Americans Readying for Summer Online; Travel, Movies and Weather Categories Heating Up

Comscore Media Metrix Announces Top 50 U.S. Internet Property Rankings for May 2004

RESTON, Va., June 18, 2004 – If online activity in May is any indication, Americans are clearly ready for summer. Half of the top ten gaining categories in May were travel related, while the Movies and Weather categories also saw double-digit increases between April and May. These were among the findings of this month’s Internet traffic analysis, released today by Comscore Media Metrix.

Highlights of online behavior in May 2004 include:

  • Major online travel agents, including Orbitz.com, Hotels.com and Priceline.com; car rental supplier sites, such as Enterprise, Budget and Hertz; and cruise sites, including RoyalCaribbean.com and HollandAmerica.com, benefited from Memorial Day and summer travel planning.
  • Mother’s Day helped drive jewelry, fragrance and flowers sites up in May. Ashford.com, BlueNile.com, 1-800-Flowers and Sephora.com were among the top gaining sites.
  • Significant gains at WeatherBug and Accuweather helped push the Weather category up 10 percent.

“Many of the largest traffic shifts in May were the result of the approach of summer,” said Peter Daboll, president and CEO of Comscore Media Metrix. “Travel sites were among the greatest beneficiaries, with major seasonal increases at travel agency, car rental and cruise sites.”

Travel Categories Claim Five of the Ten Spots in the Top Gaining Categories Ranking
In May, the Ground/Cruise category jumped 14 percent, the largest increase of the five Travel subcategories that made this month’s list (see Table 1). The gain was primarily the result of an 85-percent increase in visitors to RoyalCaribbean.com and a 31-percent increase in traffic to HollandAmerica.com.

As consumers geared up for Memorial Day and summer travel, Enterprise, Budget, Dollar and Hertz all saw double-digit increases in visitation between April and May. As a result, the Car Rental category posted a 10-percent increase in visitors, placing it at number 5 in the top 10 gaining categories. Interest in spring and summer travel also helped land Hotels.com and Orbitz.com in the top ten gaining properties, with increase of 34 and 25 percent, respectively. Increases at these two properties, combined with gains at Trip Network, AOL Travel and Priceline.com, pushed the Online Travel Agents category up 10 percent and Travel-Transactions category up 5 percent.

Mother’s Day Boosts Jewelry, Fragrance and Flowers Sites
Mother’s Day helped drive a 54-percent increase in visitors to 1-800-Flowers from April to May, making the site the top gaining property this month (see Table 2). Gift shopping was also a key factor in increases at two of the top ten gaining categories in May: Jewelry/Luxury Goods/Accessories and Fragrances/Cosmetics.

Ashford.com led the Jewelry/Luxury Goods/Accessories with an increase in visitation of 142 percent, while BlueNile and Fossil also saw impressive month-over-month gains (93 and 44 percent, respectively). Consumers searching for another staple Mother’s Day gift, perfume, helped push the Fragrances/Cosmetics category up 9 percent in May. Growth leaders included Sephora.com (up 40 percent), FragranceNet.com (up 26 percent) and Avon (up 10 percent).

Weather Sites Heat up as Summer Approaches
Traffic to the Weather category increased by 10 percent as Americans anxiously tracked the approach of warmer temperatures. WeatherBug saw the largest gain, 36 percent, supported in part by a partnership with AOL Instant Messenger. Additionally, Accuweather.com took the number 7 spot in the top gaining properties ranking with a 27-percent increase in traffic from April to May.

Online Promotions Drive Traffic Spikes at a Broad Range of Sites
Comscore Media Metrix research continues to show the success of online promotions in impacting consumer behavior. Highlights of this month’s promotional activity include:

  • A free trial offer at Ancestry.com helped MyFamily Network post a 31-percent increase in visitors.
  • Increased interest in and promotion of movie and music clubs contributed to increases at ColumbiaHouse Sites and BeMusic Sites. The promotional increase at ColumbiaHouse Sites was the key driver behind a 43-percent jump in traffic to the Entertainment-Movies category, making it the top gaining property in May. 
  • A partnership between Sierra Mist and Shrek 2 pushed PepsiCo up 36 percent. SierraMist.com hosted the Shrek 2 movie trailer and featured a sweepstakes, the pages for which were among the most popular on the site. 
  • Upromise.com shot up 49 percent from April to May, making it the number 2 spot on the top gaining property ranking. The early-May launch of a major promotional partnership with AOL was likely a key factor in this traffic increase.

