The State of Social Media
Heated Healthcare Debate Drives Traffic Gains to White House and Congressional Sites
Satisfaction with Government Web Sites Good but Lags Leading Commercial Sites
RESTON, VA, September 8, 2009 – Comscore, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR), a leader in measuring the digital world, today released an overview of the government site category, which revealed that more than 81 million Americans visited government sites in July, representing 42 percent of the U.S. Internet audience.
The Department of Commerce (which includes substantial traffic at Weather.gov and the site for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA.gov) ranked as the most visited federal government Web entity in July with 7.1 million visitors, followed by Web sites for the Department of Education (ED.gov) with 7 million visitors, the National Institute of Health (NIH.gov) with 6.9 million visitors, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS.gov) with 4.2 million visitors and the Social Security Administration (SSA.gov) with 3.3 million visitors. CARS.gov, which did not even exist one year ago, garnered nearly 2.1 million visitors due to the summertime “Cash for Clunkers” incentive. WhiteHouse.gov was up 88 percent versus year ago to 1.1 million visitors, as Americans exhibited an interest in the policies and initiatives of newly elected President Barack Obama. Both branches of the legislature also showed impressive gains, with the Senate.gov up 93 percent and House.gov up 73 percent, most likely due to the current debate over healthcare reform.
*Department of Commerce includes the following government sites receiving at least 100,000 unique visitors in July: NOAA.gov, Weather.gov, Census.gov, Time.gov, NIST.gov, USPTO.gov
“The Internet has evolved into an important channel for Americans to interact with the federal government and its agencies,” said Dan Lackner, Comscore senior vice president. “On January 21, 2009, President Obama issued a directive stating that ‘Executive departments and agencies should harness new technologies to put information about their operations and decisions online and readily available to the public.’ Federal and state agencies and departments are now investing more heavily in their Web presence, making their sites more citizen-centric and easier to interact with. They are rapidly adopting and adapting best practices from the commercial sector and applying them to their own initiatives.”
Demographic Profile of Visitors to Government Category
Visitors to the government site category skew slightly towards females, individuals older than 25 and higher-income households than the average U.S. Internet user. Specifically, females were 5 percent more likely than average to visit the category, while 35-54 year olds were 20 percent more likely, and those in households earning at least $60,000 were 6 percent more likely.
*Composition Index = % Composition of Visitors to Government Category / % Composition of Total U.S. Internet Audience x 100; Index of 100 indicates average representation
Citizen Satisfaction with Government Web sites
According to a survey recently conducted by Comscore, citizens generally give good marks regarding their experience when visiting government Web sites. Customer satisfaction ratings on government sites (i.e. the percent of visitors saying they were satisfied) ranged from the low 70’s to a rating of 81 percent for the Department of Education site, ED.gov, with approximately 71 percent of visitors indicating they would recommend a government site to a friend. As reported by Tim O’Reilly during his opening presentation at the Gov 2.0 Expo Showcase Conference on Tuesday September 8, the overall average satisfaction rating for government Web sites as measured by Comscore was 76 percent, five to ten percentage points behind consumers’ ratings of the top e-commerce sites.
“Government Web site managers have made strides to improve the content and overall experience of visitors to their websites,” added Lackner. “As Web site managers continue to embrace industry best practices, we can expect them to close the gap relative to their commercial counterparts.”
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