Sunday Series: Fashion Enthusiasts Turn to Online Magazines

No Comments »

Fashion Enthusiast

Image from: Fashion / Shutterstock

The Fashion Enthusiast category saw growth in December across all market share metrics: unique visitors, visits, page views, total time spent, and attention. In addition to impressive monthly growth, yearly change in unique visitors saw a boost of 66.35%. So what is driving this growth in digital fashion? My initial guess was the increased popularity of ugly Christmas sweaters, but after reviewing the Compete PRO data, a few other possibilities stuck out.

One source of growth could be a recent push from fashion periodicals. December fast movers consisted of massive fashion editorials, (#2 in rank), (#4), (#5), (#8), and (#10). Considering the boosts to unique visitors M-O-M and Y-O-Y, perhaps consumers are responding to digital media strategies deployed by these print giants.

At the beginning of 2013, neither Vanity Fair, nor Esquire, nor Elle saw above 1 million unique visitors. Our data shows that by December 2014, unique visitors had grown to 4.3, 3.1, and 2.3 million respectively. These numbers show that the digital audience for the category is quickly rising and could further the notion that these magazines are embracing digital initiatives.

Fashion Enthusiast Site Compare

Other origins of growth could be social sharing. The greatest source of traffic for the Fashion Enthusiast category, both incoming and outgoing, was Facebook. Posting on the platform serves as an excellent source of exposure for fashion brands. These magazines have millions of Facebook likes, and the platform is generating traffic directly to the site, highlighting the opportunity for social media efforts to continue to drive online growth.

Incoming Traffic

One other origin of growth to the Fashion Enthusiasts category could be the evolution of online shopping. A website like (#3) has roughly 3,500,000 visitors, an increase of 21% from the previous month. This site offers consumers the ability to search the web for products in many categories, including fashion. Shopping online offers the consumer at-home convenience and, in many cases, a wider product selections.
The numbers tell us that digital is growing for the Fashion category. It is not so much a change in content that is driving the increase, but rather a variation in the delivery through digital platforms. As the months progress, we will monitor any growth and continue to identify industry trends.


January 26th 2015 News

The Weekly Pulse

No Comments »

Weekly Pulse

Mobile is mobile! And by that I mean mobile is on the move and rising fast. In conjunction with our recent study, “Getting Mobile Right,” we have dedicated this weekly Compete Pulse to articles focused on mobile.

Getting Mobile Right

The data can’t be denied and mobile can’t be ignored. Marketers looking to drive brand growth can utilize mobile marketing, but should not delve into this venture blindly. Read our report to recognize what your brand has to do to Get Mobile Right.

The New Mall is Mobile – 6 Ways to Maximize Conversion

ClickZ recognized that the next big shift is to m-commerce. The move towards this medium with heavy access to shoppers is certainly shaking up marketers. Don’t be behind the curve! Take advantage of these methods to maximize ROI within mobile and cross-channel platforms.

The Digital Economy Is The New “App Economy”

Digital may soon become synonymous with ”app,” as mobile gains ground in the mind of the consumer. This piece by Forbes highlighted that during the holiday season one thing was especially clear: a rise in not only online shopping, but also mobile traffic and purchases.

10 Mobile Marketing Trends For 2015

By this point we know you’ve been bombarded by tons of predictions and trends for the New Year, but we especially wanted to turn your attention to this slideshow by CMO. Check out the insights that can help advance your mobile strategy.

January 25th 2015 News

The people’s predictions 2015 – tell us what you think 2015 will hold for the ad industry?

No Comments »

At Microsoft we’re privileged to play host to a highly informed and insightful community of followers. Ranging from a broad mix of people at all levels in the advertising industry, from media planners to technology enthusiasts and CEOs. 

After the hype around 2015 predictions from industry experts who get to give their views across the media, we’re also interested in everyone’s views not theirs alone…welcome to the people’s predictions!

Have your say by sharing via twitter or emailing us what you think 2015 will hold for the advertising industry. If you tweet be sure to include @MSAdvertisingUK and #peoplespredictions, or email your predictions to

We’ll choose 5 submissions at random by Friday 30th January at 12pm GMT to win a Microsoft goodie bag*.

