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Cycling Sector Report 2014

As the UK start of the Tour de France gets closer, Epiphany sheds light on which cycling brands are visible online.

This report shows the opportunities and threats for brands selling cycling products online. The report comes in the run up to the Tour De France starting in our hometown Leeds, and at a time when interest is significantly high given recent British cycling success.

As interest in the sport continues to rise, so do search volumes; paid search advertisement click-through traffic rose by over 30% year-on-year, and overall search traffic climbed by 3%. This comes at a time when there are more advertisers - and more choice - than we've seen before. A mixture of established bricks-and-mortar retailers and online-only specialists (table 1) means that competition in this sector has never been higher.

Most Visible Retailers Cycling

Consumers searching for cycling products online have access to a vast range of products, brands and information, which means that digital marketers in this sector have a large and varied market with millions of searches to contend with. In both paid and organic search, this sector contains huge volumes of highly-competitive keywords over which brands will compete for visibility. 

Buying a new bike entails a careful and considered research process. Consumers will have personal preferences to their eventual purchase decision. The research online, purchase offline effect provides an opportunity for bricks and mortar retailers to capitalise on those consumers wanting an element of tangible service. There are also consumers who will want the inverse of this, conducting offline research before purchasing online. It is important that brands position themselves as a source of impartial, expert advice through the content they produce. This ensures that consumers relate authority and trust to the brand and are more likely to purchase from them, regardless of when or where that takes place.

The report investigates the consumer’s journey in what used to be a very traditional process, as well as the ever-increasing cross platform search trends. It shows the greater penetration of smartphones and tablets, but more importantly, how this affects the consumer’s path to purchase.

Epiphany’s report concludes that brands are not fully engaging with the opportunities provided; especially in terms of using a content strategy to improve search visibility. With consumers actively wanting to engage with cycling online, retailers should be utilising a content strategy that connects them with their brand whilst maximising the search benefits.

“Creating truly engaging content that fulfils the needs of a relevant audience is key to achieving success in the organic search rankings. Retailers need to appreciate the wider value of producing great content and understand how search should be integrated within their marketing mix.”

Alex Postance Head of Earned Media Epiphany

Sector Highlights

  • Many brands in the sector are not implementing both paid and organic search strategies together, which can significantly limit the successfulness of a campaign. 
  • Halfords dominates organic search, which is not surprising given its overall range of products and reputation as a leading brand.
  • Evans Cycles is the most visible cycling-specific retailer across organic search.
  • Raleigh, a reputable cycling brand, has missed a significant opportunity by launching its relatively new ecommerce platform on a separate domain, restricting visibility in both the short and long term.
  • Halfords, Go Outdoors and Evans Cycles all appear to be benefiting from the natural coverage that larger, more established brands tend to gain. This contributes significantly to their continuous rate of link acquisition, overall links and domain authority.
  • Halfords has missed an opportunity by not having an on-site content strategy, instead relying on the power of its brand to gain natural links.
  • There is an opportunity for many brands to leverage their paid search advert extensions more extensively.
  • Non-specialist retailers are using paid search to enter and compete with a specialist market. 

 

Please contact us if you would like to discuss this report or request some bespoke analysis for your brand.