Americans gravitated towards community websites in July, according to [pdf] the latest comScore Media Metrix data. Community site categories accounted for 4 of the 10 top-gaining web categories by percentage change in July 2012, led by pets sites, which grew 18% month-over-month to 29.6 million visitors, and beauty, fashion, and style sites, which grew 11% to 85.4 million visitors. Other community site categories seeing a jump in traffic were religion and spirituality sites (up 10% to 35 million visitors), and gay and lesbian sites (up 9% to 9 million).
The pets category was led by PetFinder.com, with 3.5 million visitors, up 12% month-over-month. Petsmart.com took second place with 2.9 million visitors (up 31%), followed by PawNation with 2.8 million visitors (up 44%), eHow Pets with 2.5 million visitors (up 2%) and Petco.com with 2.1 million (up 10%).
Glam Style took top billing among beauty, fashion and style sites with 15.2 million visitors, followed by Stylelist Sites (8.8 million visitors, up 7%), SheKnows Beauty (5.8 million visitors, up 67%), Glo (5.5 million visitors, up 7%), and Hearst Beauty & Fashion Network (5.1 million visitors, up 7%).
The Business and Finance category (including Online Trading sites and Financial Advice sites) also experienced strong gains in July. The Online Trading subcategory increased 23% month-over-month to 10.7 million visitors, led by Fidelity Investments with 3.7 million visitors (up 16% month-over-month). Scottrade Sites took second place with 1.5 million visitors (up 40%), followed by Schwab.com with 1.4 million visitors (up 18%), and TDAmeritrade.com, up 16% to 1.3 million visitors.
Financial Information and Advice sites saw a 10% increase in traffic, to 58.2 million visitors, good for the fifth spot among the top-gaining categories. Among these sites, Bankrate.com Sites took the top ranking with 9.9 million visitors, followed by Geico (5.1 million, up 23%), Citi.com (4.6 million visitors, up 5%), Progressive Insurance (3.7 million) and USAA.com (3.5 million, up 9%).
Google Sites ranked as the leading web property again in July with 190.4 million visitors, up from 189.3 million in June. Microsoft Sites, which saw traffic increase from 166 to 168.7 million visitors, overtook Yahoo (which fell from 167.2 to 162.6 million visitors) for the second spot, after closing the gap in June. Facebook (160.7 million) and AOL (110.2 million) remained in the 4th and 5th spots, respectively.
The Olympic Games drew 76.8 million visitors to Comcast NBCUniversal, which pushed the property into the top 10. Based on the top 250 properties in July, Instagram grew the most rapidly, with a 38% change in visitors, to 22.74 million.
Among syndicated Ad Focus entities, Google ranked first with a reach of 82.6% of Americans online, up slightly from 82.4% in June. ShareThis (80.4%; up from 78.9%), Yahoo! Sites (75.6%; up from 73.5%), and Facebook.com (72.7%; up from 72.3%) followed, while Outbrain (68.5%) overtook YouTube (59.1%) for the fifth spot.
Among advertising networks and buy side networks, Google Ad Network took the top ranking with 93.4% reach, up marginally from 93% in June. PulsePoint moved into the second spot with 89.9% reach, followed by AOL Advertising (85.4%), Genome from Yahoo (84.3%), and AT&T AdWorks (83.5%).
Among DSPs, SSPs, and ad exchanges, Rubicon Project REVV Platform reached 96.2% of Americans online, up significantly from 88.3% a month earlier.
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