Consumer insights

Apple and BlackBerry storm as failures cause embarrassment

Posted on Oct 18 2011 by

Last week both Research In Motion (RIM) and Apple suffered some embarrassing PR thanks to errors in their network and software respectively. Millions of BlackBerry users were denied access to email, Internet and BlackBerry Messenger after a router failure at RIM’s network operations centre.

Correlating search and new auto purchases

Posted on Oct 17 2011 by

As the 2012 automotive models continue to roll out throughout 2011, consumers in the market for a new vehicle are increasingly searching online for automotive makes and models. Online users have increased their share of overall vehicle make and model searches by 37% for the 4 weeks sending October 8, 2011 as compared to the same time frame 2 years ago.

Experian Hitwise and Experian Automotive have been working closely together to bridge the gap between consumers’ automotive interests online and their offline behaviors. During the second quarter of 2011, Ford was the most searched automotive manufacturer brand, with nearly 13% market share of branded automotive searches as compared to 2nd ranked Dodge with 8.4%. Ford also received the greatest number of new car registrations during the same time period, indicating strong interest online along with actual purchases offline.

There was much greater movement in branded searches during the second quarter among other manufacturers, with Kia, Cadillac, BMW, Volkswagen, and Mazda all moving up in rank by 2 spots or more. Searches for Kia showed strong performance in Q2 and jumped two places from 8th to 6th in branded searches, the 12th position last year. Additionally, there was an increase of 18% in new vehicle registrations for Kia in Q2 from the previous quarter.

When comparing market share of branded searches online with new car registration data, the market share both online and offline closely align for most vehicle brands. For Mazda, BMW, Kia, Subaru, and Jeep, the gap between market share of branded searches and market share of new car registrations were minimal, indicating that searches precluded actual purchase. Kia searches accounted for about 4% of the branded manufacturer searches and just over 4% of the new cars registered in the second quarter. The share of new vehicle registrations for Chevrolet and Toyota were both higher than the share of online searches.

The vehicle makes that received the highest relative change in new car registration for the second quarter also increased their share of brand searches substantially, with the exception of a few niche brands such as Lamborghini and Mini. Fiat experienced the largest increase in new car registrations in conjunction with a 72% increase in branded searches in the second quarter versus the previous quarter after their launch of the Fiat 500 in the US.

Thanks to Cristina Bell, Senior Analyst on the Custom Data & Analytics team for today’s analysis.

December and October busiest months for social media

Posted on Oct 11 2011 by

Social media continues to be one of the fastest growing industries online. Between September 2010 and September 2011 visits to Social Networks and Forums have increased by nearly 11% and, if you saw my Internet clock blog last month, social media accounts for nearly a quarter of all time spent online. But when are people engaging with social media the most?

iPhone 5 rumors shaped search activity

Posted on Oct 07 2011 by

On October 4th 2011 Apple announced the addition of the iPhone 4S to its product line which will be available to customers on October 12th. This was likely to the dismay of web users who have been anxiously awaiting Apple to announce that it would be releasing the iPhone 5 instead of an upgrade to the current iPhone.

Kindle Fire searches twice as big as iPad

Posted on Oct 04 2011 by

It was only a couple of months ago that I was blogging about the online battle between the iPad and Kindle. Back in August, iPad dominated the UK search market, with twice as much search volume as the Kindle.

Reaching the “New American Consumer” during the holiday season

Posted on Sep 29 2011 by

One way marketers have responded to this new consumer behavior is evidenced by deeper discount offers being made within email campaigns throughout the holiday season. In email offers, 30% off is the new 20% off. Deeper discounts – of 50% or higher – also increased last year. This trend of higher offers should continue this season and start even sooner. Email marketers relied on heavy end-of-season discounts in 2010.

Stock up on blue paint: Smurfs are Halloween costume favorite

Posted on Sep 28 2011 by

In the lead-up to Halloween, Experian Hitwise data shows searches for variations of “costume” and “costumes” are up about 3% over 2010 (share of search 20 weeks before Halloween through five weeks before Halloween in 2011 vs. 2010). Moreover, as PriceGrabber reports that 73% of American consumers will spend money on a new costume and 50% will purchase Halloween-related décor, the National Retail Federation is anticipating an 18% increase in Halloween-related spending this year over last . This is the perfect time for retailers and content providers to capitalize on web-users’ desire to spend, to save and to get great ideas for Halloween 2011.

