July Data is Now Live – Khan Academy, Steam, GQ and More

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summer camp

Image from: Summer Camp / Shutterstock

July data is now live and available in Compete PRO! July was a busy month on the Internet, and it shows in our Monthly Fast Movers. Topping the chart is non-profit educational tool, KhanAcademy.org, posting an impressive 128% month-over-month (MoM) growth. Part of this explosive growth can likely be attributed to two major partnership announcements in July. In the month of July, Google tapped Khan Academy and a number of other educational companies to put together sessions for its inaugural free summer program, Camp Google, aimed at getting kids to learn through interactive science activities. Additionally, Hyatt Hotels announced a partnership with Khan Academy intended to expand educational opportunities for their employees, their families, and communities where Hyatt is active. Khan Academy will also be working with Hyatt to develop content and courses specifically for people in hospitality careers. Not only did KhanAcademy.org expand its reach through unique visitors in July, it also increased engagement with the website, reflected in an over 15% MoM increase in visits per person, nearly 3% MoM increase in average stay, and a 15% MoM increase in pages per visit.

Popular digital distribution engine for gaming, Steam, also had a big month with SteamPowered.com growing over 90% MoM. A big part of this growth can likely be attributed to some big video game launches in July, including an installment in the massively popular Magic the Gathering game series. We can see the impact that the release of Magic Duels had on SteamPowered.com by looking at incoming traffic to the site from Wizards.com (the publisher’s site for Magic Duels). Referrals from Wizards.com to SteamPowered.com increased by 2,029% in July, making Wizards.com the 34th highest site sending traffic to SteamPowered.com in July.

Lastly, GQ made a big splash in July with their controversial comedy issue featuring a risqué photo shoot starring Amy Schumer and characters from Star Wars. Unique visitors to the site grew 87% MoM and over 200% year-over-year (YoY). As is often the case when traffic increases so dramatically (especially when growth is specifically tied to one event), engagement has a tendency to drop. Engagement stats for GQ.com were no exception in this case as pages per visit and visits per person dropped sharply and average stay remained flat. Over the last 90 days, Amy Schumer-related keywords have topped the list of search referrals to GQ.com behind only the branded keyword “GQ,” equaling roughly 2% of all search referrals to GQ.com.

july fast movers

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August 12th 2015 News

June Top 50: Movies and Media Make Their Mark

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movies

Image from: Movies / Shutterstock

Get Out Your Popcorn:

Everyone loves a good movie – especially when it includes a trip to the theater with cushy seats and an overwhelming amount of popcorn! Let’s dig in: For the month of June, IMDB.com (24) grew 15% month over month (MoM) in Unique Visitors. With several major movie releases, I don’t think the growth comes as a surprise to anyone. Films like Jurassic World, Ted 2, Entourage, Insidious, and others had fans running to their nearest theaters, but not before some quick research into the films.

The hype around Jurassic World was big leading up to its release – as a keyword, ‘Jurassic World’ finished with the second highest Search Referral Share to IMDB.com. Facebook, YouTube & Twitter were all top 10 incoming traffic sites – showing just how successful the social integration and promotion was leading up to the film’s release.

If you’re like me and never actually make it to the theater to see new movies when they come out, there’s always Netflix (27) – who, for the month, also grew over 15%. This time of year is traditionally the off-season for live TV series fans, so June was a great chance to catch up on old shows and movies from the comfort of your own home.

Making The Headlines:

Another area of growth was the news and media industry. Sites including CNET.com (43), BuzzFeed.com (35), WashingtonPost.com (39), BusinessInsider.com (31), & CNN.com (28) all finished in the top 10 for MoM growth. The industry as a whole was very busy during the month of June. From current events to sports, news outlets played a pivotal role in relaying the information that people wanted and needed to hear. For one, the U.S. Supreme Court decision for marriage equality and the coverage surrounding was a significant milestone. Secondly, several major sporting events including the Stanley Cup Finals, NBA Finals, The Belmont Stakes, and the U.S. Open were all big content resources for media companies in June.

It’s also worth noting that The Washington Post had their largest month of Unique Visitors in the past 2 years – 29.1 million UVs in June 2015 vs. 12.4 million in June 2014, and 9.1 million in June 2013. The same pattern also holds true for CNN.com and BusinessInsider.com.

It will be interesting to continue to monitor these sites through the rest of summer and find out who might make the list next month!!

For full access to June data, get started with Compete PRO today!

