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.