On America’s Mind in January: Taxes, Politics and Diets
RESTON, Va. Feb. 17, 2004 – Comscore Media Metrix today announced the Top 50 U.S. Internet Properties for the month of January 2004. In January, the total U.S. Internet population totaled 152.4 million users who spent an average of 28.9 hours online, an increase of 5 percent versus December. In January, tax, politics, diet and travel sites dominated the top-gaining properties and categories.
“Consumer behavior followed patterns that we’ve seen for several years and have come to expect, reflecting the official kickoff of the tax season and the unofficial start of the diet season,” said Peter Daboll, president and CEO of Comscore Media Metrix. “But we also saw the effects of the Democratic primaries and unique news events, underscoring the degree to which the Web has become a natural extension and barometer of everyday life.”
Top 50 PropertiesSix properties entered the Comscore Media Metrix Top 50 Properties in January (see table 1). New partnerships with AOL and MSN helped CareerBuilder add 8 million unique visitors in January, propelling it nearly 60 spots to the number 25 position. Partly driven by travel industry seasonality, Travelocity and Trip Network joined market leaders Expedia and Orbitz in January’s Top 50. Other entrants to the Top 50 included E.W. Scripps, Adobe Sites and the MyFamily Network.
Of the properties in both the December and January Top 50 rankings, Gorilla Nation Media saw the largest gain, adding more than 4 million unique visitors to its network in January, primarily though the acquisition of CheatPlanet.com traffic. Other big gainers included Expedia, Orbitz and Gannett Sites, which moved up 16, 13 and 9 spots, respectively.
Tax, Politics and Diet Sites Dominate the Top Gaining Properties and CategoriesThis month, the top-gaining categories and properties were driven upward by a number of factors, including the kickoff of the tax season, the Democratic primaries and the close of the December holidays.
With W2 forms finding their way to millions of American mailboxes, it is no surprise that the Taxes category was the top gainer in January (see table 2). The category grew by 166 percent versus December and 9 percent versus year-ago levels. IRS.gov nearly tripled versus December to 10.5 million unique visitors as citizens braced themselves to view tax tables and schedules at the category’s largest site. HRBlock.com grew by a stunning 1,077 percent versus December, making it the month’s top gaining property (see table 3).
Recent research from Comscore Survey Solutions (see http://www.comscore.com/press/release.asp?press=414) has validated that political Web sites have a significant impact on Americans’ pre-election attitudes and behaviors. With the Democratic primary race heating up, the January Comscore Media Metrix data confirm the scale of the audience that is open to this growing online influence.
In January, the Politics category drew 14 million visitors, representing an increase of 76 percent and making it the second largest gaining category. The increase was driven by gains at all major campaign sites, as well as AOL’s launch of ElectionGuide04.com, which drew 3.8 million unique visitors in January. Although Howard Dean’s campaign took a decidedly unfavorable turn in January, 729,000 visitors to DeanforAmerica.com helped the governor continue to hold the lead among Democratic candidate Web sites. Next in line were JohnKerry.com, Clark04.com and JohnEdwards2004.com with 496,000 unique visitors, 403,000 unique visitors and 298,000 unique visitors, respectively.
Whether determined to make good on their New Year’s resolutions or just to shed a few pounds gained over the holidays, Americans continued a January tradition of visiting diet sites in droves, driving the Health-Information category up by 19 percent versus December. eDiets.com, the category leader, drew 7.9 million unique visitors, an increase of 82 percent versus December. Other diet- and fitness-focused sites also saw substantial gains, including MensHealth.com (388 percent), Weight Watchers International (116 percent) and Atkins.com (80 percent).
The Classifieds and Careers categories both benefited from the growth of two major players: CareerBuilder and HotJobs. CareerBuilder grew by 8 million visitors or 110 percent in January, largely as a result of partnerships with AOL and MSN. HotJobs saw growth of 43 percent driven primarily by its $20,000 “signing bonus” sweepstakes promotion.
Both the Hotel/Resorts and Car Rental sub-categories saw seasonal jumps in visitors from December to January, as Web users began the process of planning spring and summer travel. Fresh from spending time with family over the December holidays, 12.5 million Americans turned to the Genealogy category to research their family history, an increase of more than 21 percent versus December.
Aside from IRS.gov, two other government sites ranked among the top ten gaining properties. The Mars rover mission and President Bush’s plans to send astronauts to the moon again launched NASA.gov into orbit with 6.1 million unique visitors, an increase of more than 150 percent versus the previous month. With the No Child Left Behind Act discussed in the media and President Bush’s State of the Union address, Ed.gov, the Web site of the U.S. Department of Education, jumped 72 percent to take the number 10 position.
Top 50 Ad Focus RankingIntroduced in October 2003, Comscore Media Metrix Ad Focus reporting provides a unique ranking of top Web entities that are supported in whole or in part by online advertising.
The composition of the top ten Ad Focus entities remained constant from December to January (see table 4), and half of these entities grew at a faster pace than the total Internet population (reflected in improved levels of reach). In addition, a 2-percent bump in unique visitors pushed MaxOnline into the top five Ad Focus entities for January. Finally, interest in a series of winter storms helped propel Weather.com up five positions to number 28 in the Ad Focus ranking.
*Ranking based on the top 250 properties in January
**Indicates that this entity is an advertising network.
About Comscore Media MetrixComscore Media Metrix, a division of Comscore Networks, provides industry-leading Internet audience measurement services that report – with unmatched accuracy - details of online media usage, visitor demographics and online buying power for the home, work and university audiences across local U.S. markets and across the globe. Comscore Media Metrix continues the tradition of quality and innovation established by its Media Metrix syndicated Internet ratings - long recognized as the currency in online media measurement among financial analysts, advertising agencies, publishers and marketers - while drawing upon Comscore's advanced technologies to address important new industry requirements. All Comscore Media Metrix syndicated ratings are based on industry-sanctioned sampling methodologies.
About Comscore NetworksComscore Networks provides unparalleled insight into consumer behavior. This capability is based on a representative cross-section of more than 1.5 million global Internet users who have given Comscore explicit permission to confidentially capture their Web-wide browsing, buying and other transaction behavior, including offline purchasing. Through its patent-pending technology, Comscore measures what matters across the entire spectrum of surfing and buying behavior. This deep knowledge of customers and competitors helps clients design more powerful marketing strategies and tactics that deliver superior ROI. Comscore services are used by global leaders such as Microsoft, The Newspaper Association of America, Knight Ridder Digital, Best Buy, Verizon, Nestlé, Wells Fargo & Company, GlaxoSmithKline, and Orbitz. For more information, please visit www.comscore.com.
+1 312 775 email@example.com