Rank Domain Unique Visitors MoM Growth
1 google.com 183,204,204 1.71%
2 youtube.com 169,003,703 5.47%
3 facebook.com 160,652,395 5.95%
4 yahoo.com 150,090,198 -6.51%
5 amazon.com 121,217,356 -0.74%
6 wikipedia.org 118,667,554 10.80%
7 live.com 103,569,748 12.19%
8 twitter.com 88,093,927 0.09%
9 bing.com 86,561,794 14.41%
10 ebay.com 67,235,134 7.24%
11 blogspot.com 64,623,168 8.93%
12 wordpress.com 57,914,237 2.54%
13 msn.com 54,362,091 8.54%
14 craigslist.org 52,580,191 8.87%
15 linkedin.com 52,400,339 -4.96%
16 apple.com 52,219,770 6.01%
17 go.com 50,687,106 5.62%
18 instagram.com 50,317,474 6.16%
19 huffingtonpost.com 48,204,371 4.99%
20 forbes.com 48,136,118 6.19%
21 walmart.com 48,069,593 4.16%
22 paypal.com 45,633,342 -1.08%
23 microsoft.com 45,456,473 -2.02%
24 imdb.com 45,218,903 15.45%
25 tumblr.com 44,822,585 20.45%
26 pinterest.com 44,694,901 -2.26%
27 netflix.com 43,981,502 15.03%
28 cnn.com 42,942,770 14.13%
29 yelp.com 40,473,424 25.01%
30 about.com 39,675,726 -11.24%
31 businessinsider.com 34,685,255 14.30%
32 weather.com 34,372,933 5.62%
33 adobe.com 32,680,587 6.05%
34 bestbuy.com 31,811,755 13.81%
35 buzzfeed.com 31,808,175 18.50%
36 wikihow.com 31,657,703 12.99%
37 chase.com 31,111,599 -4.58%
38 homedepot.com 29,411,770 -1.28%
39 washingtonpost.com 29,172,575 17.88%
40 usatoday.com 29,088,732 2.93%
41 target.com 27,746,850 0.37%
42 dropbox.com 27,457,087 3.79%
43 cnet.com 27,425,623 22.62%
44 webmd.com 26,707,813 9.11%
45 tripadvisor.com 26,690,295 10.27%
46 dailymail.co.uk 26,135,911 10.27%
47 zillow.com 24,781,612 -10.63%
48 imgur.com 24,696,171 12.22%
49 foxnews.com 23,535,468 2.88%
50 myspace.com 23,347,811 -26.03%

July 25th 2015 News

June Data is Now Live – Women’s World Cup and E3 Drive Traffic Surges

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women world cup 2015

Image from: World Cup 2015 / Shutterstock

June data is now live and available in the newly redesigned Compete PRO! If you haven’t logged into the tool yet to see the new facelift, now’s the time to check it out. We’re very excited about and proud of the new Compete PRO and we hope to continue to improve the product with your guidance and feedback.

All that being said, let’s jump into June’s monthly Fast Movers. The FIFA Women’s World Cup blew away the rest of the Fast Movers this month, with two World Cup-related sites making it into the top ten (FIFA.com and ESPNFC.us). FIFA.com saw over 500% month-over-month (MoM) growth in June thanks to the World Cup, and while June wasn’t its largest traffic month in the last two years (June 2014 saw 4.6 million unique visitors compared to June 2015’s 3.4 million), people returned more often in-month to check coverage of the event (visits per person were up to 2.58 last month). While people across the United States tuned into World Cup updates on FIFA.com over the course of the entire month of June, we can see that the largest spike in American visitors came on the day of the championship game featuring the USA and Japan. On July 5th, the day of the championship game, 0.85% of the entire U.S. Internet browsing population visited FIFA.com. Additionally, using Compete PRO, we can see that nine out of the top ten search referrals sending traffic to FIFA.com were related to the World Cup.

Another big winner with web traffic in June was the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). Popular gaming publication, PCGamer.com, garnered a lot of traffic related to games that were announced at the event resulting in a 134% MoM increase in unique visitors. One of the most popular and highly anticipated games that was talked about at E3 would be the fifth major installment in Bethesda Game Studios’ Fallout series, Fallout 4. The impact on PCGamer.com is clear as 0.98% of all search referrals to the site over the last 90 days came from the keyword “fallout 4.” Running a keyword report for “fallout 4” reveals that 0.66% of everyone in the U.S. that searches for “fallout 4” end up on PCGamer.com, making it the #20 most popular destination for the term.

