Recurring seasonal events represent a great opportunity for reaching potential consumers. Specifically applied to the watchmaking industry, such events include annual exhibitions like the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) and the upcoming Baselworld. These international fairs should be fully integrated within the search strategies of brands that are attending and launching products there.
But not all brands currently capitalise on such an opportunity.
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Known as two of the most important events of the year for luxury jewellers and watchmakers, participation in the SIHH or Baselworld requires meticulous planning on all fronts. Everyone from the communication and product design to sales and logistics teams have roadmaps established months ahead to ensure the smooth launch of the brands’ latest innovations and creations at such fairs.
SEO teams should also be part of the mix. The DLG (Digital Luxury Group) team demonstrates why in this article.
Being two of the major shows of the year in terms of attendance numbers, it goes without saying that the demand generated online is expected to be quite important. There were almost over 150% more online searches for SIHH in February 2018 than visitors at the actual event.
Figure 1: Global demand levels for the exact keywords "SIHH" and "Baselworld" (Source: Google Trends, Worldwide, March 2017 to February 2018)
Despite its gradual shrinking in terms of attendance numbers and size, Baselworld (the industry powerhouse with participating brands such as Patek Philippe, Rolex and the Swatch Group) continually generates a strong appetite among online users: Up to 110,000 searches worldwide were performed in March 2017 when the last edition took place.
Established in 1991, the SIHH (which throws the spotlight on brands within Richemont’s portfolio, alongside other big names like Audemars Piguet, Parmigiani Fleurier and Hermès) has been growing in popularity. While its attendance numbers are still considered small in comparison with Baselworld’s (20,000 visitors were reported for SIHH's 2018 edition versus Baselword's 106,000 in 2017), the interest it generates online is not negligible.
Figure 2: Attendance numbers and Online Demand for SIHH (2018 edition) and Baselworld (2017 edition)
Visitors for last edition
Yearly Average Search Demand
Search Demand during the Month of the Show
Ratio vs demand/visitors for latest edition
Both events generated substantial levels of interest with online users. Not only has search demand related to these events been growing year on year (see Figure1), it has also started to overtake the actual number of visitors when looked upon during the month of each event (see Figure 2).
While precise queries for watch models (e.g. "new models Baselworld", "watches SIHH") are far less numerous than the demand for the main events, they nonetheless represent a great opportunity for brands to gain visibility online during these key moments in the year among a relevant audience.
Demand might be low but it is sustained throughout the year, therefore indicating an opportunity to capitalise on users’ interest all year long.
To put things into perspective, the graph below juxtaposes the demand evolution for queries revolving around new timepiece models at SIHH and Baselworld against that of generic terms related to men’s and women’s watch-gifting.
Figure 3 (Graph): Comparison of global online demand between March 2017 and February 2018
Figure 3 (Table): Comparison of global online demand between March 2017 and February 2018
Our insights revealed that an important proportion of users searching for information around the events were doing so in relation to specific brands.
Here are the top 5 watch manufacturers searched for by users in relation to SIHH and Baselworld: (Source: SEMRush & Google Keyword Planner. Dataset: >200 queries)
These brands are being searched for by users, but are they capitalising on this demand effectively from a search perspective? We’ve selected two brands from these shortlists to illustrate what “good” and “not-so-good” look like:
Tudor: Nailing the integration of seasonal events
Audemars Piguet: Room for improvement
While some brands have aligned their communication channels and ensured their website was providing relevant information at the right time in regards with these key events, other types of media outlets have also been proactively adjusting and capturing this demand.
Image credit: Tag Heuer Live Social Coverage of Baselworld 2017
It won’t come as a surprise, but the top websites making the most of such seasonal traffic opportunities are lifestyle magazines such as Esquire or specialised publishers like Hodinkee or Gear Patrol.
Image credit: Gear Patrol News Piece on SIHH 2018.
The below table ranks the top organic results appearing on the first page of Google.com (US) showing for the query "Baselworld watches" and "SIHH watches". It clearly shows how present such publishers are – occupying half of the results for "Baselworld" and almost all of them for "SIHH". Only a handful of digitally-savvy watch brands such as Rolex, Tudor and Casio are making it among the top results.
Figure 5: Top 10 results showing on Google.com (US) for the query "Baselworld Watches"
Figure 6: Top 10 results showing on Google.com (US) for the query "SIHH Watches"
If many of the big players at such fairs have now implemented dedicated pages on their website around their activities in relation to these events, so have online publishers, magazines and resellers hoping to get a piece of the cake as well when it comes to organic traffic.
Image credit: left - Patek Philippe News Article on Baselworld 2017 . Right - Wempe (luxury retailer) Coverage of Patek Philippe’s New Models at Baselworld 2017
Just as brands progressively embraced the use of hashtags to jump in on conversations on social media in relation to major events, content also needs to be at the forefront of event planning for companies wanting to make an impact throughout the event process (before, during and after) and not lose visitors to their competitors or publishers.
Whether for an international fair such as the SIHH, Baselworld or any other recurring event, having a dedicated space on a website is key. Here are a few other key points to bear in mind for an optimum setup:
Cover image credit: Creative Commons (CC). Image: Baselworld 2017.