25 Million Americans Visited Politics Sites in the Final Month of the Presidential Race

Comscore Media Metrix Announces Top 50 U.S. Internet Property Rankings for October 2004

RESTON, Va., Nov. 15, 2004 – Comscore Media Metrix today released its monthly analysis of online consumer behavior, reporting that more than 25 million Americans – roughly one out of every six Internet users – visited the Politics category in October 2004. With each of the candidates’ Web sites earning the number one spot in three of the last six months, the race was as close online as it was overall.

Other highlights of online behavior trends from September to October include:

  • Both the Entertainment-Movies and Retail-Movies categories saw substantial increases as a result of a number of events, including the debut of Shark Tale, increased interest in Blockbuster’s new DVD subscription service, and JibJab Media’s release of its second major online.
  • The fall clothing season, Halloween costume shopping and the kickoff of holiday promotions translated to a 20-percent increase in visitation to the Apparel category.
  • Promotions helped a number of large food and beverage marketers post substantial gains in October, resulting in an 18-percent increase in traffic to the Hobbies/Lifestyles-Food category.

“That 25 million Americans visited political sites last month alone underscores the Web’s impact on this year’s election,” said Peter Daboll, president and CEO of Comscore Media Metrix. “From Howard Dean’s early fundraising efforts, to the Bush and Kerry campaigns’ continuous voter outreach, to candidates plugging their Web sites in televised debates – the Internet has earned an important and permanent place for itself in the election process.”

Kerry Campaign Ends Strong, at Least Online
While it didn’t translate to a win on November 2nd, Senator Kerry’s Web site skyrocketed past President Bush’s in the final month of the presidential race. JohnKerry.com jumped 65 percent to draw 3.7 million visitors in October compared to an increase of 30 percent at GeorgeWBush.com, which closed the month with 3.2 million visitors. AOL Elections, the top site in the Politics category, rose 69 percent to 10.8 million visitors. All told, the Politics category was the top-gaining category in October, increasing 43 percent versus September.

Movies, Both Online and Offline, Were Hot in October
Entertainment-Movies was October’s second largest gaining category, with 21 percent more visitors than in September. The release of “Shark Tale,” which has grossed over $150 million at the box office, was likely behind substantial increases at both movie content and ticketing sites. Yahoo!, AOL and MSN’s movie channels, as well as Moviefone, Fandango and MovieTickets.com, all saw double-digit increases from September to October. SharkTale.com more than doubled from September to October, drawing nearly 500,000 visitors.

While “Shark Tale” and other feature films were significant contributors to the increase in visitation to the Entertainment-Movies category, the largest impact came from JibJab Media’s release of its second major animated movie, “Good to Be in DC.” In October, more than 6 million Americans visited JibJab Media, an increase of nearly 300 percent compared to September. While this doesn’t top the 10 million visitors the site drew in July when JibJab released its first movie, “This Land,” the increase was large enough to land JibJab the number one position in the October ranking of the top gaining properties. This growth also propelled Atomshockwave Sites, the online host of the film, up 111 percent.

Blockbuster, which recently launched its Blockbuster Online DVD subscription service in direct competition to Netflix, saw traffic increase by 52 percent between September and October. The online movie rental space has become increasingly competitive as Netflix, Wal-Mart and Blockbuster have all recently announced price reductions. Netflix saw its audience decline by approximately 6 percent in October, although the site still holds the lead in the Retail-Movies category, with 8.2 million visitors compared to Blockbuster’s 6.4 million.

Halloween and Fall Fashions Drive Apparel Sites up in October
A number of seasonal factors came together to help October’s third-largest gaining category, Apparel, realize a 20-percent month-over-month increase. BuyCostumes.com shot up 160 percent to temporarily become the category’s second-largest property. Nearly 5 million Americans visited the site in October – millions more than such well-known retailers as The Limited, Gap and Nordstrom drew last month. And with the seasons quickly changing and the holidays approaching, many multi-channel apparel retailers saw substantial increases in October. Led by Alloy (53 percent), OldNavy.com (39 percent) and Nordstrom (30 percent), eight of the top 10 properties in the Apparel category posted double-digit increases between September and October.

Promotions Boost Food and Beverage Marketers
Online and offline promotions by a number of large food and beverage marketers contributed to measurable increases in site traffic and an 18-percent bump in visitors to the Food category. KraftFoods.com, the category’s second-largest site (behind FoodNetwork.com), jumped nearly 60 percent as consumers turned to the site for Halloween recipes. A newsletter promotion with MyPoints.com helped drive 1.6 million visitors to Pillsbury.com, an increase of nearly 650 percent versus September. A Halloween game at CoorsLight.com brought nearly 1.4 million visitors to the site, up from fewer than 50,000 in September.

