Archive for April, 2009
Later this week I’ll be sharing some insights at the Australian Retail Symposium 2009 on how specific demographic segments search for retail brands and products. I’ve looked at searches by Australian households in our Hitwise Lifestyle segment, ‘Young Ambition’, who are early adopters of technology and are likely to research products over the Internet. Here’s a sample of their leading electronics search terms during March 2009:
• ‘mobile phones’ was the leading product-related search term, but ‘Young Ambition’ were much more likely to search for ‘mobile phone reviews’ with an index of 485 compared to the online population average (100).
• ‘iphone accessories’ attracted higher volumes of search than ‘iphone,’ suggesting that ‘Young Ambition’ are seasoned iPhone users and are now looking for the latest accessories.
• ‘Omnia’ and the ‘LG Web Slider’ are providing strong competition to the iPhone amongst ‘Young Ambition’ households, with high search volumes compared to the online population.
• ‘navman’ and ‘tomtom’ searches were over-represented amongst ‘Young Ambition’ during Christmas 2008 but were under-represented during March 2009. This suggests that navigation products are becoming less of a fad amongst early adopters.
• ‘headphones’, ‘cameras’ and ‘laptops’ were other leading product search terms. ‘Sennheiser’ related terms also appeared in the long-tail of ‘Young Ambition’ searches.
Retailers can gain an understanding of the products and brands that resound with specific consumer groups by drilling into their search behaviour. Stay tuned for a similar analysis on high-end shoppers and suburban families.
As you would expect, last week’s budget received a lot of press attention. UK Internet searches for the term ‘budget’ increased 27-fold between the weeks ending April 18th and 25th. However, as the chart below illustrates, searches for the term only reached a similar level to last year and were actually down on two years ago. Following the online reaction to last year’s pre-budget report I was also expecting a spike in searches for the term ‘50p tax’, but surprisingly that didn’t occur.
Despite this, ‘budget’ was the third fastest moving term in the in the UK last week (in fact it was really the fastest, as the two that appeared above it – ‘earth day’ and ‘st george’s day’ – were both Google Doodles), and lots of websites were competing to pick up traffic from it. As the table below illustrates, the most successful was DirectGov, which paid for the majority of its clicks. The Telegraph ranked second, also thanks to a significant investment in paid traffic, while BBC News, Google News and the FT all ranked in the top 10. The accountancy firms also did well from the term, with KPMG beating Ernst & Young to the top spot this year, despite paying less for its traffic.
The Conservative Party also ran a paid search campaign for the budget, and was the 11th biggest recipient of traffic from the term ‘budget’ last week. Over 90% of this traffic came via paid search and, as the table below illustrates, it was the highest placed non-branded term sending traffic to the Tories’ homepage last week. The other terms that that Conservative Party received a significant amount of paid traffic from were ‘budget 2009’, ‘vat threshold’ and ‘2009 budget’.
The combination of more paid search traffic and the general interest in all things budget-related meant that traffic to conservatives.com increased by 71% last week. The official homepages of the Labour Party (up 20%) and the Liberal Democrats (up 33%) also received traffic boosts. Following on from the Daniel Hannan YouTube clip last month, it is starting to look like the next UK election may well be the first in which the Internet will play a significant role.
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The Ad Age Power 150, a ranking of top marketing blogs, has become more dynamic with today’s introduction of the PostRank metric. The new metric, developed by the folks at AideRSS, is based on social engagement or how interesting/relevant people find content to be. To measure such a thing, PostRank uses an algorithm that combines numerous online activities such as Digg, Twitter, Facebook, del.icio.us, RSS subscriptions, post comments, etc. This is the first Power 150 metric that scrutinizes your blog on a post-by-post basis… and adds a lot more daily excitement to the list.
Please read Charlie Moran’s detailed Ad Age blog post about the Power 150 upgrade and feel free to comment. Because we crave your feedback, anyone who comments on this blog post, Charlie’s post, our Facebook group or sends me a related comment via Twitter @toddand before Sunday at noon (Chicago time) will be entered in a raffle to win Power 150 prizes (t-shirts and pens). I’ll update this post with the winners then.
