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Paid Search Has Only Slight Edge in Conversion Rates Over Organic Search, According to New WebSideStory Study

SAN DIEGO, September 25 /PRNewswire/ --

- Online Marketers Should Continue to Invest in Both Channels for Maximum Results

WebSideStory, Inc. (Nasdaq: WSSI), a leading provider of digital marketing and analytics solutions, today announced the results of a new study that shows paid search has only a slight 9 percent edge in conversion rates over organic search. In a study of leading business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce sites during the first eight months of this year, paid search -- keywords bought on a pay-per-click basis at search engines such as Google, Yahoo and MSN -- had a median order conversion rate of 3.40 percent at business-to-consumer e-commerce sites using the company's award-winning HBX Analytics technology. This compared to a conversion rate of 3.13 percent for organic search results, defined as non-paid or natural search engine listings, during the same January-to-August timeframe, according to the WebSideStory Index, a compilation of e-commerce, site search and gloobal Internet user trends. The study analyzed more than 57 million search engine visits. Order conversions occurred during the same session.

"For both paid and organic search, you have highly qualified traffic that converts far above the overall conversion rate of about 2 percent for most e-commerce sites," said Ali Behnam, Senior Digital Marketing Consultant for WebSideStory. "In the case of paid search, marketers have better control over the environment, including the message, the landing page and the ability to eliminate low-converting keywords."

"There is a strong synergy between paid and organic search. The bottom line is that marketers need to optimize both to achieve maximum results," said Heather Lloyd-Martin, an author and the President and CEO of SuccessWorks (www.searchenginewriting.com), a search engine optimization firm. Lloyd-Martin is also Chair of the Direct Marketing Association's Search Engine Marketing Council.

"With conversion rates 50 percent or higher than overall site conversion rates, both paid and organic search remain a very important acquisition source for online marketers," Behnam said. "However, it is important to note that these are not typical results. Our clients are steeped in web analytics best practices and understand better than most how to truly optimize their search engine marketing campaigns and conversion rates."

HBX Analytics is an award-winning on-demand web analytics solution providing actionable analysis of online visitor and customer behavior. HBX Analytics is part of the WebSideStory suite of integrated, on-demand digital marketing services, including web analytics, site search, web content management and keyword bid management. More than 1,500 enterprises worldwide use one or more applications within the suite. For more information, please visit www.websidestory.com.

    
    Paid v. Organic Search
    Median Order Conversion Rates at Business to Consumer E-Commerce Sites
    Jan.-Aug. 2006

    Marketing Channel                 Conversion Rate
    Paid Search                       3.40%
    Organic Search                    3.13%

Sample Size and Methodology: More than 57 million search engine visits to nearly 20 major business-to-consumer e-commerce sites using WebSideStory's on-demand web analytics technology. These sites generate an estimated US$2.5 billion per year in online sales. Order conversions occurred during the same sessions.

About WebSideStory, Inc.

Founded in 1996, WebSideStory, Inc. is a leading provider of digital marketing and analytics solutions that improve online marketing, sales and business operations. The WebSideStory suite of integrated, on-demand digital marketing applications consists of web analytics, site search, web content management, and keyword bid management. WebSideStory also provides enterprise analytics solutions through its wholly owned subsidiary, Visual Sciences, LLC, a leading provider of streaming data analysis and visualization software. WebSideStory is headquartered in San Diego, California, and has European headquarters in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. To contact WebSideStory in Europe: Voice: +31-(0)-23-554-10-10. Fax: +31-(0)-23-554-10-11. Address: Neptunusstraat 23, 2132 JA Hoofddorp, Netherlands. Web site: www.WebSideStory.com. WebSideStory is a registered trademark of WebSideStory. Visual Sciences is a registered trademark of Visual Sciences, LLC. Other trademarks belong to their respective owners.

Forward-Looking Statements

Statements in this press release that are not a description of historical facts are forward-looking statements. You should not regard any forward-looking statement as a representation by WebSideStory that any of its plans will be achieved. Actual results may differ materially from those set forth in this release due to the risks and uncertainties inherent in WebSideStory's business, including, without limitation: WebSideStory's reliance on its web analytics services for the majority of its revenue; blocking or erasing of cookies or limitations on our ability to use cookies; WebSideStory's limited experience with digital marketing applications beyond web analytics; the risks associated with integrating the operations and products of Avivo Corporation and Visual Sciences, LLC with those of WebSideStory; privacy concerns and laws or other domestic or foreign regulations that may subject WebSideStory to litigation or limit our ability to collect and use Internet user information; WebSideStory's ability to defend itself against claims of patent infringement alleged by NetRatings, Inc.; WebSideStory's ongoing ability to protect its own intellectual property rights and to avoid violating the intellectual property rights of third parties; the highly competitive markets in which we operate that could make it difficult for WebSideStory to acquire and retain customers; the risk that WebSideStory's customers fail to renew their agreements; the risks associated with the company's indebtedness; the risk that WebSideStory's services may become obsolete in a market with rapidly changing technology and industry standards; and other risks described in WebSideStory's Securities and Exchange Commission filings, including WebSideStory's annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2005 and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q. Do not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements which speak only as of the date of this news release. All forward-looking statements are qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement, and WebSideStory undertakes no obligation to revise or update this news release to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this news release.

Web site: http://www.websidestory.com

SOURCE WebSideStory, Inc.



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