Additional October highlights

  • FS.Fed.us – A webcam monitoring the eruption of Mount St. Helens brought nearly 3 million Americans to the U.S. Forest Service’s site, an increase of almost 200 percent versus September.
  • TheBreastCancerSite.com drew almost five million visitors to Charity USA. The site hosted the Pink Ribbon Challenge, a fundraising effort marking Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
  • Promotional activity helped drive substantial increases at a number of Pfizer sites, while increased visitation to FindArticles.com resulted in a 37-percent jump in visitors to LookSmart.

Top 50 Properties
Buoyed by the launch of Blockbuster Online, Viacom Online gained more than 1.2 million visitors and grabbed the final spot in the October top ten. JibJab’s release of “Good to Be in DC” propelled Atomshockwave Sites up 111% to more than 11 million visitors in October. This meteoric rise raised the property from number 123 in September to number 47 in October.

Boosted by the start of the holiday season and efforts to develop social networking around auctions, Overstock.com posted a 14-spot increase in rank to number 41. An election-driven increase in visitation to FoxNews.com, and a free shipping promotion at FoxStore.com, helped News Corp. Online earn a 23-percent increase in visitation, the largest of any property ranked in the Top 50. The budding holiday shopping season contributed to increases at Wal-Mart (8-spot increase to number 19), Bizrate Sites (6-spot increase to number 36), Target Corporation (6-spot increase to number 40) and Dell (5-spot increase to number 38).

Top 50 Ad Focus Ranking
Comscore Media Metrix’s ranking of advertising-supported media brands includes media properties, such as Yahoo! and MSN, as well as advertising networks, such as Advertising.com and TribalFusion. Instead of focusing on corporate ownership, this reporting mirrors, as closely as possible, the manner in which advertising is actually packaged and sold. With this ranking, media planners and buyers can more easily evaluate interactive marketing options on an equal footing.

This month’s Ad Focus ranking marks the introduction of the unduplicated view. This provides a more comprehensive view of the various sites that are supported by advertising. Comscore Media Metrix clients may still view the duplicated version through the MyMetrix online reporting system. Advertising.com, Yahoo! and MSN retained the top 3 spots in this new view of the Ad Focus ranking, while Casale Media Network debuted in the number 4 position.

TABLE 1
 

Top Ten Gaining Properties by Percentage Change in Unique Visitors*
October 2004 vs. September 2004
Total U.S. Home, Work and University Internet Users
Source: Comscore Media Metrix
Property Sep-04 (000) Oct-04 (000) Percentage Change Rank by Unique Visitors
Total Internet Users 158,042 158,352 0% N/A
JibJab Media 1,553 6,046 289% 111
FS.FED.US 998 2,939 195% 246
BUYCOSTUMES.COM 1,902 4,942 160% 140
Charity USA 1,318 3,203 143% 230
Atomshockwave Sites 5,272 11,101 111% 47
Pfizer 1,651 3,334 102% 218
JOHNKERRY.COM 2,247 3,702 65% 188
IFILM Network 1,991 2,978 50% 241
PBS.ORG 3,010 4,151 38% 167
LookSmart 3,204 4,402 37% 154

*Ranking based on the top 250 properties in October

TABLE 2
 

Top Ten Gaining Categories by Unique Visitors
October 2004 vs. September 2004
Total U.S. Home, Work and University Internet Users
Source: Comscore Media Metrix
  Sep-04 (000) Oct-04 (000) Percentage Change
Total Internet Users 158,042 158,352 0%
Politics 17,888 25,512 43%
Entertainment-Movies 39,425 47,760 21%
Retail-Apparel 35,582 42,700 20%
Hobbies/Lifestyles-Food 24,871 29,394 18%
Religion 10,795 12,402 15%
Entertainment-Humor 21,671 24,741 14%
Retail-Department Stores 34,870 39,576 14%
Retail-Flowers/Gifts/Greetings 25,282 28,264 12%
Retail-Movies 21,760 24,240 11%
Community-Women 39,845 44,283 11%