Most of your questions about why PostRank was added and it’s impact on the list can likely be addressed by reading Charlie’s explanation. Questions about the new metric will probably best be answered by PostRank’s “How It Works” page, but I’ve highlighted a graphic below from the PostRank website that lists several examples of engagement data sources that are included in PostRank. Bottom line, we’re hoping this new metric helps keep the Power 150 relevant and useful. More new features are in the works so stay tuned.
UPDATE: I picked two winners for Power 150 t-shirts and pens. The two winners are David Mullen and Jim Murphy. Thanks to all those who commented.
My colleague in the US, Heather Hopkins recently covered the blaze of publicity around Oprah Winfrey starting to tweet and its immediate impact on Twitter’s US share of visits. In Australia the influences seem to be broader than America’s new ‘tweetheart’.
In Australia the growth of Twitter has been nothing short of phenomenal;
• 49.9% growth in the past month (comparing 21/04/2009 vs. 22/03/2009)
• 1067.3% since the start of the 2009 (comparing 21/04/2009 vs. 01/01/2009)
• 3,220.7% annual growth (comparing 21/04/2009 vs. 22/04/2008).
On Sunday 19 April 2009, Twitter became the 37th most visited website by Australian Internet users, breaking into the top 40 Australian websites for the first time on the back of a 3.9% rise in share, coinciding with Oprah’s first tweet.
The largest single day of growth experienced by Twitter this year was 22 March 2009, when share of visits grew by 89.3% over the previous day. It was a day after the Queensland Election and four days after the second of the Melbourne earth tremors.
In Australia a number of celebrities were included in searches for ‘twitter’, representing 38% of the top 50 ‘twitter’ search variations for week ending 18 April 2009.
Ashton Kutcher and his challenge to be the first Twitterer to have one million followers received considerable news coverage. In the days leading up Kutcher passing the million follower mark, Twitter’s share of daily visits increased by 10.6% (16/4/2009) and 6.22% (17/4/2009). Oprah could only move Twitter’s Australian share by 2.46% (18/4/2009).
Lindsay Lohan however, with her much publicised relationship split, had the strongest association with Twitter compared to other celebrities, with 0.65% of Twitter-related search terms (week ending 18/04/2009), followed by Kutcher (0.51%), Miley Cyrus (0.35%) and Australia’s Hugh Jackman (0.22%).
Twitter a truly global phenomenon
In other markets, Twitter has a growth pattern similar to the US and UK, highlighting that Twitter is a truly global phenomenon.
Twitter increased its share in New Zealand 305.5% since the start of the year (1/01/2009), and on 21 April 2009 ranked at 49 amongst all websites (up from 206).
In Singapore, Twitter moved up 239 positions to a rank of 65 amongst all websites with an increase in share of visits of 333.3% since the 1/01/2009.
Hong Kong is lagging by comparison to the other Asia Pacific markets the US and UK, as can be seen from the chart below, but has moved up 373 places since 1/01/2009 to currently stand at the 198th most visited website in Hong Kong on 21/04/2009 with a share of visits increase of 198.1%.
Click chart for larger version
It is interesting to note that large jumps in share of visits have been sparked by a variety of events and news items at different times over the past three months. However, Ashton Kutcher and Oprah seem to have had an impact in all countries in mid April.
For statistical comparison the Twitters share of visits in the US and UK, as at 21/4/2009, have grown 570.03% and 621.3% respectively since 1/01/2009 improving its ranking position by 324 spots in the US and 305 spots in the UK.
It is interesting to note that Entertainment / Celebrity brands have embraced Twitter as a communication and connection tool, yet many consumer facing brands have yet to understand the opportunity and accept the challenge of direct interaction with consumers. Props to those businesses that are active and learning.
