Online Consumers Catch Spring Fever in April

April Comscore Media Metrix Rankings Reveal Impact of Holidays, Sporting Events and College Preparation on Web Behavior

RESTON, VA, May 18, 2005 – Comscore Media Metrix today released its monthly analysis of consumer activity at top online properties and categories. In April, annual spring events, such as Mother’s Day, the opening of the baseball season, and the approaching end of the school year generated traffic increases for a number of properties across a variety of categories.

“As temperatures began to rise across the country, Americans turned to the Web to plan for important spring rituals,” commented Peter Daboll, president and CEO of Comscore Media Metrix. “A number of sites associated with spring events, such as Mother’s Day, school graduation ceremonies and baseball’s opening day, saw significant increases in traffic.”

Mother’s Day Adds Sparkle to Online Jewelry Retailers
Consumers flocked to online stores to purchase gifts in preparation for Mother’s Day, making Jewelry, Luxury Goods & Accessories the top-gaining category in April with a 19-percent increase in unique visitors over March (see table 2). Comscore e-commerce research further reported that online spending in the Jewelry & Watches category reached $24.6 million for the week ending April 24 and then increased 13 percent to $27.8 million for the week ending May 1, just one week before Mother’s Day.

Americans Seek Updated Messenger, E-Mail Services
E-mail and instant messenger programs soared in April as popular online communication tools were updated and heavily promoted. Microsoft released a new version of its MSN Messenger program, resulting in a 24-percent increase in unique visitors over March. Meanwhile, Google’s Gmail recorded the highest traffic level measured since its inception, with more than 3.5 million unique visitors during the month. Despite its rapid growth, Gmail still faces steep competition from Yahoo! Mail and MSN Hotmail, which drew 64 million and 43 million users respectively.

Music Downloading Services Battle for Supremacy
Extraordinary holiday sales of Apple’s iPod digital music player began to take full effect in April as music downloading services jockeyed for position in this rapidly growing market. MP3.com saw its visitation rise 51 percent following a massive campaign to promote its music store and assure customers that its music was compatible with the iPod. Adding fuel to the fire was RealNetworks, which announced a product update for its Rhapsody music subscription service.

NFL Draft Day, MLB Opening Day Knock Sports Site Traffic Out of the Park
The start of the Major League Baseball season and the National Football League Draft bolstered traffic in the Sports category. In fact, MLB.com was the top gaining property in April (see table 1) on the strength of a 63-percent increase over March to more than 11.2 million unique visitors. Meanwhile, the 2005 NFL Draft, held on April 23-24, was one of the most watched in the league’s history. During the two-day draft session, NFL Internet Group sites recorded both a 13-percent increase in unique visitors and an 18-percent rise in page views over the 2004 Draft.

Students Turn to the Web as They Look to the Future
As both high school and college graduates plan for life ahead, visitation in the Career Services - Training & Education category reached 8.1 million. The category’s top site was CollegeBoard.com with 2.2 million visitors in April, an 18-percent increase over March. The organization offers information on member universities and administers the SAT and Advanced Placement programs. Other players in the Training & Education category include FastWeb with two million visitors in April and PrincetonReview.com, which saw an 18-percent spike in visitation during the month.

Comscore Media Metrix Launches Photos Category
The proliferation of digital cameras among American consumers has resulted in growing popularity of sites that allow consumers to manage, share and print their digital images. With the release of April data, Comscore launched the Photos category to track such sites. More than 43 million consumers, a quarter of all Internet users, visited Photos category sites in April.

Top 50 Properties
The top 10 properties remained the same in April as in March, except for Monster Worldwide, which attracted 1.3 million more visitors and moved five spots to number 10 (see table 3). With its acquisition of About.com, traffic to New York Times Digital skyrocketed from 8.7 million unique visitors in March to nearly 30 million visitors in April. As a result, the property jumped 74 spots to finish at number 11 in April’s Top 50 Properties.

Among sites in both the March and April Top 50 Properties, Ticketmaster had the largest jump, as 13.8 million Americans turned to the site, primarily to research and purchase summer concert and sports tickets. In total, Ticketmaster has risen an impressive 12 spots over the past two months. Finally, a six-percent increase in visitation to Classmates.com Sites drove a corresponding five-spot spike to number 32 in April.

Top 50 Ad Focus Ranking
Advertising.com again finished atop the Ad Focus Ranking in April by reaching 78 percent of all Americans online (see table 4), completing 12 consecutive months at number one. Yahoo! and Fastclick each reached 70 percent of the U.S. online audience to finish at number two and three, respectively.

MLB.com had the largest gain of any ranked Ad Focus entity, as the start of the Major League Baseball season spurred a 63-percent month-over-month gain in visitation, which translated into a 30-spot climb to number 48. Finally, Myspace.com continued its upward trend, with an increase in visitation of 19 percent. This translated into an 8-spot gain, landing Myspace.com in the Ad Focus ranking for the first time, finishing at number 44.

