Quick, can you guess the best month for unique visitors (UVs) on FedEx.com and UPS.com? Okay, I’ll break the suspense. As you can see below, December is typically the best month, by far. But you probably guessed that already.
A deeper look at the data, however, reveals a few insights worthy of further study. First, UVs for UPS.com fell 2.42 percent between February 2009 and February 2010. During that same period, however, UVs for FedEx.com increased 2.8 percent. That’s a swing of more than five percent. Traffic declined significantly for both sites in January, as expected, but FedEx.com UVs were up again this February (1.84 percent) while UPS.com UVs were down again (2.66 percent).
An even deeper look inside the numbers, at referral data (which shows the absolute number of visits a site receives from other sites or categories), reveals another area of possible concern for UPS. In February 2011, there were 341,070 referrals from UPS.com to FedEx.com, accounting for 1.43 percent of its overall monthly site referrals. There were, on the other hand, fewer referrals from FedEx.com to UPS.com (283,433 or .81 percent) in February. Could this dynamic be at least partially responsible for the disparity between the two competitors UVs in February 2011?
From a category view – Freight and Storage – FedEx.com is out-delivering all the primary competition. Of the top ten in the category, which includes USPS.com and UPS.com, it was the only site up for the month. The category as a whole was down 2.2 percent in UVs for February 2011.
A final look at the top shippers reveals one area where FedEx.com is being out-delivered, in search. As you can see by the table below, both UPS.com (2.35 percent) and USPS.com (1.6 percent) get more volume from the keyword “shipping” than does FedEx.com (0.9 percent). And more than 30 percent of that volume came from paid search versus organic.
Who is winning the shipping wars? It’s not completely clear, but FedEx is doing something right, particularly in the first part of 2011. Sure it may want to take a closer look at its search strategy, but all signs point to an online strategy that is delivering on schedule.
Damian Roskill is the Managing Director of Marketing at Compete. Before Compete Damian was head of products for a video start-up and has worked in start-ups for most of his career. Damian's career aspiration is to be at one with the advertising universe. Damian can be found on Twitter as Droskill, or connect with him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/droskill