The Victorian bushfires in February 2009 demonstrated how Australians turned to the Internet to get vital information surrounding a crisis. Search data reflected strong community awareness of the Victorian Country Fire Authority, with ‘cfa’ the fastest moving search term driving traffic to all websites in February 2009. Searches that included ‘bushfires’ were three times greater than searches including ‘cfa’ during the height of the crisis, week ending 14 February 2009. The below figure demonstrates the peak of bushfire searches following Black Saturday and how quickly they dropped off.
· ‘Bushfires’ searches decreased by 76.5% the week ending 21 February 2009 compared to week ending 14 February 2009, and dropped a futher 44.3% a fortnight later.
· There was 4-week window for peak community awareness following the Victorian Bushfire tragedy. 6 weeks after the height of the crisis, search activity on ‘bushfires’ dropped to search levels preceding the crisis.
Bushfire Searches became more specific during and after crisis
A detailed study into the bushfire searches provide insight into what types of information requirements emerge at key periods during a crisis. Hitwise found that bushfire searches fell into the following 5 types:
1. ‘Appeal’ searches around fundraising efforts e.g. ‘redcross bushfire appeal’
2. ‘Education’ searches around historical knowledge and future planning e.g. ‘bushfire survival’
3. ‘General’ searches e.g. ‘victorian bushfires’
4. ‘Informational’ searches around news and geographical updates e.g. ‘bushfire map’
5. ‘Services’ searches around government and commercial agencies e.g. ‘cfa bushfires’
· ‘Informational’ searches were strong throughout, with timeliness the key in providing community updates. The top 5 websites to receive ‘Informational’ searches during the height of the crisis (week ending 14 February 2009) were the Victoria Country Fire Authority, ABC News Online, Google News Australia, Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment, and The Age.
·The community were willing to provide support immediately with ‘Appeal’ searches prevalent during the week ending 14 February 2009. ‘Appeal’ searches however dropped off significantly 5 weeks after the crisis.
· News and Media websites attracted the most traffic from all types of bushfire searches apart from ‘Services’ following the crisis. However News and Media websites received a smaller allocation of paid traffic on ‘bushfire’ Searches (5.8%) than Government websites (8.7%) during the week ending 14 March 2009, suggesting that organic traffic was a more important driver of traffic.
·The proportion of ‘Education’ searches peaked 5 weeks following the crisis, suggesting ongoing demand for information to avoid a repeat of the disaster. Wikipedia was the top website to receive ‘Educational’ during the crisis (week ending 14 March 2009). While Government websites received a significant portion of search traffic with 8.9%, it is clear agencies need to compete with a range of sources in providing reliable and authoritative information to the public.
Making sure government websites are optimised for searches on key issues
Government agencies can use online behaviour surrounding the Victorian bushfire case study to understand the needs of the community, when information is crucial for saving lives. By investing in best practice Search Engine Optimisation, such as using keyword research to determine the language of the community, government agencies can ensure they are a key source of information. Government agencies can also work with leading online news outlets for information dissemination.
We will be releasing an Online Government report very soon that includes the bushfire case study so stay tuned. Hitwise Research Director, Alan Long and Product Director for Search Marketing Services, Stuart McKeown will also be speaking at this AMI event on 30 April: Best practices for government, community organisations and consumer marketing.
As a co-founder and one of 20 mentors for Capital Factory, I'm proud and excited to get started our first year with 5 startups! Here's the release that we just put across the wire today! The program starts with these entrepreneurs May 22 going through August.
And you can follow all 5 startups on Twitter!
Austin, TX (PRWEB
April 22, 2009 — Capital Factory, an early stage technology incubator
in Austin, Texas, announced investments in five emerging technology
startups selected to participate in its inaugural 2009 summer program.
Each company will receive a cash investment of up to $20,000, more than
$20,000 in free services, and mentorship from some of the top
entrepreneurs in central Texas. The free services include office space,
legal counsel from Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosatti
, public relations support from Porter Novelli
, and accounting support from The Accounting Group
, among many other benefits.
