The State of Social Media
Consumers Turn to the Web to Help Plan Vacations, Parties, Outdoor Activities and Other Summer Rituals
RESTON, VA, July 19, 2005 – Comscore Media Metrix today released its monthly analysis of consumer activity at the top online properties and categories. In June, General Motors’ new financing option and other highly publicized promotions helped automotive manufacturers drive significant traffic increases compared to last year. Additionally, Web traffic paralleled seasonal behavior as Americans sought travel, sporting and cooking information to help them kick off the summer.
“The Web has long offered automakers a dynamic and effective marketing channel while providing consumers with a critical source of information,” said Peter Daboll, president of Comscore Media Metrix. “In June, consumers also turned to the Web with more traditional pursuits in mind, such as planning summer vacations, meals and outdoor activities.”
Automakers Entice Consumers with Deep DiscountsGeneral Motors’ “Employee Discount” financing promotion helped the automaker retain its top spot in the category with 8.5 million visitors to its brand sites in June – a seven-percent increase in traffic compared to May and a 60-percent increase compared to last year. More than 3.5 million people visited GM.com alone, an increase of 29 percent versus last month.
MitsubishiCars.com saw a massive traffic spike in June, increasing 259 percent to 1.2 million visitors thanks to an interactive advertisement for its latest Eclipse model. The ad allowed users to experience the new model by virtually test driving it using their keyboards. Meanwhile, traffic to DaimlerChrysler jumped 17 percent between May and June due in part to the buzz surrounding the release of its new Dodge Charger model.
Summer Travel Fever Sweeps the WebJune’s warm weather and vacation time propelled visitation to a number of travel sites and subcategories (see Table 2). Online travel spending reached $5.1 billion in June 2005, up 25 percent over June 2004. Hotels and Resorts was the strongest subcategory, growing nine percent to 34.9 million visitors in June. InterContinental Hotels Group and Marriott were among the Web’s highest-gaining properties for June, with 21- and 18-percent visitation gains, respectively (see Table 1). The Ground/Cruise subcategory gained five percent, climbing to 10.6 million visitors as Carnival Cruises led the category with 2.1 million visitors.
Short trips associated with summertime, such as those taken during the 4th of July weekend, drove increases at Maps category sites. The four-percent increase in the Maps category was led by MapQuest (45.7 million visitors, five-percent gain), Yahoo! Maps (21.3 million visitors, five-percent gain) and MSN MapPoint (5 million visitors, eight-percent gain). Many Americans also turned to car rental sites to help plan their trips. Traffic to the category increased by five percent to reach 6.9 million visitors on the heels of eight-percent growth in May.
Hot Properties Continue To SizzleAmerica’s continued fascination with the rich and famous helped Forbes become the highest-gaining property for June. The release of the Forbes’ “Celebrity 100” list of the top-paid personalities garnered significant attention, boosting the property’s traffic by 28 percent to 6.4 million visitors. Meanwhile, online photo site Snapfish saw the second-highest visitation gain – up 27 percent to 3.6 million visitors – thanks to a price cut for photo printing. In addition, Mozilla.org ranked as the third highest-gaining property in June with 5.8 million visitors, up 21 percent from May. Mozilla’s increasingly popular Firefox Web browser, released a security update and was named PC World magazine’s “2005 Product of the Year” in June. Continuing with the technology trend, Vonage Holdings Corp saw traffic to its site climb 17 percent with the help of a promotion offering the first month of its Internet telephone service for free.
Web Users Seek the Great OutdoorsSummer leisure and sports interest helped make Retail - Sports/Outdoors the second-highest gaining category in June, rising nine percent to 20.2 million visitors. Retailers who sell gear associated with water sports saw major gains. Swimming wear and equipment seller SwimOutlet.com was a standout, growing by 53-percent in June. GSI Network was among the Internet’s top-gaining properties in terms of traffic, climbing 18 percent to 5.3 million visitors. A number of GSI’s sporting goods sites drew significant increases, including MCSports (up 65 percent), Modell’s (up 53 percent) and Dick’s Sporting Goods (up 25 percent). Other hunting and fishing sites such as Cabela’s Inc. (up 17 percent) and Bass Pro Shops (8 percent) also saw traffic gains.
Gay Pride Celebrations Reflected in Traffic IncreasesTraffic to sites with Gay and Lesbian content jumped ten percent in June to 1.6 million visitors as gay pride was celebrated with parades and festivals in several major cities across the country in June. The top property in the category in June was PlanetOut with 1 million visitors, recording a traffic increase of 12 percent compared to May. The property is a network of sites, including Gay.com and Out & About Travel, which contains gay and lesbian content related to everything from news & politics to entertainment to personals ads.
BBQ Nation Turns to the Web for Grilling Guidance Americans turned to the Web for grilling tips in June as summertime gatherings went into full swing. The Food category reached 33.2 million visitors in June, up five percent over May. AOL Food saw its traffic soar by 46 percent to reach 2.4 million, primarily due to heavy traffic to its extensive grilling content. Meanwhile, McDonald’s enjoyed a 24-percent increase in traffic to its site as consumers flocked to the Happy Meal page to enter the “Extreme Dream” sweepstakes where kids can win $5,000 towards the remodeling of their bedrooms.
Top 50 PropertiesIn June, Time Warner Network drew 700,000 more visitors to assume the top spot in the Top 50 Properties (see Table 3). The rest of the top five properties remained the same compared to the previous month, while Verizon Communications Corporation moved up a spot to claim the number ten position.
Dell utilized heavy promotional activity to attract 20 percent more visitors in June than in May and move 13 spots from number 58 to number 45. Sony Online jumped seven spots to number 43 in June, spurred by traffic for the Lords of Dogtown movie. Summer travel provided a seven-percent jolt to Travelocity, which moved six spots to number 35 in June.
June was also a busy sports month, including the NBA Finals, the NBA Draft, the U.S. Open and Wimbledon. As a result, ESPN gained 900,000 visitors and five spots to finish in June’s number 40 position. Finally, Sears Sites and Adobe Sites each gained five positions to finish June at number 42 and number 49, respectively.
Top 50 Ad Focus RankingIn June, for the 14th consecutive month, Advertising.com finished atop the Ad Focus Ranking by reaching 78 percent of all Americans online (see Table 4). Yahoo! reached 70 percent of the U.S. online audience to finish at number two, and Fastclick reached 68 percent to finish at number three. AOL Media Network debuted in the Ad Focus Ranking at number four, reaching 67 percent of all online Americans.
All the sports activity in June helped ESPN secure the largest gain in the Top 50 Ad Focus entities; the three-spot climb moved ESPN to June’s number 41. Gorilla Nation Media debuted in the Ad Focus Ranking in June, reaching 25.8 million Americans and finishing at number 24. Finally, Disney Online attracted 1.6 million more visitors in June than in May, finishing the month in the number 30 position in the Ad Focus Ranking.
*Ranking based on the top 250 properties in June
Reach % denotes the percentage of the total Internet population that views a particular entity at least once in June. For instance, Yahoo! was seen by 70 percent of the over 166 million Internet users in June. 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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