The State of Social Media
April Comscore Media Metrix Rankings Reveal Impact of Holidays, Sporting Events and College Preparation on Web Behavior
RESTON, VA, May 18, 2005 – Comscore Media Metrix today released its monthly analysis of consumer activity at top online properties and categories. In April, annual spring events, such as Mother’s Day, the opening of the baseball season, and the approaching end of the school year generated traffic increases for a number of properties across a variety of categories.
“As temperatures began to rise across the country, Americans turned to the Web to plan for important spring rituals,” commented Peter Daboll, president and CEO of Comscore Media Metrix. “A number of sites associated with spring events, such as Mother’s Day, school graduation ceremonies and baseball’s opening day, saw significant increases in traffic.”
Mother’s Day Adds Sparkle to Online Jewelry RetailersConsumers flocked to online stores to purchase gifts in preparation for Mother’s Day, making Jewelry, Luxury Goods & Accessories the top-gaining category in April with a 19-percent increase in unique visitors over March (see table 2). Comscore e-commerce research further reported that online spending in the Jewelry & Watches category reached $24.6 million for the week ending April 24 and then increased 13 percent to $27.8 million for the week ending May 1, just one week before Mother’s Day.
Americans Seek Updated Messenger, E-Mail ServicesE-mail and instant messenger programs soared in April as popular online communication tools were updated and heavily promoted. Microsoft released a new version of its MSN Messenger program, resulting in a 24-percent increase in unique visitors over March. Meanwhile, Google’s Gmail recorded the highest traffic level measured since its inception, with more than 3.5 million unique visitors during the month. Despite its rapid growth, Gmail still faces steep competition from Yahoo! Mail and MSN Hotmail, which drew 64 million and 43 million users respectively.
Music Downloading Services Battle for SupremacyExtraordinary holiday sales of Apple’s iPod digital music player began to take full effect in April as music downloading services jockeyed for position in this rapidly growing market. MP3.com saw its visitation rise 51 percent following a massive campaign to promote its music store and assure customers that its music was compatible with the iPod. Adding fuel to the fire was RealNetworks, which announced a product update for its Rhapsody music subscription service.
NFL Draft Day, MLB Opening Day Knock Sports Site Traffic Out of the ParkThe start of the Major League Baseball season and the National Football League Draft bolstered traffic in the Sports category. In fact, MLB.com was the top gaining property in April (see table 1) on the strength of a 63-percent increase over March to more than 11.2 million unique visitors. Meanwhile, the 2005 NFL Draft, held on April 23-24, was one of the most watched in the league’s history. During the two-day draft session, NFL Internet Group sites recorded both a 13-percent increase in unique visitors and an 18-percent rise in page views over the 2004 Draft.
Students Turn to the Web as They Look to the FutureAs both high school and college graduates plan for life ahead, visitation in the Career Services - Training & Education category reached 8.1 million. The category’s top site was CollegeBoard.com with 2.2 million visitors in April, an 18-percent increase over March. The organization offers information on member universities and administers the SAT and Advanced Placement programs. Other players in the Training & Education category include FastWeb with two million visitors in April and PrincetonReview.com, which saw an 18-percent spike in visitation during the month.
Comscore Media Metrix Launches Photos CategoryThe proliferation of digital cameras among American consumers has resulted in growing popularity of sites that allow consumers to manage, share and print their digital images. With the release of April data, Comscore launched the Photos category to track such sites. More than 43 million consumers, a quarter of all Internet users, visited Photos category sites in April.
Top 50 PropertiesThe top 10 properties remained the same in April as in March, except for Monster Worldwide, which attracted 1.3 million more visitors and moved five spots to number 10 (see table 3). With its acquisition of About.com, traffic to New York Times Digital skyrocketed from 8.7 million unique visitors in March to nearly 30 million visitors in April. As a result, the property jumped 74 spots to finish at number 11 in April’s Top 50 Properties.
Among sites in both the March and April Top 50 Properties, Ticketmaster had the largest jump, as 13.8 million Americans turned to the site, primarily to research and purchase summer concert and sports tickets. In total, Ticketmaster has risen an impressive 12 spots over the past two months. Finally, a six-percent increase in visitation to Classmates.com Sites drove a corresponding five-spot spike to number 32 in April.
Top 50 Ad Focus RankingAdvertising.com again finished atop the Ad Focus Ranking in April by reaching 78 percent of all Americans online (see table 4), completing 12 consecutive months at number one. Yahoo! and Fastclick each reached 70 percent of the U.S. online audience to finish at number two and three, respectively.
MLB.com had the largest gain of any ranked Ad Focus entity, as the start of the Major League Baseball season spurred a 63-percent month-over-month gain in visitation, which translated into a 30-spot climb to number 48. Finally, Myspace.com continued its upward trend, with an increase in visitation of 19 percent. This translated into an 8-spot gain, landing Myspace.com in the Ad Focus ranking for the first time, finishing at number 44.
*Ranking based on the top 250 properties in April
Reach % denotes the percentage of the total Internet population that views a particular entity at least once in April. For instance, Yahoo! was seen by 70 percent of the over 164 million Internet users in April. The notation “**”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 AOL, Yahoo!, Verizon, Best Buy, The Newspaper Association of America, Tribune Interactive, ESPN, Nestlé, Bank of America, Universal McCann, the United States Postal Service, GlaxoSmithKline and Orbitz. For more information, please visit www.comscore.com.
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