*Winners must be based in the UK

January 20th 2015 News

Sunday Series: Battle of the Lyrics

No Comments »

lyrics image

Image from: Lyrics-Image / Shutterstock

The emotional teachings of Biz Markie’s, “Just a Friend,” will forever be engraved in my mind. Every time the song plays, I can sing along flawlessly. I know every word, with special emphasis on the beautiful, in-pitch chorus. This perfection however, is a complete deviation from the norm. Most people like me rely on lyrical websites that ranked among the top domains for the Music Category. and were the top two websites for unique visitors among other music websites. In the Music Category, AZLyrics recorded 9,055,216 million unique visitors, while MetroLyrics posted numbers of 5,933,605. MetroLyrics saw positive growth of 18.02% in the MoM (month over month) analysis. AZLyrics experienced a drop from the previous month by -2.82%. Increased traffic from AZLyrics to MetoLyrics went up by 26.57% and may have contributed to one’s regression and the other’s development.

metro vs az

One thing that could be contributing to these results is the presentation and quality of content. AZLyrics has a somewhat outdated, scrambled interface that makes the landscape much harder to explore. A lot of the page is dominated by ads, so that the content appears more cluttered. MetroLyrics has an incredibly clean design that is easy to navigate. It also has additional features like a news section and a top 100 list. These are competitive advantages that could be driving traffic.

Despite the monthly growth for MetroLyrics, AZLyrics continues to be the top dog not only for sheer amount of unique visitors. For what is probably the most important keyword, “Lyrics,” AZLyrics holds the number one spot with a share of 33.95%. Also behind at 11.30%, MetroLyrics came in at the number three position with 7.71% of the volume. Maybe AZLyrics’ simplicity is driving its success. Many people who search for lyrics want just that; the extra add-ons to MetroLyrics may simply serve as distractions to some.

When AZLyrics’ traffic goes up, it seems like MetroLyrics’ traffic goes down and vice versa. For the past two years this has been the trend for these two websites. MetroLyrics has never surpassed AZLyrics in unique visitors, so it will be interesting to see if and when trends may reverse.

fast movers december

January 19th 2015 News

The Weekly Pulse

No Comments »

Weekly Pulse

We’re looking out for the small and mid-sized businesses too, so we decided to comb the Internet for you! We have gathered the top articles with helpful tips and ideas to leverage in your upcoming digital campaigns.

Small to Mid-Sized Businesses:

Competing with larger competitors is an uphill battle in almost all areas of business, yet there may remain one even playing field. Some contend that the digital marketing arena is still a place where having the biggest budget does not fully equate to the best successes. Find out why!

If you are trying to get your business on the digital map, utilize local SEO. Create a strategy to make your presence known on the major search engines and among your potential customers. Look over these 6 approaches worth deploying.

Digital marketing can seem like a vast, endless environment to those first entering. Many small business owners may find themselves as small fish in a big pond, but there are tons of ways to avoid this mentality that can help solidify your initiatives. Read all the details.

Top executives discuss the notion of “The Internet of Things,” as appliances are becoming more interconnected to the web and one another. Stay on top of one of the most important trends emerging from CES this year.

January 18th 2015 News

Sunday Series: US Arrival for Alibaba Impacts Online Retail Landscape

Comments Off

Online Retail

Image from: Online Retail / Shutterstock

Alibaba steadily dominates the Chinese online retail market. During 2014, it generated some massive US attention with its IPO in September. By November its website was posting steady growth in US traffic, but by December there was a definitive cool off. Furthermore the retailer is still nowhere near Auction Site, and Mass Merchant, Will Alibaba be able to rise to the challenge in 2015?

According to Compete PRO data, generated about 4-6 million monthly unique visitors from the US, until September, the month it went public. During September, quickly broke the 6 million mark again for the first time in over 9 months. Over the next two months, it saw sustained growth passing 7.6 and 8.5 million, respectively. The IPO may have created some immediate interest, but the website currently has dipped back down to 7.76 million unique visitors in December.

Microsoft-Excel-alibaba-12-2012_12-2014.csv.png" rel="lightbox[39803]">Alibaba Unique Vistitors

In November, Alibaba posted impressive month-over-month (MoM) growth of +11.59%, whereas Amazon and eBay saw less than half of that at +5.02% and +4.08%, respectively. However, data points in December show Alibaba dropping -8.67%, while Amazon and eBay continued to grow by +12.68% and +6.36% each. The differences between December and November consumer activity paint two rather different pictures for the website. saw some promising incoming traffic increases coming from, (+18.32%) and, (+21.25%) in November. These numbers indicate how people are coming directly to Alibaba right after they access Amazon or eBay. It seemed as though Alibaba was starting to gain some ground in the mind of the consumer, but this trend has reversed. In December, incoming traffic from Amazon and eBay decreased by -10.46% and -11.76%, respectively.