Monthly Fast Movers June 2015

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July 11th 2015 News

You’re About to See More Instant Articles on Facebook

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Back in May, Facebook announced its Instant Articles initiative – basically a program to get major publications like the New York Times, NBC News, and The Atlantic to let Facebook host their content. Since then, Facebook has published a handful of these native Instant Articles. Now, it’s about to ramp up. The Wall Street Journal quotes the ubiquitous sources familiar …

The post You’re About to See More Instant Articles on Facebook appeared first on WebProNews.

June 25th 2015 Facebook, News, Social Media

May Data is Now Live – Flower Sites Bloom for Mother’s Day

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flowers on blue

Image from: Flowers / Shutterstock

May data is now live and available in Compete PRO. With May data comes the annual analysis on the impact that our favorite holiday celebrating moms has on the Internet, and this year was no exception. While ProFlowers.com is one of the biggest sites featured in the Fast Movers list this month, 1800Flowers.com stole the show in terms of flower sites seeing exceptional month-over-month (MoM) growth. Another potentially good sign for 1800Flowers is that not only did the average stay on their site increase by 44% year-over-year (YoY), it’s also been consistently higher than usual going back to December 2014. This could mean that 1800Flowers’ customers are more engaged than ever. Pages per visit have also been high as well, potentially indicating that 1800Flowers customers are shopping around more through their selection to find the best gift for mom.

While visits per person actually decreased a bit for 1800Flowers.com (perhaps shoppers found everything needed on the first trip), visits per person increased 8% MoM for FTD.com. This could potentially mean that FTD shoppers are engaging in more cross-shopping behavior than 1800Flowers’ shoppers, or it could be that users came back for more throughout the month.

Interesting to note is that average stay for ProFlowers.com (with the exception of January this year) is the highest it’s ever been, hopefully signaling a positive engagement trend for the company.

Monthly Fast Movers May 2015

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June 12th 2015 News

May Top 50: Apples to Apples, News Making News

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Top 50

Image from: Top 50 / Shutterstock

Data for the month of May is now live for Compete PRO users! Per usual, the data has spoken and we listened – compiling some of the most compelling stories out of the top 50 websites over last month.

Apples to Apples?

Apple.com (15) grew month-over-month (MoM) by 2.1% and had 49.3 million unique visitors during this May. This boost could be attributed to the Apple Watch, which is currently only available via online order. But this is only one popular product, in an army of many devices and applications that people are still actively searching for. In fact, search referrals over the past three months show iTunes, Macbook, Apple TV, iPhone 6, and iPad all as top 15 keywords driving traffic to Apple.com. This just shows even though the Apple Watch is an incredibly buzz-worthy topic, Apple’s other products are still in the consumers’ mind.

News Making the News

The clear trend for online news sources in the top 50 was growth. Huffington Post (22), Forbes (24), Business Insider (35), Washington Post (46), and Daily Mail (49) were recorded to have monthly percentage increases of 5.9%, 12.8%, 7.9%, 3.2%, and 7.5%. This is clearly a positive sign for some heavy-hitters in the news publishing industry – an industry that has found a new home through digital mediums. I think it will be interesting to see if the websites can retain their audience and boost loyalty.

If you want access to all the new data and don’t have a subscription to Compete PRO follow here! The full list of top 50 domains is below!

Rank Domain Unique Visitors MoM Growth
1 google.com 180,119,829 0.38%
2 yahoo.com 160,548,593 -1.29%
3 youtube.com 160,237,741 0.14%
4 facebook.com 151,627,699 4.35%
5 amazon.com 122,121,794 2.60%
6 wikipedia.org 107,102,922 2.59%
7 live.com 92,314,130 3.51%
8 twitter.com 88,017,755 -1.32%
9 bing.com 75,660,441 0.31%
10 ebay.com 62,698,198 1.29%
11 blogspot.com 59,325,564 11.87%
12 wordpress.com 56,477,161 4.03%
13 linkedin.com 55,137,455 6.24%
14 msn.com 50,084,799 5.33%
15 apple.com 49,257,124 2.13%
16 craigslist.org 48,294,458 4.89%
17 go.com 47,989,229 5.91%
18 instagram.com 47,399,634 0.39%
19 microsoft.com 46,391,762 1.61%
20 walmart.com 46,147,550 5.29%
21 paypal.com 46,132,137 -1.85%
22 huffingtonpost.com 45,913,039 5.91%
23 pinterest.com 45,727,686 -1.96%
24 forbes.com 45,331,121 12.82%
25 about.com 44,700,347 -0.72%
26 imdb.com 39,167,985 8.79%
27 netflix.com 38,234,210 4.93%
28 cnn.com 37,626,496 11.01%
29 tumblr.com 37,213,253 1.02%
30 chase.com 32,603,462 1.96%
31 weather.com 32,542,704 9.99%
32 yelp.com 32,375,593 3.49%
33 myspace.com 31,565,047 22.83%
34 adobe.com 30,814,957 4.02%
35 businessinsider.com 30,346,292 7.93%
36 homedepot.com 29,794,346 15.35%
37 usatoday.com 28,260,279 6.92%
38 wikihow.com 28,018,135 1.38%
39 bestbuy.com 27,952,511 6.77%
40 zillow.com 27,727,815 4.89%
41 target.com 27,644,291 2.52%
42 buzzfeed.com 26,841,618 -11.19%
43 dropbox.com 26,454,211 -0.80%
44 answers.com 25,507,831 10.85%
45 bankofamerica.com 25,108,496 5.22%
46 washingtonpost.com 24,747,472 3.23%
47 webmd.com 24,478,600 3.85%
48 tripadvisor.com 24,204,276 7.50%
49 dailymail.co.uk 23,702,701 5.11%
50 reddit.com 23,002,159 -5.53%

