Search Engines Remain Key Driver To Web Sites

Holidays-BB4Cross-channel marketing campaigns proved to be the most successful during the holidays. Search engines like Google and Bing were the key driver of traffic, along with organic cross-shopping across retail Web sites, according to Experian Marketing Services, which released a recap of 2012 trends Thursday.

Both search and social delivered the highest share of traffic to retailers on Black Friday, while email and affiliates proved important on Cyber Monday, according to the data.

Search lived up to its reputation for being a key traffic driver as consumers searched for deals. Search engines at 49% took the No. 1 spot for search and cross-shopping across retailers as the most common method of navigation. Shopping and classified sites took No. 2 at 16%, followed by other at 12%. Email services at 6%, portal front pages at 4%, entertainment at 4%, and rewards and directories at 3% skated by.

When it came to driving traffic, Facebook generated 3.8%; Amazon, 1.5%; and YouTube, 1%.

Despite weak overall sales growth during the holidays compared with last year, visits to Web sites rose across the majority of product categories. Cyber Monday maintained the top ranking for traffic. Visits grew 11% year-over-year. Black Friday and Thanksgiving followed with 7% and 6% growth, respectively.

Amazon.com took the No. 1 spot for Web site visits, followed by Walmart. BestBuy, Target, J.C. Penney, Sears, Kohls, Macy's, Toys R Us, and Kmart rounded out the top 10 sites.

Target, J.C. Penney, and Toys R Us fell in visits to the Web site, while all others in the top 10 rose.

UGGs remained a cold weather favorite during the holiday season, topping the list of the hottest products, followed by Kindle Fire HD, Wii U, Toms Shoes, iPhone 5 cases, Nexus 7, iPod Touch, Furby, Doc McStuffins, and Ps3.

Online shoppers over-indexed against the online population for higher incomes and creditworthiness, although a high share of overall visits came from older, less affluent households, which might explain the 122.93% year-on-year increase to the coupon site RetailMeNot.com and the 79.43% increase to Slickdeals.net.

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2 comments about "Search Engines Remain Key Driver To Web Sites".
  1. Dave Bowra from Campbell House , January 18, 2013 at 12:43 p.m.
    Very interesting to see the figures for social media. Would be even more interesting if there was data broken down into market segments. Are there other reports available covering services sector? I work in the private investigator field and customers ask about the relevance of social media for them. I am not convinced of the value; some stats would be most informative.
  2. Steven Arsenault from OneBigBroadcast.com , January 18, 2013 at 3:09 p.m.
    Several years ago after getting out of the online dating business I some how got into SEO which I always thought was a horrible thing one had to do so I set out to build a platform that would attract search as a foundation. It turned out to be the foundation of what is now OneBigBroadcast.com - a cloud powered content marketing engine. Interestingly enough I've always been interested in the value of social verses search so we build as part of our engine analytic tools that measure traffic we instigate with our various APIs connected to numerous social accounts. At the same time our analytic tools measure search term traffic from all the spots our content engine covers. Our platform is used in many industries and businesses from Car Dealers to Food. The one thing that remains the same is that our analytics across these industry sectors show search traffic to these various businesses and organizations is many many more times the volume of traffic day by day than that of social. The take away we see from a pure numbers point of view is that search is huge for in bound traffic - and usually companies want inbound traffic because more traffic means more sales.