Rising Interest Rates, Travel and Fahrenheit 9/11 Heat Up the Web in June
RESTON, Va., July 16, 2004 – Comscore Media Metrix today released its monthly analysis of consumer Internet behavior. The analysis revealed that this summer’s surprise blockbuster, Fahrenheit 9/11, was a significant contributor to increases at a number of major online content categories. Many of this month’s other traffic increases were a result of summer rituals, such as concerts and sporting events, vacations and dieting, as well as non-seasonal events, including rising interest rates and corporate acquisitions.
In addition, Comscore Media Metrix announced a number of significant enhancements to its reporting of the Careers category. These enhancements, developed through extensive collaboration with clients, offer a more granular and commercially relevant view of activity in this highly competitive category.
Highlights of online behavior in June include:
“Travel sites once again posted traditional seasonal gains in June,” said Peter Daboll, president and CEO of Comscore Media Metrix. “Americans also turned to the Web to help them closer to home, seeking content related to other summer-centric topics such as movies, music, sporting events and food.”
For the second month in a row, both the Travel-Car Rental and Travel-Ground/Cruises categories were among the top ten gaining categories (see table 1). Within the Car Rental segment, Thrifty.com, Hertz.com, Avis.com, Dollar.com and Alamo.com all saw increases in unique visitors of at least ten percent between May and June. In Ground/Cruises, summer travelers drove increases at Amtrak.com, Greyhound Lines and many top cruise providers’ sites. In addition, traffic to United Airlines and Priceline.com jumped by 45 and 39 percent, respectively, landing these two sites among the top ten gaining properties in June (see table 2).
Fahrenheit 9/11, Spiderman 2, summer concerts and sporting events all contributed to a 12-percent increase in unique visitors to the Retail-Tickets category. Nearly every site in the category, including Moviefone, Fandango and Tickets.com, recorded double-digit traffic increases between May and June. Continued interest in music and movie clubs at Columbia House and BMG Music helped push the Retail-Music and Retail-Movies categories up by 17 and 10 percent, respectively.
The search for summer recipes was behind substantial gains at a number of top food-related sites. A 37-percent increase at KraftFoods.com helped push the Hobbies/Lifestyles-Food category up 11 percent. And with grilling season in full swing, OmahaSteaks.com and Cooking.com posted 34- and 41-percent increases, respectively, and helped drive the Retail-Food category up 14 percent. Another warm-weather ritual, the summer diet, helped the Health-Information category round out the top ten gaining categories with a monthly increase of 10 percent.
A string of corporate acquisitions was behind some the largest traffic increases this month. Ask Jeeves acquired Interactive Search Holdings, adding a number of major Web destinations to its portfolio, including MyWay, iWon, Excite and MySearch. As a result, Ask Jeeves reached 39 million unique visitors in June, an increase of 150 percent versus the prior month. Monster Worldwide’s purchase of social networking resource Tickle resulted in a 58-percent increase in traffic. The acquisition of Internet yellow pages site Switchboard helped InfoSpace draw a 44-percent increase in visitors.
Speculation about an increase in interest rates was likely behind an 11-percent increase in traffic to the Financial Information/Advice category. AmeriquestMortgage.com led the way with a 40-percent jump, landing it among the top ten gaining properties this month. Other top gainers included LendingTree.com (28 percent increase) and BankRate.com (22 percent).
Top 50 PropertiesTwo properties entered the top 10 properties this month (see table 3). Through its acquisition of Interactive Search Holdings, Ask Jeeves jumped 18 spots to assume the number 6 ranking. Monster Worldwide changed its name from “Monster” and acquired Tickle, Inc., which propelled it nine spots to the number 10 ranking in June. Infospace Network’s acquisition of Switchboard Networks boosted the property 13 spots to land at the number 20 ranking.
Sony Online and United Online, Inc. each jumped eight places from May to June. Traffic spikes at new online music service Sony Connect and the excitement surrounding Spiderman 2 content sent Sony Online flying high into the number 32 position, while United Online turned up promotional support for NetZero and took the number 25 position. Columbia House Sites, Priceline.com and Hotels.com Sites all entered the Top 50 in June.
Comscore Announces Enhancements to Careers Category TrackingThe highly competitive online career services sector has seen tremendous growth in the past year. In June 2004, nearly 47 million Americans visited the category, an increase of almost 50 percent versus 32 million in June 2003.
With the release of June data, Comscore announced a number of significant enhancements to its reporting of the Careers category. These changes allow Careers sites to be evaluated on a more level playing field, with increased granularity and commercial relevance.
The newly named Career Services and Development category will include sites that provide information and services related to finding a job or changing, developing or advancing one’s career and will be broken into the following subcategories:
*Ranking based on the top 250 properties in June
**Indicates that the 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 and attitudes. This capability is based on a massive, global cross-section of more than 2 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.
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