Valentine's Day Sparks Keyword Bidding Frenzy

  |  February 11, 2005   |  Comments

What's the story of the keyword price ramp-up?

Retail keyword prices related to Valentine's Day showed an upward burst of activity in the week leading up to the amorous holiday, according to recent keyword analysis conducted by Fathom Online.

A total of 19 keywords jumped to $1 per term or higher starting on Monday, February 7, with the phrases "valentine gift" and "valentine day gift" topping out at $5 per term.

In an indication of the growing value of last-minute gifts, flower-related terms showed a steady uptick in keyword price over the course of the week from Monday February 7 to Friday February 11: for example, the term "flower delivery" increased from $2.33 per phrase to $3.79 by Friday, while other related terms such as "flower" (from $2.03 to $3.20), "online flower" ($2.01 to $2.70), and "valentine flower" ($1.76 to $2.59) showing similarly strong increases.

"There was definitely been heavy spending occurring before the Valentine's Day holiday, with some terms like 'flower,' 'valentine,' and 'valentine flower' showing increases of 40 to almost 60 percent," said Matt McMahon, EVP of Fathom Online. "In many cases we saw five to ten advertisers bidding on a single term, where the competition justified the higher cost per click."

Confirming McMahon's observation, which is based on clients of Fathom Online's SEO business, Overture's Web site reported over 165 advertisers were bidding on the keyword "flower" in the days leading up to Valentine's Day.

"It's very different than the holiday season ramp-up we saw in the fourth quarter of last year, where keyword prices increased over a matter of months," McMahon said. "In this case, we saw prices ramp up in the course of a few days or one week."

McMahon predicts that paid search advertisers will see similar constellations of bidding activity leading to short-term price increases with the upcoming Mother's Day and Father's Day holidays and the May graduation season

"Smart marketers will buy their keywords based on a knowledge of these abbreviated bidding cycles," McMahon said. "Some of these keywords have only a week's worth of additional value in a given year."

However, as may be expected, the magnitude and length of individual keyword cycles differ with the nature of the event driving the bidding activity. For example, in the days leading up to the Super Bowl, when many advertisers experimented with creating online components to their televisions ads, the most expensive keywords associated with the sporting event reached just over $0.75 per term, according to Fathom's analysis.

On the Saturday before game day, the most expensive terms included: Super Bowl ($0.76); Philadelphia Eagles ($0.76); New England Patriots ($0.78); Jacksonville ($0.78); Ericsson Stadium ($0.78); Terrell Owens ($0.80); and Donavan McNabb ($82).

"It's to be expected that more retail-centric events will bring about a more monetizable increase in keyword values," McMahon said. "The biggest thing to keep in mind is the really quick ramp up that can occur around such events, sometimes in just a matter of days, where very, very targeted marketing takes place and a lot of business is done on all of the related keywords."

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