TABLE 3
 

Top 50 Properties
October 2004
Total U.S. - Home, Work and University Locations
Unique Visitors (000)
Source: Comscore Media Metrix
Rank Property Unique Visitors (000)   Rank Property Unique Visitors (000)
  Total Internet Users 158,352        
1 Yahoo! Sites 114,564   26 iVillage.com: The Womens Network 16,590
2 Time Warner Network 112,186   27 Intermix Media 16,259
3 MSN-Microsoft Sites 112,160   28 Shopping.com Sites 15,756
4 Google Sites 67,834   29 Bank of America 15,292
5 eBay 60,327   30 News Corp. Online 15,233
6 Ask Jeeves 39,316   31 Classmates.com Sites 15,115
7 About/Primedia 38,728   32 ORBITZ.COM 14,555
8 Amazon Sites 37,488   33 CareerBuilder LLC 14,329
9 Symantec 33,917   34 ESPN Network 14,214
10 Viacom Online 30,972   35 EA Online 13,467
11 Terra Lycos 30,400   36 Bizrate Sites 13,210
12 Walt Disney Internet Group (WDIG) 28,096   37 NFL Internet Group 13,093
13 Monster Worldwide 27,077   38 Dell 12,944
14 CNET Networks 27,054   39 Comcast Corporation 12,899
15 Verizon Communications Corporation 25,467   40 Target Corporation 12,863
16 Weather Channel, The 24,705   41 OVERSTOCK.COM 12,287
17 Real.com Network 23,566   42 Macromedia 12,214
18 Weatherbug.com Property 19,805   43 Sony Online 12,131
19 Wal-Mart 19,050   44 Cox Enterprises Inc. 12,104
20 Gorilla Nation Media 18,633   45 United Online, Inc 12,052
21 InfoSpace Network 18,375   46 JPMorgan Chase Property 11,736
22 Expedia Travel 18,129   47 Atomshockwave Sites 11,101
23 AT&T Properties 17,676   48 Adobe Sites 11,093
24 SBC Communications 17,454   49 Trip Network Inc. 11,059
25 Gannett Sites 16,965   50 AmericanGreetings Property 10,636

TABLE 4
 

Ad Focus Ranking
Unique Visitors (000)
Total U.S. - Home, Work and University Locations
October 2004
Source: Comscore Media Metrix
Rank Property Unique Visitors (000) Reach %   Rank Property Unique Visitors (000) Reach %
  Total Internet Users 158,352 100%          
1 Advertising.com** 118,336 75%   26 MSNBC 22,009 14%
2 Yahoo! 112,901 71%   27 WeatherBug 19,647 12%
3 MSN 96,700 61%   28 Expedia Travel 18,129 11%
4 Casale Media Network** 84,957 54%   29 Netscape 17,592 11%
5 AOL 84,610 53%   30 iVillage.com: The Womens Network 16,590 10%
6 YAHOO.COM Home Page 73,284 46%   31 Disney Online 15,832 10%
7 GOOGLE.COM 65,406 41%   32 CareerBuilder Network 15,796 10%
8 Tribal Fusion** 63,643 40%   33 CLASSMATES.COM 15,115 10%
9 EBAY.COM 57,291 36%   34 ORBITZ.COM 14,555 9%
10 TrafficMarketplace** 56,933 36%   35 EA Online Syndicated Games 14,403 9%
11 ValueClick Media** 55,331 35%   36 ESPN Network 14,214 9%
12 MSN.COM Home Page 49,700 31%   37 Travelocity All 13,535 9%
13 24/7 Real Media** 47,660 30%   38 SuperPages Network 13,045 8%
14 BURST! Media** 40,132 25%   39 EA Online Games 12,912 8%
15 Ask Jeeves 39,316 25%   40 Infospace.com Sites 9,728 6%
16 MAPQUEST.COM 34,782 22%   41 EARTHLINK.NET 9,604 6%
17 EBAY.COM Home Page 32,297 20%   42 NFL.COM 9,488 6%
18 Navigation Catalyst System 30,590 19%   43 GO.COM 9,426 6%
19 Lycos 28,920 18%   44 CNN.COM Home Page 9,189 6%
20 Monster Worldwide 27,077 17%   45 WebMD Medscape Health Network 8,912 6%
21 ClickAgents Network** 26,138 17%   46 TICKETMASTER.COM 8,452 5%
22 ABOUT.COM 23,754 15%   47 NetZero Websites 8,407 5%
23 WEATHER.COM 23,360 15%   48 LAUNCH.COM Home Page 8,302 5%
24 CNET 22,656 14%   49 ESPN.COM Home Page 8,289 5%
25 CNN 22,612 14%   50 MLB.COM 8,231 5%

**Indicates that the entity is an advertising network.

About Comscore Media Metrix
Comscore 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 Networks
Comscore 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, Microsoft, 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.

Contact:
Andrew Lipsman
Comscore, Inc.
+1 312 775 6510
press@comscore.com



 

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