Facebook ads. The messaging and vertical-style videos are primarily meant for mobile shopping. But, Zara is neglecting to advertise on YouTube through video and display ads, which could help increase its brand's visibility and drive sales. By neglecting the platform, Zara is losing out on a valuable opportunity to showcase its products to a wider audience. Instead, it's targeting a select few keywords for their brand traffic – I’ll talk about this later.
Let's take a look at the competitors in this fashion retail industry.
Shein is one of the competitors that is successfully targeting ads on Google, with a similar vertical video style that showcases their target demographics. With over 300 ads running on YouTube, Shein seems to be more dedicated to reaching their audience on the platform.
Another major competitor is Forever 21. It is running a mix of non-branded and branded search campaigns. The store has more ads than the other two brands combined, but they're only targeting search ads for now - a different strategy altogether.
Zara’s advertising spend has decreased significantly – minus 92 percent in the past two years. As a result, they are struggling to maintain their brand presence in search results and traffic.
Currently, they only have 21 keywords and a spend of $7,000, with a majority of the lost keywords being non-branded. Meanwhile, their competitors including Amazon and Shein, are pushing harder on their keywords.
Amazon, in particular, has a significant number of overlapping keywords with Zara. The traffic that Zara is receiving is mostly being directed to the homepage; it’s branded traffic.
Consider the number of keywords the company has lost during this period (pic above). The majority were non-branded, which is likely due to budget constraints in Google search engine marketing. Meanwhile, they have maintained a few branded keywords.
Zara's competitors are aggressively targeting their keywords. There’s significant overlapping for Amazon and followed by Shein, while smaller competitors have some overlap in terms of traffic. Still, Amazon has a larger overall keyword presence.
This analysis (pic above) shows the regular domain for the US site and the Canadian site and where the competitors are directing their traffic. Most of the traffic is going to the homepage, indicating a focus on branded traffic.
I would recommend that Zara create an optimized offer or bundle-type deal where they can send traffic since people would get this organically through SEO. It makes sense to have a crafted offer for paid ad traffic. That would allow them to capitalize on the audience that is already showing intent by clicking on branded traffic. And, it will help them generate more Return on Investment (ROI) from this audience than they would achieve from organic audiences.
Zara is running all-branded ad copy. The retailer’s campaign is focused on promoting its various product lines for men, kids, and other demographics. The copy is transactional and intended to appeal to customers looking for new collections or big sales.
These visuals are fairly generic and don't stand out as particularly brand-forward. One solution would be to use dynamic ads, showcasing more messaging while being more visually striking. Currently, Zara's ads are somewhat politically correct and lacking in originality. Many of them target only one or two keywords related to the brand. By using dynamic ads, Zara could differentiate itself from other brands and create a more memorable and impactful ad campaign.
These are the shopping ads that show up when people have e-commerce intent. The brand has seen a significant drop in keywords in the last year – a 47 percent decrease due to budget restrictions. This drop is particularly noticeable compared to previous periods in their ads. Additionally, the relevancy of the ads is also declining, as shown here (pic above).
Zara’s competitors, including Forever 21 and Express, are also vying for a piece of the fashion retail pie. These brands utilize a shared pool of keywords in their marketing strategies. The overlap of keywords is extremely high, with Madewell having the highest number overall. Forever 21's keyword set is most similar to Zara's, making it the primary competitor for e-commerce shoppers.
When it comes to product structure, Zara is currently following a specific format that includes its brand, product type, color, and gender. This format is the most common one it's using now. It's interesting to see the different keywords that are being triggered based on demand and other factors such as title descriptions. Zara is losing a significant amount of traffic with this current structure.
Zara is targeting just 17 keywords which are mostly brand and brand variations of different product categories.
But, then we can see Shein has about 46,000 keywords – acting like an ‘Amazon’ of the space. Forever21 only has 18 – mostly targeting branded, and H&M has a good mix of branded and non-brand keywords. Big discrepancies here between Zara and its competitors.
Zara is a well-established retailer in the market, attracting both organic and paid traffic, as well as referrals. This data (pic below) shows that Zara has successfully built a presence where consumers are drawn to shopping with them. Customers are searching for them online, similar to other established players like ASOS and H&M.
Overall, Zara has strong roots in the market. The data shows organic plus paid traffic and referrals. Like ASOS and H&M, Zara has a strong foothold, but, they’re currently dropping. However, they could rise up as market leaders if they start spending on ads. If they invest in advertising, they have the potential to rise up and become market leaders. If they continue to drop, they may fall back into being niche players. It all depends on their overall growth and ability to focus on ad creation.
Pictured (above) is the breakdown in terms of market share: Trendy OL, has about 16 percent, then Zara and ASOS are nearly neck-and-neck at 10 percent. So, the market is fragmented.
To regain its position as a market leader, Zara should consider increasing its budget to secure branded search terms. That will be a good start to shield off competitors. And the retail giant should expand its use of display and YouTube video advertising, similar to its competitors. By leveraging existing Facebook creative and scaling from there, Zara can effectively reach and engage its target audience. By implementing these strategies, Zara has the potential to regain its status as a dominant force in the retail industry.