Incoming Traffic Alibaba

Ranked at #1 for incoming traffic to in December is Here, Alibaba saw massive influxes of traffic. Importantly, email and translate subdomains of the search engine saw solid increases, which could reveal vital signs of diffusion from China to the US. Nonetheless, certain data shows a clear disconnect between US consumers and Alibaba. Online retailers in the US should typically see spikes in unique visitors around December from massive increases in holiday shopping. These spikes are present for Amazon and eBay, but Alibaba actually saw a drop. This indicates that its brand recognition and ability to compete with larger US-based online retailers is still in the very nascent stages for the US market. It will be interesting to see if the “holiday spike” will be present in 2015 and which other typical seasonal US trends Alibaba may experience.

The reality of the situation is that Alibaba, for now, is far from the well-established Amazon and eBay in the US. The latest monthly metrics recorded unique visitors to Amazon at about 144 million and eBay at 75.6 million, as compared to Alibaba’s 7.8 million. It will be interesting to see in the coming months if will return to its growth stages, as it gains more of a foothold in the US.

2015-01-09 13_06_35-Microsoft Excel - Alibaba-Amazon-eBay_01_2015.csv

January 12th 2015 News

The Weekly Compete Pulse

Comments Off


It’s 2015! Let’s kick the New Year off right with some treats: our top 4 handpicked digital marketing articles from around the web. Feel free to give us feedback in the comments section below.

Millward Brown Digital and Snapchat Partner to Provide Measurement of Platform’s First Advertising

Millward Brown Digital recently fielded an exclusive study on Snapchat advertising effectiveness. Check out the press release for all the details!

Here are the 10 Most innovative Digital Ad Products of 2014

Many digital marketers were able to reap benefits from these new ad technologies last year. As the internet becomes more interconnected over different mediums, Facebook, Google, and Snapchat all presented us with unique ways to advertise. You should definitely read over this article to see if your business is fully utilizing them.

Move over Mobile, 2015 is the Year of the Consumer

An interesting, compelling argument is making waves around marketing circles. That is, perhaps marketers may want to readjust their focus back towards understanding consumers, more so than the devices they use. In other words, marketers need to find the right balance between what’s behind the screen versus what’s on the screen. A fascinating take here.

Search Engines Are About “News

News dominates search engine results dictating a possible shift from keyword focus to news worthy content. Look over this piece for more information and a look at the top ten trending google searches.

Google Gives Adwords an Omni-Channel Injection

Google is unrolling two new advancements that will help search marketers. AdWords reporting metrics will be advanced by bettering measurement for in store visits and estimated total conversions. Successfully leveraged by PetSmart, additional info on Store Visits will show which sources are driving customers to your business. Check out the article to learn more.

January 11th 2015 News

December Data is Now Live – NORAD Santa Tracker, Gifts, and Greeting Cards

Comments Off

2014 2015 new year signs

Image from: New Year Signs / Shutterstock

Happy New Year! December data is now live and available in Compete PRO. As we’ve seen for the last two years, topping the Monthly Fast Movers list for December was NORAD’s official Santa-tracking website, While not as many unique visitors headed to the site in December 2014 as they did in 2013, the significant amount of visitors that did seemed to be more engaged than past years. Average pages per visit for were the highest they’ve been in years at 9.74, year-over-year (YoY) growth of nearly 250%. Average stay was also up considerably YoY at 7 minutes and 19 seconds, more than 28% higher than 2013. On its peak day, Christmas Eve (December 24th), nearly 1.5% of the entire U.S. Internet browsing population visited the site. Interestingly, Google’s Santa Tracker seems to be gaining in popularity with 4.1 million unique visitors in December, but the search term “where is santa” is still dominated by NORAD’s site (receiving 33.75% of referrals from that query over the last 90 days).

Retail gift sites,, and all had stellar months of growth as people shopped for last-minute holiday gifts. All three sites saw their highest traffic in terms of unique visitors in years. While beat out the other two sites in terms of unique visitors, dominated every other metric including visits, page views, average stay, visits per person, pages per visit, and attention. Egreetings also had a very successful month with,, and all making it into December’s monthly fast movers.

Lastly on the Monthly Fast Movers, made a splash with a seemingly healthy boost from people looking to download the controversial comedy, The Interview. The keyword “the interview torrent” drove over 1% of’s total search referrals, making it the 11th highest traffic-driving keyword to the domain over the last 90 days.

