Is Wrigley in a Sticky Situation Within the Online Bubble?

Bubblegum

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Extra, Orbit, Doublemint and 5. What do all these have in common? Not only are they well known gum brands, but they’re also all owned by Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company. Wrigley is one of the leading candy brands within the United States as they supply non-chocolate confectionery sugar foods such as gum, mints, hard/chewy candies, and lollipops. Aside from their popular gum brands, a few other Wrigley products that you may have heard of (or potentially gorged yourself on) are Skittles, Starbursts, Altoids, and Life Savers. With such a variety of popular gum and candy offerings, I was interested to see how much traffic lands on their site Wrigely.com. Using Compete PRO, I was able to take a look at the unique visitors to Wrigley.com over the past two years:
Unique Visitors to Wrigley.com
Not too surprisingly, aside from a large peak in August 2010, Wrigley’s site has not been receiving a significant amount of unique visitors. This peak was likely a result of the news surrounding the lawsuit filed against Extra gum’s claim of “killing bad breath” that was brought to court in July 2010. Aside from this peak, however, the unique visitors to Wrigely.com appear to have remained relatively constant, and close to the 30,430 visitors who landed on the site in May 2012. As the number of unique visitors has not changed much over the past two years, I was curious to see how other candy and gum companies were doing online. I first took a look at Mars Incorporated’s site, mars.com, who officially acquired Wrigley as a subsidiary through their merger on October 6, 2008. Also included in the comparison below is Kraft’s site, Kraftfoods.com, as well as Hershey’s site, Hersheys.com, — both well known candy and gum companies.

Comparison of Unique Visitors between Hershy.com, Kraftfoods.com, Mars.com, and Wrigley.com

Not only is Wrigley’s site low in unique visitors, but Mars, their parent company, is also low in comparison to Kraft and Hershey’s with both about ten times more visitors on average. Is this trouble for Wrigley and Mars, or is it simply a reflection of their slightly varied target industries? As stated above, Wrigley’s supplies non-chocolate confectionery sugar food while Mars offers a wider variety of items including chocolate, food, drinks, and even pet care and symbioscience. Kraft on the other hand does both; their notable non-chocolate ventures include Dentyne, Stride, Trident, Sour Patch, and Halls, while they also supply a variety of foods and drinks. Hershey’s, similar to Mars, is best known for their chocolate brands yet also supplies non-chocolate candies such as Twizzlers, Ice Breakers, Jolly Ranchers and Bubble Yum.

With such a variety of candy and gum brands under Wrigley’s name, I was curious to see what keywords drive the most traffic to Wrigley.com and whether the list included mostly branded or unbranded keywords. To take a look at this, I used Compete PRO’s search referral data below:

Daily Search Referrals to Wrigley.com

From the daily search referral data from 04/06/2012 – 07/05/2012, it is clear that Wrigley’s strategy does not include bidding on keywords. However, the majority of keywords are in fact branded, with seven being products of Wrigley’s, and two simply being variations of the company name. Surprisingly, the keyword “skittles” is Wrigley’s top keyword as it represents 15.08% of Wrigley.com’s incoming traffic over the past 90 day range – 100% being from natural share. As seen above, this keyword is not only ahead of the branded gum keywords for which Wrigley may be better known (hubba bubba and 5 gum), but it is even driving over 10% more traffic than the paid keyword “Wrigley juicy fruit gum.”

Do you think Wrigley should pay for more keywords in order to increase their visibility online? If so, do you feel it is best to focus on branded or generic keywords?

About Melissa Smith:
Melissa comes to Compete to work in the Sales department as a Business Development Intern. Melissa is currently a student within the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst studying Marketing. Find Melissa on Twitter @melissas6492 or connect with her on LinkedIn.