Articles Comments

» Paid Search in General » Enfamil vs. Similac – Which One Has A Better Formula For Their PPC Strategy?

Enfamil vs. Similac – Which One Has A Better Formula For Their PPC Strategy?

As a recently became a Dad, I often wonder how these “wonder products” are marketed online. In similar article I wrote the past year, entitled “Pampers vs. Huggies – 40+ Year Old Branding War Hits Search Marketing” I discussed the Branding War between Huggies and Pampers. So, now I have moved over to another product segment that is a must for all babies and that is Baby Formulas. The two biggest formulas that I will compare at a Paid Search Marketing and Branding level are Similac and Enfamil. In this post I hope to identify which strategies are being used by both companies, as well as identifying other PPC opportunities that could benefit not only the customer, but also the VP of Marketing for either of the companies. Let’s Discuss……

Brief History of Baby Formula
According to’s article entitled “The History of Baby Formula“, the author Susan Warner states that “The first commercial baby food was originally invented by Justus von Leibig in
1869. It was a powdered formula. The
product was widely sold in Europe. A version of the formula was sold in
the US as Soluble Infant Food cost $1 a bottle in 1869.” However, that invention was enhanced by another, more well-known entrepreneur named Henri
Nestlé who decided to create his own formula treating malnourished babies. By 1870
Nestle’s Infant Food was selling in the US for $.50 a bottle. This made it the first complete formula. Nestle was a good
marketer and was able to successfully distribute his product worldwide.

Which Baby Formula Is Searched More?
Well, to get a very rough “Guesstimate” the Google Traffic Estimator Tool ranks Enfamil as being a more lucrative keyword to bid on as it’s CPC is more than 2x that of Similac, even though the traffic volumes appear to be very similar. This is very, very ballpark. (see screenshot below)

Picture 4 

What Does The Baby Formula PPC Landscape Look Like?
Well, one of the most interesting things I noticed in my “unscientific” research, was the lack of “Misspellings” and use of prominent “head terms” by both companies. Similac is more proactive with the misspellings as compared to Enfamil which is just not capitalizing on it all. When I see neither Similar or Enfamil bidding on search terms such as “infant formula” and “baby formula” it tells me that they rather have their affiliates and/or resellers pay for that PPC real estate. Moreover, there are some inconsistencies between the two company’s PPC strategies. For example:

  • Similac is bidding on enfamil, but enfamil is not bidding on similac
  • Similac taking advantage of misspellings, while Enfamil is not.
  • Simliac is bidding on “LIPIL” Branded name by Enfamil
  • Similac enforces their Google Trademark, while Enfamil does not.
  • Enfamil’s Lipil and KinderKal products are not being used in PPC by either company

My Key Observations:
When I put on my PPC Hat, I have to say that Similac is more effective with their PPC Strategy. It is far from perfect, but much more effective than their rival Enfamil. Enfamil is lacking on overall coverage of their product lines, where Similac is spending PPC Ad dollars. However, measuring success for this product segment can be confusing, as many buyers are concerned with getting the best prices and only look to the manufacturers sites to get additional coupons or advice.

An Interesting Analytics Find
I noticed that the Enfamil website did not have any Web Analytics tracking code on the site, while Similac does and is using Google Analytics. So, my question to Mead Johnson Nutrition (Enfamil) is “Do you know what your visitors are doing? Do you know which keywords and/or ads are working best?

This Baby Formula vertical appears to be controlled by the many Affiliates and/or resellers, which makes the Paid Search Budgets for the manufacturer a little on the expensive side. It is quote possible that both companies are faced with the affiliate-competitor issue where real estate and positioning is at a premium. Certain “sub-brands” of each company are not as competitive as the main brand. However, there are ways to effectively negotiate with the resellers for everyone’s advantage.

In Conclusion:
The debate of whether how good or bad the PPC strategy maybe for each company, the important things to note is that both of them have a search engine marketing presence. Both of them not only have loyal resellers are affiliates, but they have a strong blog following which is more influential to the customer than any PPC text ad. Where the two companies lack is “depth” of a PPC Strategy, where there are missed opportunities to counteract any user feedback claims, recent news or even new products coming to market. So it’s safe to say that many customers have many different opinions on what formula is better for their baby. For the search marketer, the best formula is the one that continues to improve and evolve as the company evolves.

Filed under: Paid Search in General

Leave a Reply