SOURCE: SEMphonic

February 08, 2006 08:30 ET

Elaborate, Travel Related Getaways Cheat Traditional Valentine's Day Gift Items Out of Higher Cost-Per-Click and Keyword Bidding Pre Holiday, SEMphonic™ Keyword Pricing Index (SKPI) Finds

Florist Sites Represent 70 Percent of the Top 50 Sites While Aggregators Represent Only 4% of the top 50; FTD.com Wins Search Engine Marketing Analytics (SEMA) Award for "Overall Best Ranking in the Floral Industry"

NOVATO, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- February 8, 2006 --SEMphonic, search engine marketing (SEM) analytics tool specialist, today announced that its SEMphonic Keyword Pricing Index (SKPI), an index of cost-per-click and bids on selected industry-specific keywords, shows keyword bidding increased greater than 100% for more elaborate, travel related getaway romantic gift "categories" pre-Valentine's Day, which are now vigorously competing for searchers' attention.

In fact, "spa package" saw the greatest increase in the 63 keyword set from $0.98 to $3.00. Additionally, "romantic getaway" saw the second largest increase from $2.01 to $3.00. The SEMphonic Keyword Pricing Index (SKPI) for Valentine's Day identifies keywords for the Pay-Per-Click (PPC) market during the period of January 23 to February 14.

This SEMphonic index determines an initial average cost-per-click for a set of PPC keywords and identifies price movements within the index. The Valentine's Day index is comprised of 63 keywords grouped into ten categories focusing on Valentine online gift purchases.

As expected, the traditional Valentine's Day gift categories of keywords related to Chocolate, Gifts (General terms and specific gifts), Jewelry and Valentines Day drove the majority of these increases (34%, 17%, 21% and 16% respectively). The bidding increases occurred generally in higher volume keywords (greater than 10,000 searches per month). The lower volume keywords (less than 10,000 searches per month) had more modest increases for these four categories. The focus on higher volume words suggests the need to increase visibility due to competition for purchasing these traditional Valentine's Day gifts.

Flowers keywords, another traditional Valentine's Day gift category, increased by 10% overall; Roses keywords increased by 4% overall. These relatively low increases compared with other traditional categories are due to the initial high cost of these words. Out of the top 10 highest priced words in this study, Flower related keywords hold 5 spots and all are near or above $3.00 per click. The averages for Flowers and Roses categories are $2.42 and $1.19 respectively.

In a related study, FTD.com received the Search Engine Marketing Analytics (SEMA) award for "Overall Best Ranking in the Floral Industry" in the floral category.

Overall, the top 20 ranking sites for both organic and paid placement for the floral industry was identified as follows:

Site              Overall Ranking
ftd.com                         1
1800flowers.com                 2
proflowers.com                  3
800florals.com                  4
teleflora.com                   5
hallmark.com                    6
shopping.msn.com                7
aboutflowers.com                8
findgift.com                    9
dotflowers.com                 10
rossirovetti.com               11
justflowers.com                12
harryanddavid.com              13
flora2000.com                  14
flowersonly.com                15
1stinflowers.com               16
fromyouflowers.com             17
nationwideflorist.com          18
virtualflowers.com             19
hallmarkflowers.com            20
Within this list of top 20, the order of the floral sites changes between Yahoo and Google, but the web sites are relatively the same set. Small differences between these two sites are the shopping sites: shopping.msn.com focuses on Google while nextag.com focuses on Yahoo!

Unlike many industries previously analyzed by SEMphonic, the web aggregators did not overpower the industry specific sites in paid placement. Florist sites represent 70% of the top 50 sites while aggregators represent only 4% of the top 50. In other industries, SEMphonic has seen the aggregators represent as high as 39% of the top 50 sites.

The players within the Flowers & Flower-related words category change little indicating that online floral sites have invested heavily in both organic and paid placement for highly industry specific words. However, when looking at Bouquet & Arrangement related words, the picture changes.

While the representation in the top 50 changes little by percentage, three shopping sites tend to hold much higher spots. Namely, nextag.com, shopping.msn.com and shopzilla.com all hold spots in the top 10 for this category of related words suggesting that these sites have seen an opportunity for web site traffic from highly specific industry words.

In this category, we see a larger difference between those that focus on organic placement and those that focus on paid placement. Generally, the shopping and gift sites in this category have invested in paid placement while the floral industry sites do better in organic as expected for this highly industry specific set of words.

Top sites were searched on Yahoo! Search and Google to determine their standings in both organic and paid placements. In addition to overall comprehensive rankings, rankings were compared for categorized word sets (Flowers & Flower related words, Valentine's Day Related words, and Gift related words) where the competition becomes broader for the same sets of words.

To purchase a full copy of the study or to request a customized version, please contact John Williams at jwilliams@semphonic.com

About SEMphonic

SEMphonic brings over 9 years of experience in Internet marketing competitive analytics to search engine marketing (SEM) professionals. The company focus is to develop and deliver powerful online campaign tracking tools that provide SEM practitioners worldwide with accurate and rapid methods to report comparative PPC search engine performance and competitor campaign performance. SEM professional now get faster, more actionable insights to help improve SEM campaign performance.

SEMphonic provides these technologies, tools, and services to maximize the competitive edge for Agencies and companies such as American Express, WebMD, AOL, CyberTrader, Charles Schwab, Endless Pools, Hotwire, Intuit, Mediasmith, iCrossing, and others. SEMphonic is headquartered in Novato, California. Visit us at www.semphonic.com for more information.

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