* FamiGo – Mobile games that bring the family together
– Person-to-person marketplace for storage space
– A marketplace for services by the hour
– Website for Pet Health, from A to Z
Factory also recognizes five additional finalist startups that were top
runners among the program applicants as well, including:
* Notesmart – Buy & sell classroom notes efficiently
– Public policy portal for measuring your representation
* ProspectIdentify – Sales intelligence tool to find who to call, when, and what to say
five startups were selected from a list of more than 250 applicants and
five additional companies were recognized as finalists. Applications
were submitted from all over the country although more were from Texas
than any other state. Four of the five startups were already located in
Austin and one, Homstie, will be relocating from California this summer.
were only planning on investing in three startups this year," said
Capital Factory managing director, Joshua Baer. "But we received three
times the number of applications that we expected and ended up
investing in five! We just couldn't pass up the opportunity to work
with these entrepreneurs."
The selection process included
a one page application and five minute video. After reviewing hundreds
of applications, about five percent were invited to in-person
interviews with the mentors. With many promising entrepreneurs to
choose from, the mentors focused on startups who they could help the
most and with the greatest chance of success.
interviews helped us understand what these companies needed and the
extent to which we could help them," said Sam Decker, Capital Factory
managing director. "All of them stated that the money helped, but the
mentorships were what they needed to get their idea off the ground or
to the next level."
The mentorship program starts on May
22 and lasts throughout the summer, ending with a "Demo Day" where the
five startups will present their business to investors, the press, and
About Capital Factory:
Factory is an early stage technology incubator based in Austin, Texas.
Startup companies participate in an intense 10-week summer program that
gives them up to $20,000 in cash, more than $20,000 in free services,
and mentorship by a group of successful entrepreneurs. The program
culminates in a demo day where the startups present to investors, the
press, and the world. For more information on Capital Factory, visit
the website at www.capitalfactory.com or on Twitter @capitalfactory
For press inquiries, contact:
carolinetraylor [at] capitalfactory.com
The amount of traffic that online retailers receive from paid search – i.e. from sponsored or paid for links on search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, Live and Ask – has fallen over the last 12 months. During March 2009, 8.9% of all UK Internet visits to online retailers came from a paid search listing, down from 10.1% in March 2008.
Search engines are the primary source of traffic for almost all online retailers, and a typical ecommerce site in the UK receives 2 in every 5 visits from a search engine. However, the proportion of search traffic that comes from paid listings fell from 27.8% in March 2008 to 22.5% in March 2009. Retailers are amongst the biggest users of paid search in the UK, so – as the chart below illustrates – this has also contributed to an overall decline in paid search rates. In March 2009, 9.4% of all search engine traffic in the UK was from paid listings, down from 12.1% in March 2008.
Following yesterday’s post illustrating that social networks now receive more UK Internet visits that online retailers, it is perhaps no surprise to see that the amount of traffic our Shopping and Classifies category receive from social networking websites increased from 5.2% in March 2008 to 7.1% in March 2009. A year ago online retailers received a similar amount of traffic from both social networks and webmail services (such as Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail and GoogleMail), but social networks now account for 58.3% more traffic than webmail providers.
The retail categories that received most traffic from social networks during March 2009 were Auctions, Fashion and Department Stores. Together they accounted for over half of all downstream visits from social networks to an online retailer.
Top 10 online retail websites receiving traffic from social networks, March 2009:
1. eBay UK (1.94% of all downstream visits from social networks)
2. Amazon UK (0.40%)
3. Play.com (0.19%)
4. ASOS (0.13%)
5. eBay (0.10%)
6. Argos (0.09%)
7. Gumtree.com (0.09%)
8. Amazon.com (0.08%)
9. TopShop.com (0.08%)
10. HotUKDeals (0.08%)
Social networks are a relatively small but fast growing source of traffic for online retailers. At present, only a minority of retailers pick up a significant amount of traffic from social networks, but many of those that do have seen a positive impact on traffic. For example, fashion retailer ASOS has a strong presence on Facebook and in March received 13.3% of its traffic from the social network. Another example – in a very different market – is online bookseller Abebooks, which currently receives a quarter of all its UK Internet traffic from social networks, more than it gets from search engines. These and other examples illustrate that a retailer’s success on a social network has less to do with products or demographics than it does with effectively engaging with an online community.