June 12th 2015 apple, News

April Data is Now Live – The Masters, ProFlowers, and More

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putting green

Image from: Putting Green / Shutterstock

April data is now live and available in Compete PRO. Diving right into our Monthly Fast Movers, the Masters Tournament dominated the growth landscape with 1020% month-over-month (MoM) growth, beating last year’s unique visitor count, but still trailing behind the wildly successful 2013. While the unique visitor spike wasn’t too outlandish given the usual growth of Masters.com around tournament time, growth in loyalty/engagement metrics like page views, average stay, visits per person, and attention was significantly better than usual; page views say 161.66% year-over-year (YoY) growth, average stay saw 86.86% YoY growth, visits per person grew by 40.41% YoY, and attention grew by 107.50% YoY. Perhaps the news around Jordan Spieth winning the tournament, the second youngest player to ever do so, helped fuel US attention for the golf tournament.

Like last year, ProFlowers.com saw significant growth in February with consumers planning Mother’s Day presents in advance. However, unlike last year, the site actually saw a decline in unique visitors year-over-year. We’ll need to keep an eye on the usual Mother’s Day spike in May, but if April is an early indicator, ProFlowers may need to increase their marketing efforts next year to stay competitive in the gift market. Using Compete PRO, we can see that 4 of the top 15 keywords driving traffic to ProFlowers.com were related to discounts or coupon codes, so it would be interesting to understand the average order value of ProFlowers.com as compared to their close competitors.

With the spring tourism season fully upon us, StarwoodHotels.com makes a strong move into the Monthly Fast Movers with 177% MoM growth. Interestingly, visits per person and pages per visit are both down since March, so the influx of new visitors may be less engaged than Starwood’s loyal customers.

Monthly Fast Movers April 2015

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May 21st 2015 News

Emoji Added to Title Tags for SEO Purposes

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emoji-expediaSo remember last week when Google added full color emoji characters to their search results?

Yeah, well travel portal Expedia has taken the new functionality a step further by adding emoji characters to their title tags in an apparent attempt to gain attention in the search results. Pretty clever, no?

For some reason, the emoji aren’t displaying in the Google.com results showing from NZ, so it may be that only some data-centers have the feature supported right now, but you can see an example in the image above and others via the previous link.

It would be fascinating to know if the move has increased click-through and by what percentage. I would imagine it would be having some positive effect, similar to the impact author photos had in search results for articles and blog posts using the now defunct Google Authorship tag (yeah, thanks for pulling that one Google).

The question now is: how long before I get asked by a client to add emoji to their title tags and how much can I justify charging for adding smilies to HTML code? And more importantly, how long before Google pull the pin on support for emoji in title tags after millions of SEOs start copying Expedia?

Only time will tell.

POSTSCRIPT: In a Google Webmaster Hangout today, John Mueller confirmed that it is likely Google will pull support for emoji in search results in the next few months. Thanks to Jennifer Slegg for the heads up.

 

 

May 4th 2015 Google, News, SEO

Facebook Tweaks Cause Concern Among Marketers, but Not Necessarily Panic

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Facebook today unveiled changes to the way its news feed algorithm distributes page posts, giving more credence to posts by users' friends than from publishers. For instance, news articles with many likes and comments have typically appeared high up in users' news feeds, but that is being reduced to a degree in favor of non-business content. 