Facebook: where we reach out when life happens

Posted on Sep 27 2011 by

For members of the “Facebook Generation”, Facebook has become the de facto conduit for communication when something important occurs in our lives. Yesterday, Mark Zuckerberg revealed further design upgrades at the annual f8 Conference, including “Timeline”, which will be a form of digital biography of our lives and encourages users to see Facebook as a digital home.

In the past, we’d run to a specific person when something big happened in our lives and the world around us – now we have networks of hundreds of people we rush to with news big and small. In March of 2010, Facebook became the largest website by market share of visits and, combined with the Pew Internet & American Life Project’s research that the average adult Facebook user has 229 Facebook friends.

Typically, Facebook’s market share of visits peaks on Saturdays and Sundays according to our data.

But that pattern varies with the occurrence of major news events. Indeed, peaks in traffic to Facebook tend to correlate with major news events and, concurrently, peaks in the News and Media category’s upstream traffic from Facebook. The chart below illustrates the dates over the past nine months when Facebook’s market share of visits had the greatest positive difference in comparison to the average for each weekday.

Peaks in positive variance correlate to major events like “Snowmageddon 2011” (2/2/11) and tornado outbreaks in the US (late April). There are less newsworthy peaks, like New Year’s Day, Memorial Day weekend, the 4th of July and Labor Day weekend; evidently web-users were less inclined to visit news sites after their New Year’s Eve festivities.

Though some jumps in the News and Media category’s upstream from Facebook are merely a natural increase resulting from an increase in Facebook’s market share of visits (e.g. holidays), other peaks in upstream from Facebook further illustrate the site’s success as a major communication channel for web-users during important events.

When examining the peaks in variance for News and Media’s upstream traffic from Facebook alone, the nexus between Facebook and key incidents becomes evident. Weekends may be when Facebook’s share of traffic generally peaks, but when major events happen, web-users turn to Facebook to share information with their communities. As a result, news organizations need to be prepared to capitalize on the influx of new traffic to their sites when major events occur and marketing organizations as a whole could benefit from recognizing that their Facebook ad campaigns may have a wider reach during said time frames.

Thanks to Margot Bonner, Analyst on the Custom Data & Insights team for helping with today’s analysis.

Google+ opens the floodgates to all, market share rockets

Posted on Sep 26 2011 by

Google+ emerged as the third largest site in the Social Network and Forums category last Wednesday, a day after the site went from “invitation-only” to "open access" available to everyone.

Opening access created a massive spike in market share of visits for the site, with a 1269% growth from the week ending September 17th to the week of September 24th. The site also received nearly 15 million total US visits last week.

In just one week, Google+ went from ranking as 54th most visited site in our Social Networking and Forums category to 8th place.

The evolution of Google+’s audience composition from its launch in early July to last week illustrates how quickly the cycle from “Innovator” and “Early Adopter” phase, to the “Early Majority” and “Late Majority” can occur.

In comparison to the online population, Google + continued to over-index for and win a high share of its visits from Mosaic USA 2011 Types which contain “Influencers”, “Early Adopters” and the internet-savvy, like “Bohemian Groove”, “Gotham Blend” and “Progressive Potpourri” ; this indicates that “Early Adopters” still account for a large share of Google+’s traffic.

Yet the week of September 24th also saw a sharp increase in visit share from “Hispanic Harmony”, “Platinum Prosperity” and “Striving Single Scene”, amongst others, shifting the audience profile of Google+. Besides the outlier “Platinum Prosperity”, the unifying factor between these varied groups is their lower to middle income profile. This evolution in audience profile indicates that Google+ may be shifting into the “Early Majority” stage.

Note – the data does not include mobile traffic or traffic from the Google Notification Bar

Thanks to Margot Bonner, Analyst on the Custom Data & Insights team for helping with today’s analysis.

2011 Fantasy Football visits are highest in 3 years

Posted on Sep 23 2011 by

The NFL lockout may have shortened the normal buildup to the NFL season, but once it ended online traffic to NFL-related sites saw a boost. As a result US visits to Fantasy Football sites increased 24% in August 2011 versus August 2010.

Th…