With consumer spending reaching record levels this Valentine’s Day, floral retailers pulled out all the stops to capture their share of the nearly $2 billion consumers spent on flowers. According to an analysis of search ad trends conducted by the search intelligence provider Adthena, 1-800-Flowers pushed more search ads than any other retailer in the floral industry this Valentine’s season, eating up more than one-third of all ad clicks.

In analyzing more than 2,700 text search ads that ran between January 15 and February 15, Adthena found that 1-800-Flowers pushed nearly 900 ads during the month.

“1-800-Flowers and ProFlowers were evenly matched on impressions. But 1-800-Flowers was overpowering in terms of click share. They were more than 20 percentage points higher, for example, than ftd.com. They beat everyone—by a mile—on clicks,” said Ashley Fletcher, vice president of marketing at Adthena.

To reach those conclusions, Adthena analyzed brand domains for keywords and created a unique keyword universe. The company then mined search engine results pages for those terms, creating separate keyword universes for each of a brand’s competitors. Adthena collated the data to create detailed maps of each brand’s entire search market and generated a customized search landscape. The company also created a specific search term group for Valentine’s Day, looking at how people were bidding and using specific Valentine’s Day-related terms.

1-800-Flowers’ dominance over the competition—which included ProFlowers, FromYouFlowers, Bouqs, and FTD—was due in large part to the number of keywords the company bid on. If a consumer was searching for “flowers” or “Valentine’s Day gifts” during the month of February, there’s a good chance he or she clicked on an ad from 1-800-Flowers.

With more consumers researching purchases online than ever before, and major e-commerce retailers like 1-800-Flowers and ProFlowers flooding the playing field with paid search ads, there’s a looming question of what will happen to local florists. After all, a mom-and-pop floral shop can’t compete on volume when it comes to text search ads, particularly when the industry’s heaviest hitters are bidding on thousands, or even millions, of keywords and phrases.

“1-800-Flowers is a billion-dollar company. They have money to spend and have used it to build an impressive search strategy for customer acquisition. They relied on a higher volume of search ads but also bid comprehensively—across generic and niche keywords,” Fletcher said. “Not every competitor—especially smaller, challenger brands—will be able to do that.”

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