While the ramifications are unclear, it has publishers everywhere wondering if one of their key traffic drivers may soon send fewer users to their sites.

"It feels like they are trying to brace publishers for a decline," said Jason Kint, CEO of Digital Content Next (formerly Online Publishers Association), which includes 65 notable members like Conde Nast, The New York Times, ESPN and USA Today. "But like with any of these announcements, it's kind of a black box, so we don't really know. We'll watch it play out over time."

John Donahue is co-founder of White Lightning + Judge's Son, which helps various publishers maximize their buzzier stories with paid media and other tactics. Donahue said Facebook reach stats and link clickthroughs on the platform were down for some of his clients almost immediately after the changes went into effect today. Though, like Kint, he cautioned against over-reacting to the tweaks.

"The most irresponsible response is to freak out and assume the worst," Donahue said. "The prudent response is to ensure we wait a week or two to allow user acceptance and adoption of the new news feed [information architecture], and then ascertain whether or not the content we are programming is compelling enough in its new downstream position to drive the reach and traffic we have come accustomed to. If I were a betting man, I would say that this will cause publishers to focus on less content that is higher quality." 

Indeed, Facebook's moves could prove to be less negative for publishers with pages that have the most attractive information. Though, the development raises a question: If publishers' traffic dwindles materially, will they buy more Facebook ads to maintain their readership numbers?

"They'll generally go try something else," Kint predicted. "Facebook wants to be a place for news and high-quality content. And the business models have to make sense. The traffic has to be there, or publishers will go to Twitter, Snapchat or whatever the next distribute point is."

Publishers will be affected differently, case by case, as a result of today's algorithm changes. For example, a content maker whose Facebook fans happen to "like" fewer publishers' pages compared to the average user could see greater traffic. Such users will now see more posts from the same publisher.

"Previously, we had rules in place to prevent you from seeing multiple posts from the same source in a row," said a Facebook post co-authored by product manager Max Eulenstein and user experience researcher Lauren Scissors. "With this update, we are relaxing this rule. Now if you run out of content but want to spend more time in news feed, you'll see more."

Brian Selander, evp of Whistle Sports, which teams up with millennial YouTube and Vine stars for sports-related entertainment videos, said, "Some creators might get hit a small bit while others could see a bounce. We track each page and creator and will be adjusting as we see some impact."

Everything stated by the Menlo Park, Calif.-based tech giant suggests the goal of the changes was to improve user experience rather than increasing ad sales. Aaron Cuker, CEO of the Cuker Agency, is taking the social media behemoth at its word.

"Facebook's advertising program is working really well," he said. "With more attention being put on ads, they don't want users to start missing out on important posts from friends and family."

At the same time, if major publishers see traffic dips—which Donahue indicated is quite possible—it might make them consider ramping up on paid Facebook promos.

But Brian Fitzgerald, president of Evolve Media, probably won't be one of them. He said his properties Crave Online and Totally Her get 35 percent of their traffic from people directly typing in the URL, and it doesn't sound as if he's about to start paying for more eyeballs.

"We never invested in a YouTube channel strategy, nor have we paid for likes or bought social traffic," said Fitzgerald. "You cannot build a good publishing business where you are too heavily reliant on third parties [like Facebook] for audience or revenue. …We rely on our readers to share and push our content out to their friends. That model isn't broken."   

Lastly, it's not the first time Facebook has altered how content is distributed via its news feed. During 2014, Facebook tweaked its algorithm to try to reduce "clickbait" headlines and made other changes that negatively affected viral sites like Distractify and Elite Daily.






April 22nd 2015 Facebook, News, Social Media, Technology

Yahoo and Microsoft Extend Search Partnership

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YahooBingLogoIn a joint release issued today, Microsoft and Yahoo announced that they will be amending and extending the strategic search partnership they originally signed in 2009.

The renewed partnership has two major amendments:

1) Yahoo will have increased flexibility to provide search functionality to other platforms, on both desktop and mobile search as the partnership is non-exclusive. Yahoo will continue serving search results and Bing Ads to desktop search audiences.

2) Microsoft will become the exclusive sales force for ads delivered by the Bing Ads platform, while Yahoo will continue to be the exclusive sales force for Yahoo’s Gemini ads platform.

The revenue split of the original partnership appears to remain unchanged. Yahoo will continue to receive a share of the profits delivered to Microsoft via Bing Ads displayed within Yahoo search results.

The partnership extension clearly indicates the joint venture has been a profitable one for both companies and a tactic that continues to help each of the companies compete with the market Goliath that is Google.

April 17th 2015 bing, News, yahoo