Top 50 Properties
Through a May promotion for a free trial at Ancestry.com, MyFamily Network climbed 18 spots and entered the Top 50 at number 37 (see Table 3). Target Corporation also entered the Top 50, moving 3 spots to number 48. Of the properties in both the April and May Top 50 rankings, Weatherbug.com Property and Orbitz.com posted the largest moves. With a gain of more than 4.7 million visitors, Weatherbug.com Property jumped 20 spots to number 18, largely as a result of a bundling partnership with AOL Instant Messenger. Summer and Memorial Day travel helped boost Orbitz.com 13 spots to number 21.

Top 50 Ad Focus Ranking
Comscore Media Metrix’s ranking of advertising-supported media brands includes media properties, such as Yahoo! and MSN, as well as advertising networks, such as Advertising.com and MaxOnline. Instead of focusing on corporate ownership, this reporting is designed to mirror the manner in which advertising is actually packaged and sold. With this ranking, media planners and buyers can readily evaluate interactive marketing options on an equal footing.

Advertising.com used a 5-percent increase in unique visitors to move from the second spot in April’s Ad Focus ranking to the top spot in May’s ranking (see Table 4). The composition and rank order of the rest of the top 10 remained static from May to April. With the addition of Moviefone and AOL Games to its hierarchy, AOL Entertainment gained over 6 million unique visitors from April to May to jump 24 spots and move into the top 50 at number 31. Additionally, Yahoo! Get Local saw almost 1 million more visitors in May than in April, helping it climb 8 spots in the Ad Focus ranking to number 43.

TABLE 1

Top Ten Gaining Categories by Unique Visitors
May 2004 vs. April 2004
Total U.S. Home, Work and University Internet Users
Source: Comscore Media Metrix
  Apr-04
(000)
May-04(000) Percentage Change
Total Internet Users 155,130 156,313 1%
Retail-Movies 15,567 22,323 43%
Hobbies/Lifestyles-Genealogy 11,133 14,104 27%
Travel-Ground/Cruise 6,949 7,913 14%
Retail-Jewelry/Luxury Goods/Accessories 8,415 9,476 13%
Travel-Car Rental 4,659 5,125 10%
Travel-Online Travel Agents 43,892 48,268 10%
Weather 44,712 49,133 10%
Retail-Fragrances/Cosmetics 9,053 9,855 9%
Travel-Information 33,644 35,549 6%
Travel-Transactions 48,545 51,186 5%

TABLE 2

Top Ten Gaining Properties by Percentage Change in Unique Visitors*
May 2004 vs. April 2004
Total U.S. Home, Work and University Internet Users
Source: Comscore Media Metrix
Property Apr-04
(000)
May-04
(000)
Percentage
Change
Rank by
Unique Visitors
Total Internet Users 155,130 156,313 1% N/A
1-800-Flowers 1,668 2,570 54% 249
UPROMISE.COM 2,664 3,980 49% 167
Weatherbug.com Property 13,022 17,730 36% 18
PepsiCo. 2,292 3,122 36% 209
Hotels.com Sites 7,085 9,462 34% 52
MyFamily Network 9,889 12,941 31% 37
ACCUWEATHER.COM 3,148 4,012 27% 165
ORBITZ.COM 13,768 17,251 25% 21
Columbia House Sites 7,432 9,220 24% 56
BeMusic Sites 4,808 5,614 17% 116

*Ranking based on the top 250 properties in May

TABLE 3

Top 50 Properties
May 2004
Total U.S. - Home, Work and University Locations
Unique Visitors (000)
Source: Comscore Media Metrix
Rank Property Unique Visitors
(000)
  Rank Property Unique Visitors (000)
  Total Internet Users 156,313        
1 Yahoo! Sites 112,879   26 Gannett Sites 14,875
2 Time Warner Network 111,855   27 EA Online 14,827
3 MSN-Microsoft Sites 110,883   28 eUniverse Network 14,770
4 Google Sites 66,507   29 AT&T Properties 14,719
5 eBay 59,728   30 Wal-Mart 14,152
6 About/Primedia 37,519   31 Tickle, Inc. 14,048
7 Terra Lycos 36,773   32 News Corp. Online 13,577
8 Amazon Sites 35,477   33 InfoSpace Network 13,406
9 Viacom Online 30,118   34 Classmates.com Sites 13,339
10 Excite Network 26,733   35 Trip Network Inc. 13,243
11 Weather Channel, The 24,983   36 AmericanGreetings Property 13,170
12 Walt Disney Internet Group (WDIG) 23,047   37 MyFamily Network 12,941
13 Verizon Communications Corporation 22,876   38 CareerBuilder LLC 12,878
14 Symantec 21,734   39 Comcast Corporation 12,581
15 Real.com Network 21,642   40 Sony Online 11,960
16 CNET Networks 21,254   41 Bank of America 11,883
17 Expedia Travel 17,752   42 Cox Enterprises Inc. 11,763
18 Weatherbug.com Property 17,730   43 United Online, Inc 11,702
19 Monster 17,624   44 Earthlink 11,534
20 iVillage.com: The Womens Network 17,459   45 Travelocity 10,964
21 ORBITZ.COM 17,251   46 Vivendi-Universal Sites 10,271
22 SBC Communications 17,124   47 Apple Computer, Inc. 10,170
23 Shopping.com Sites 16,869   48 Target Corporation 10,081
24 Ask Jeeves 15,728   49 Dell 10,019
25 Gorilla Nation Media 15,639   50 Hewlett Packard 9,721