Monthly Fast Movers December 2014

One of the most interesting Yearly Fast Movers in December is ride-sharing service, After taking a small dip in traffic in September last year, their impressive growth seems to be back on track with December seeing a 9.37% MoM and a whopping 856.4% YoY increase in unique visitors in December. Since most consumers probably access Uber’s services through mobile apps, it’s interesting to note that it’s likely that many visitors to Uber’s sites are looking to become drivers. The keyword “uber driver” has driven 1.36% of search referrals to over the last 90 days.

Yearly Fast Movers December 2014

If you need early access to the latest month’s data and you’re not a Compete PRO user, start your Compete PRO subscription today to get early data and more!

January 9th 2015 News

2014 UK #Retail #Christmas #Trends by our head of retail @NigelRetail

Comments Off

Last year I predicted 2014 would be a year of increasing personalisation, importance of a multi-channel strategy and more story led marketing

To a large extent we saw some of the trends play out throughout the year, especially at Christmas from brands such as Sainsbury’s, John Lewis and M&S.  However Black Friday brought price firmly to the top of the consumer agenda with many retailers lamenting over the early spike it caused in discounted sales, when what they really wanted was steady sales at a more consistent margin. In fact Black Friday changed retail trading patterns.

Black Friday – the new game changer?

Based on historical data, the 23rd December was forecasted by industry experts to be the peak shopping day, however Black Friday bucked this prediction and saw a peak as consumer rushed to take advantage of heavy discounting. 

A Barclays Bank survey found UK retailers had planned to embrace Black Friday with 65% planning promotions on November 28th. Very owner, Shop Direct, invested almost £1m to promote a week of Black Friday events this year as it sought to woo ‘deal-hungry’ shoppers.  John Lewis saw online traffic on Black Friday between just 7am to 8am that was 14 times more than they received in total on Black Friday last year. 

Fulfilment becomes a differentiator - a “truly Logistics Christmas” 

High profile shopping days such as Black Friday and Manic Monday drove a surge in online sales which, tethered with an increased consumer expectation for convenience, which meant fulfilment had to be flawless to cope with demand.  Andy Street, MD at John Lewis, commented this made this year a “truly Logistics Christmas”.  Consequently, it became apparent who had the reliable back end infrastructure to deliver a smooth front end consumer experience.  Brands such as Amazon, Debenhams, Shop Direct and M&S admitted that Black Friday caused disruption to their delivery networks and some retailers experienced high waiting times for consumers to access their websites.  City Link going into administration on Christmas Eve also created a logistical headache for some brands.  Unsurprisingly consumers increasingly turned towards services such as Click and Collect which for John Lewis this Christmas made up over 50% of e-commerce transactions which was more than for delivery for the first time.

What does this mean for 2015?

The big question is – was Black Friday just a blip or is it here to stay?  More to the point, do UK retailers want it here to stay?  One thing is for sure, 2015 looks like it will be another year of huge transformation in the world of retail.  Price comparison will remain an important barometer but the store format will continue to evolve to reflect growing consumer demand for convenience and service.  One might venture to say the high street will start to be become fashionable again.

Look out for our monthly retail blog this year where we will introduce and discuss the big trends that influencing how UK retailers act and how shoppers behave.  Later this month I will be sharing highlights from The National Retail Federation’s Big Show taking place this week in New York – the biggest retail event on the planet.


Nigel Ashton, Head of Partnerships, Advertising & Online, Microsoft UK

January 9th 2015 News

The Weekly Compete Pulse

Comments Off


Is your digital marketing strategy ready for the New Year? We’ve compiled five of our favorite digital marketing articles from the past week to get you ready to dive into 2015!

Our Predictions For The State Of Digital Marketing 2015

With 2015 just around the corner, hear from four industry experts on how they expect digital marketing to develop in the coming year. Get their take on social, big data, and influencer marketing here.

Using Social Media in 2015 for Ecommerce Marketing

This piece doesn’t exactly sing social media’s praises, but it does give you solid direction for how you can make social work to your benefit next year. Check it out here.

How To Write A Meta Description That Gets Click-Throughs

While meta descriptions don’t directly impact your site rankings, they can indirectly work to improve your SEO. Learn how to improve your click-though rate (and thus, your site ranking) in this piece.

Five Mobile Email Trends to Watch This Holiday Season [Infographic]

We all know that we need to get more engaged with mobile, but just making your emails mobile friendly may not be enough. You need to pay attention to the mobile trends that are in place in order to make the most of your endeavors. Take a look at this infographic to see what’s up in the mobile world.

Can Marketers Overcome Cross-Device Targeting Barriers?

Cross-device targeting is intriguing to advertisers, but its reality is not without challenges. See what Emarketer learned about cross-device targeting in their latest study here.

December 28th 2014 Mobile, News, SEO