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.

Mobile marketing trends

Posted on Sep 29 2011 by

With more than 80 million mobile internet users in the United States, retailers can really benefit from this communication channel. More and more companies are also offering their own phone apps so customers can search for product information and deals on the go.

Thinking of including unusual discounts in emails? It might be best to keep it simple

Posted on Sep 29 2011 by

If you’ve been keeping a close eye on email offer and subject line trends over the last year, you may have noticed that ‘odd’ or unusual offers, such as 14 percent or 56 percent off, have started to appear more. The offers, such as ‘14% Off Limited Time Only!’, ‘Our weekly deal 71% off of [...]

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…

Top five flash sales tips

Posted on Sep 22 2011 by

Flash Sales are all the rage in email marketing right now — engaging customers more than most other types of sales and promotions. The number of daily deal companies continues to increase and traffic to Flash Sales websites increased more than 128 percent in June 2011 over June of last year according to Experian Hitwise. Flash Sales are more than timely offers.

Gone in 7 seconds

Posted on Sep 21 2011 by

Has all the money you spent on creative, creative strategy or even long-term business strategy paid off? Organizations who put the customer and usability first and the creative second are stealing market share and increasing their conversion rates. By understanding your visitors you can develop strategic messaging and site layouts tailored to the different segments within you visitor universe.

Latest political polls track with online performance for presidential candidates

Posted on Sep 15 2011 by

As Rasmussen and NBC/ WSJ released polling data last week indicating that Rick Perry has pulled ahead of the GOP pack, the candidates’ websites showed similar performance.

In the lead-up to Ms. Bachmann’s successful performance in the Ames Straw Poll (August 13th, 2011), her website lead amongst top GOP contenders in market share of visits. But as speculation around Mr. Perry’s candidacy grew during the week ending August 13th, culminating with his official announcement on the 13th, his market share of visit quickly jumped. Indeed, even after the post-announcement drop-off, RickPerry.org’s share of visits is up 506% (week of September 3rd vs. week of August 6th).

Mitt Romney’s site has since received the most traffic among candidates for the week ending September 10, 2011.