TABLE 1
 

Top Ten Gaining Properties by Percentage Change in Unique Visitors*
April 2005 vs. March 2005
Total U.S. Home, Work and University Internet Users
Source: Comscore Media Metrix
Property Mar-05 (000) Apr-05 (000) Percentage Change Rank by Unique Visitors
Total Internet Population 164,263 164,961 0.4% N/A
MLB.COM 6,885 11,242 63.3% 59
Wikipedia Sites 5,413 7,626 40.9% 100
BBC Sites 6,747 9,387 39.1% 76
SIDESTEP.COM 3,310 4,470 35.0% 184
Forbes Property 4,259 5,485 28.8% 154
LookSmart 3,837 4,697 22.4% 179
NFL Internet Group 6,547 7,898 20.6% 96
Autobytel Inc 5,141 6,158 19.8% 131
SHOP.COM 5,058 5,984 18.3% 135
EVITE.COM 3,303 3,897 18.0% 220

*Ranking based on the top 250 properties in April

TABLE 2
 

Top Gaining Categories by Unique Visitors
April 2005 vs. March 2005
Total U.S. Home, Work and University Internet Users
Source: Comscore Media Metrix
  Mar-05 (000) Apr-05(000) Percentage Change
Total Internet Population 164,263 164,961 0.4%
Retail - Jewelry/Luxury Goods/Accessories 12,185 14,555 19.5%
Services - Instant Messengers 75,753 77,943 2.9%
Travel - Hotels/Resorts 29,527 30,125 2.0%
Entertainment – Music 80,123 81,193 1.3%
Career Services - Training and Education 8,062 8,105 0.5%
Services - e-mail 122,719 123,357 0.5%
Sports 56,698 56,807 0.2%

TABLE 3
 

Top 50 Properties
April 2005
Total U.S. Home, Work and University Internet Users
Source: Comscore Media Metrix
Rank Property Unique Visitors (000)   Rank Property Unique Visitors (000)
  Total Internet Users 164,961        
1 Yahoo! Sites 116,321   26 Gannett Sites 18,564
2 Time Warner Network 115,829   27 Infospace Network 17,895
3 MSN-Microsoft Sites 111,519   28 Target Corporation 17,193
4 Google Sites 78,649   29 Bank of America 17,181
5 eBay 63,825   30 CareerBuilder LLC 17,066
6 Ask Jeeves 42,341   31 iVillage.com: The Womens Network 16,497
7 Amazon Sites 39,066   32 Classmates.com Sites 16,421
8 CNET Networks 33,494   33 Comcast Corporation 16,099
9 Viacom Online 32,077   34 ESPN 15,994
10 Monster Worldwide 29,918   35 Apple Computer, Inc. 15,910
11 New York Times Digital 29,762   36 United Online, Inc 15,461
12 Walt Disney Internet Group (WDIG) 28,485   37 OVERSTOCK.COM 14,973
13 Verizon Communications Corporation 27,827   38 COOLSAVINGS.COM 14,658
14 Lycos, Inc. 27,326   39 ORBITZ.COM 14,401
15 Intermix Media 26,672   40 News Corp. Online 14,257
16 Weather Channel, The 25,233   41 Shopzilla.com Sites 13,972
17 Vendare Media - New.net Sites 24,180   42 Adobe Sites 13,896
18 AT&T Properties 23,158   43 Ticketmaster 13,832
19 Expedia Travel 22,962   44 Cox Enterprises Inc. 13,424
20 Shopping.com Sites 22,637   45 Sony Online 13,090
21 Real.com Network 22,550   46 Travelocity 12,940
22 Trip Network Inc. 20,979   47 Dell 12,913
23 Wal-Mart 19,736   48 SBC Communications 12,871
24 Gorilla Nation Media 19,087   49 E.W. Scripps 12,843
25 Weatherbug.com Property 18,807   50 Macromedia 12,409

TABLE 4
 

Ad Focus Ranking
April 2005
Total U.S. Home, Work and University Internet Users
Source: Comscore Media Metrix
Rank Property Unique Visitors (000) Reach %   Rank Property Unique Visitors (000) Reach %
  Total Internet Users 164,961 100%          
1 Advertising.com** 127,976 78%   26 MaxOnline** 20,065 12%
2 Yahoo! 114,803 70%   27 CNET 19,524 12%
3 Fastclick** 114,798 70%   28 CareerBuilder Network 18,956 11%
4 MSN 97,042 59%   29 Netscape 18,761 11%
5 Vendare Media - TrafficMarketplace** 86,680 53%   30 WeatherBug 18,617 11%
6 AOL 85,991 52%   31 Disney Online 17,502 11%
7 GOOGLE.COM 75,915 46%   32 CHEAPTICKETS.COM 16,827 10%
8 Casale Media Network** 75,378 46%   33 iVillage.com: The Womens Network 16,497 10%
9 YAHOO.COM Home Page 72,121 44%   34 Claria Applications 16,416 10%
10 Tribal Fusion** 69,608 42%   35 CLASSMATES.COM 16,415 10%
11 EBAY.COM 60,366 37%   36 REAL.COM 16,090 10%
12 ValueClick Media** 55,665 34%   37 ESPN 15,994 10%
13 MSN.COM Home Page 53,324 32%   38 Travelocity All 15,897 10%
14 BURST! Media** 49,175 30%   39 WebMD Health Network 15,399 9%
15 24/7 Real Media** 46,197 28%   40 SuperPages Network 14,507 9%
16 Ask Jeeves 42,341 26%   41 ORBITZ.COM 14,401 9%
17 Business.com Network 35,403 21%   42 MONSTER.COM 14,147 9%
18 EBAY.COM Home Page 34,590 21%   43 ClickAgents Network** 13,524 8%
19 Lycos Network 27,176 16%   44 MYSPACE.COM 13,499 8%
20 MSNBC 26,588 16%   45 EA Online Syndicated Games 13,484 8%
21 Vendare Media - New.net Sites 24,180 15%   46 TICKETMASTER.COM 13,028 8%
22 WEATHER.COM 23,610 14%   47 EA Online Games 12,044 7%
23 AOL Business Network 23,599 14%   48 MLB.COM 11,242 7%
24 Expedia Travel 22,962 14%   49 FOX Sports on MSN 11,237 7%
25 CNN 20,904 13%   50 IMDB.COM 11,179 7%

Reach % denotes the percentage of the total Internet population that views a particular entity at least once in April. For instance, Yahoo! was seen by 70 percent of the over 164 million Internet users in April. The notation “**”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, 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



 

More about

Holiday Shopping