Consumers seeking more cost-effective wireless services are increasingly turning to pre-paid plans during the economic downturn, several popular sites saw 37% visitor growth in Q1 vs.? the same periodlast year, according to data from ComScore, Inc.
The quarterly review of the US prepaid wireless industry examined online visitation and search referral activity to six leading prepaid wireless sites: VirginMobileUSA.com, TracFone.com (Am?rica M?vil), MetroPCS.com, MyCricket.com (Leap Wireless), BoostMobile.com and Net10.com (Am?rica M?vil).
comScore reported that combined visitation to these sites has reached 8 million visitors, representing more than 4% of the total US internet audience.
Growth in the category was driven primarily by MyCricket.com (up 107%) and Boostmobile.com (up 105%), both of which more than doubled in visitation vs. a year ago. MetroPCS.com and Net10.com also experienced strong gains, growing 63% and 37% respectively.
35+ Age Segment Flocks to Prepaid Sites
Although the marketing messages of most prepaid wireless providers target the youth market, prepaid wireless site visitation data suggest considerable interest in the plans among 35-64 year olds, comScore said.
Data show that the majority of visitors to Net10.com (60.3%) and TracFone.com (58.7%) are from this older age segment.
Even for sites where the majority of visitors are under age 35, such as Boostmobile.com and MetroPCS.com, 35- 64 year olds still make up at least 40% of visitors to the site. While it is likely that some of this older skew can be attributed to parents purchasing phones on behalf of their children, comScore said that the data still indicate an appeal of prepaid wireless beyond the youth market.
Organic Search Click Growth Outpaces Paid Clicks
The results of an analysis of search referral activity to prepaid wireless sites shows that while both paid and organic search are driving increased referral activity, organic search is substantially outpacing paid search referrals on the whole, comScore noted, adding that this dynamic suggests that the underlying consumer demand for prepaid wireless services is not just being driven by paid search marketing expenditures.
The analysis also revealed that a few of the sites performed also particularly well in obtaining growth from organic search referrals compared with paid search referrals:
- Organic clicks to BoostMobile.com grew 31%, while paid clicks grew 11%;
- Organic clicks to MyCricket.com grew 123%, compared with 63% growth in paid clicks
- Organic clicks to MetroPCS.com grew 148%, compared with 17% growth in paid clicks.