Search engines drive nearly half of the desktop traffic to sportswear brand sites, but sportswear brands underinvest in search. U.S. activewear brands’ spending on desktop search declined between 2014 and 2015, while spending on mobile search increased. However, spending on mobile and desktop search trails spending on display ads, which account for just 1% of traffic directed to sportswear brand sites.
As a result of this underinvestment, third-party retailers exert control on paid search results for branded terms. Furthermore, brand-owned search results that do appear are subpar; most don’t have store locators and don’t link to nearby stores, and therefore miss an opportunity to drive traffic to stores.
While it may seem as if organic results are working just fine for Sportswear brands, the landscape is becoming more competitive. Paid search results are occupying a greater share of first-page real estate, introducing a fiercer competition for organic results. The average brand returns 7.5 organic search results on organic brand term searches, a 5% decline from 2013.