TABLE 4
 

Ad Focus Ranking
Unique Visitors (000)
Total U.S. - Home, Work and University Locations
May 2004
Source: Comscore Media Metrix
Rank Property Unique Visitors
(000)
Reach %   Rank Property Unique Visitors (000) Reach %
  Total Internet Users 156,313 100%          
1 Advertising.com** 110,913 71%   26 AIM.COM/AIM App 31,291 20%
2 Yahoo! 110,209 71%   27 EBAY.COM Home Page 31,122 20%
3 MSN 98,836 63%   28 Yahoo! Geocities 29,223 19%
4 AOL 86,890 56%   29 GATOR (App) 29,108 19%
5 YAHOO.COM Home Page 73,600 47%   30 Excite Network 26,733 17%
6 GOOGLE.COM 64,780 41%   31 AOL Entertainment 26,487 17%
7 Google Web Search 61,726 40%   32 AIMTODAY.COM 25,759 17%
8 Yahoo! Search 59,053 38%   33 AOL Instant Message 25,049 16%
9 Yahoo! Mail 54,347 35%   34 My Yahoo! 24,583 16%
10 MSN.COM Home Page 52,539 34%   35 MSN Messenger Service 24,120 15%
11 MSN Search 49,757 32%   36 WindowsMedia 24,065 15%
12 MaxOnline** 48,041 31%   37 WEATHER.COM 23,782 15%
13 AOL Email 47,720 31%   38 AOL Instant Messenger (App) 23,762 15%
14 AOL (APP) 47,285 30%   39 Yahoo! News 23,747 15%
15 MSN Hotmail 47,089 30%   40 AOL News 23,212 15%
16 Tribal Fusion** 44,358 28%   41 AOL Screenname 22,938 15%
17 AOL Prop Email 43,039 28%   42 WINDOWSMEDIA.COM 22,479 14%
18 MaxOnline Network** 42,533 27%   43 Yahoo! Get Local 21,209 14%
19 24/7 Real Media** 41,447 27%   44 Yahoo! Messenger 21,153 14%
20 BURST! Media** 37,316 24%   45 Real.com Media Sites 20,915 13%
21 AOL Search 35,233 23%   46 CNN 20,783 13%
22 Lycos 34,603 22%   47 ABOUT.COM 20,400 13%
23 AOL Prop Search 34,019 22%   48 GATOR.COM 20,075 13%
24 MAPQUEST.COM 33,047 21%   49 Gator Sites 20,075 13%
25 Claria 32,412 21%   50 Yahoo! Messenger (App) 19,579 13%

About Comscore Media Metrix
Comscore 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 Networks
Comscore Networks provides unparalleled insight into consumer behavior and attitudes. This capability is based on a massive, global cross-section of more than 1.5 million consumers who have given Comscore explicit permission to confidentially capture their browsing and transaction behavior, including online and offline purchasing. Comscore panelists also participate in survey research that captures and integrates their attitudes and intentions. Through its patent-pending technology Comscore measures what matters across a broad spectrum of behavior and attitudes. Comscore consultants apply this deep knowledge of customers and competitors to help clients design powerful marketing strategies and tactics that deliver superior ROI. Comscore services are used by global leaders such as Microsoft, Verizon, Best Buy, The Newspaper Association of America, Knight Ridder Digital, Nestlé, Wells Fargo & Company, GlaxoSmithKline, and Orbitz. For more information, please visit www.comscore.com.

Contact:
Andrew Lipsman
Comscore, Inc.
+1 312 775 6510
press@comscore.com



 

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