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Oprah Winfrey, the icon that can turn any book or product into a best seller, posted her first Tweet on Friday on her show. There’s been much debate among loyal Twitter users about whether this spells the end for Twitter’s coolness, as soccer moms sign up in droves.
So what was the Oprah-Effect on Twitter? The following chart shows daily visits to Twitter from 1st January to 18th April (Oprah’s first Tweet was on the 17th).
Share of US Internet visits to Twitter increased 24% on Friday, April 17, the day of Oprah’s first Tweet. Comparing visits with the previous Friday, visits were up 43%.
Hitwise clickstream data reveals that on April 17, 37% of visits to Twitter.com were new visitors (as opposed to returning). The service typically has a high ratio of new visitors as it is still very much in a growth phase. However, the percentage of new visitors was 5% higher on Friday than the previous day and the average for March. To give a benchmark, Facebook’s ratio of new visitors was 8% in March.
The search term “oprah twitter” was the #35 highest search term with the word “twitter” last week and the #7 with “oprah”. Considering that our search data is weekly and that the show only aired on Friday, this is impressive.
UK Internet users are spending less of their online time shopping and more time browsing online media. During March 2009, 8.6% of all UK Internet visits went to online retail websites and 9.8% to social networking websites. A year ago, in March 2008, the figures were reversed: online retailers accounted for 9.7% of all UK Internet visits, and social networks 8.2%. Over the same time period, the share of UK Internet visits attributed to Entertainment websites (11.4% in March 2008, 11.6% in March 2009) and News and Media websites (5.0% in March 2008, 5.6% in March 2009) has also increased.
The growth of social networking, online video and the continuing popularity of news websites has meant that an increasing proportion of consumer’s online time in the UK has been devoted to online media. Historically this has gone hand in hand with the growth of online retail, but over the last 3 months online retailers seem to be really suffering from the economic downturn for the first time. Traffic to online retailers always peaks over the Christmas period, then declines during January and February, but picks up in March. Last year UK Internet traffic to online retailers increased by 0.8% between February and March, but this year it fell by 0.1%. The decline between December and February was also greater this year.
Electronics retailers and department stores have experienced the most significant declines in traffic since Christmas, although the recent Spring sales acted as a temporary boost for the latter category. However, despite the post-Christmas decline in online retail, there are a number of categories that continue to outperform the general market Online fashion was the fastest growing online retail category during 2009 and continues to perform well, despite growth slowing. Sports retailers are also doing well, helped in part by the demand for the new England football kit.
The good weather over the last few weeks has led to an increase in searches for garden furniture and tools, with a corresponding increase in traffic to House and Garden retailers. Finally, Classifieds websites have seen their UK Internet traffic increase by 15% over the last 12 months as people look to buy and sell second hand goods online.
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YouTube has unveiled several partnerships with studios to expand the selection of TV shows and movies available on the website. With YouTube adding premium content onto their website, this move starts to make them compete more directly with websites like Hulu. The wide variety and quick availability of content on Hulu has made the website become very popular, so we thought it would be interesting to see what people are searching for on Hulu.com to gain a sense of demand for particular shows. The top search taking place on Hulu.com during the week of March 21, 2009 was for the TV show Family Guy. 3 specific episodes of the Family Guy also made the top 500 internal site searches on Hulu.com – ‘Road to Germany’, ‘Chicken Fight’, and ‘Baby Not on Board’.
Top Internal Site Seaches on Hulu.com – Week of March 21, 2009
1. family guy
2. transformers cartoon
3. lie to me
4. the office
5. keeping up with the kardashians
7. battlestar galactica
10. the simpsons
Not surprisingly, TV shows dominated the top 100 search terms for the week on Hulu.com with 83 search terms with 8 referring to various versions of Law & Order. The majority of the search terms were for specific titles of TV shows and movies, and in some cases, specific episodes, with very few searches for actors.