I’ve been very interested to watch how the economic turmoil of recent weeks is affecting trends of visitors to websites and how this might change the media opportunity for my client. New stats, trends and analysis are being published every day, but here is a quick roundup of a few articles that I have seen recently…
1. Online newspapers
NMA reports that: “Online newspapers enjoyed a month of positive growth throughout August, with many showing jumps in traffic in the latest ABCE figures. Guardian maintained top position with over 23m users up over 12% on July, it was followed by closest competitor The Telegraph, which saw a spike in user numbers of over 17% to over 22m. News International’s Times Online went up over 20% up to 19.6m, while The Sun continued to hover around the 15.9m mark.”
This growth is credited not only to the credit-crunch, but also to the Beijing Olympics and the US presidential race. Post Olympics figures for September will be more representative when released.
It is natural that online newspaper traffic should increase during the credit crisis, as so much happens during the day, that morning or afternoon printed publications become old news before they are even read. Online is not only a faster, more timely medium, but it is also mostly free – allowing consumers to increase consumption while cutting the cost of buying a newspaper.
As I’m not a media buyer myself, I don’t know if news sites like these quickly raise their advertising prices in line with these trends, or if their price reviews take a short while to catch up – but I have a cool idea, which I’ll post about later.
2. Job sites
Hitwise reports an unseasonal boom to their category of “UK Employment and training” in the last month. This is likely to be fuelled by the numbers of unfortunate people being made redundant, or fearing it and preparing it.
Although this sector is booming, it is potentially less accessible a media opportunity for some, because of the cost involved. As the IAB reports, “Recruitment is still the biggest sector category spending online with a 32.9% share of online revenues for the first half of 2008”. This means that the CPM of ad space is likely to be high here, with a visitor intent that is quite specific to one goal only – therefore less receptive to additional messages, perhaps?
Also connected to actual and potential redundancies, the professional social networking and CV/Resume site LinkedIn is experiencing a boom, as people visit to tart-up their profiles in prep for looking for a new job. As The Guardian reports: “The number of users from the investment banking industry have doubled in the past 7 weeks, as have the number of users who listed themselves in the financial sector.”
There are a few ad spaces such as MPUs on LinkedIn, but as it is not their primary revenue source (that’ll be paid subscriptions) they don’t offer advertisers that much to choose from. An advertiser would also again need to consider the cost of competing with recruiters for inventory and the sensitivity of the subject too. “Half price sofas at DFS” might not resonate too well with someone that is worried about losing their job!
4. Google docs
As part of the afore-mentioned article from HitWise, they describe how they discovered that Google Docs is the site receiving the most traffic from the search term “CV”. This reveals Google’s innovative strategy to promote their product by ensuring they are found under terms that people could use their product for. EG: Writing a “CV” or drafting a “Letter”. They can then also promote that their alternative to Microsoft Office is “Free” – which will also appeal to cash-strapped business and individuals.
5. Voucher sites
And of course, sites offering vouchers, discounts, deals or just money saving advice continue to boom. So too seem to be the numbers of emails circulating for Pizza Express, GBK, Strada and more offering 2-for-1 vouchers you can print and take to the restaurant. I think that by now everyone knows that these are very deliberate and not leaked at all. But who cares? Consumer gets a bargain and restaurant gets a customer. I consider that a win-win, and a very cost effective one too!