Football, education-related, humor and home sites gained in August 2009 as sports fans geared up for the season, students headed back to school, and Americans looked for laughs while sprucing up their homes and gardens, according to the monthly analysis of US web activity based on data from comScore‘s Media Metrix service.
The website trends identified by comScore are similar to those recently reported by Compete.com, which found football, back-to-school retailers and news-related sites among the top gainers for the month. Though the two companies use different methodologies to collect their data, both comScore and Compete.com did agree that NFL.com was the top-gaining site in August.
comScore’s top-gaining site properties:
Back-to-School Season Drives Education-Site Gains
In terms of top-gaining categories, comScore said that the back-to-school season was a significant force in August, propelling gains at education sites that lifted the category 10% over July, to 97.5 million visitors.
comScore’s top gaining site categories:
Pearson Education led all Education sites in comScore’s analysis, with 12 million visitors (up 14%), followed by HotChalk with 7.7 million visitors (up 31% ) and ClassesUSA with 7 million visitors (up 2%).
Blackboard.com also saw strong gains, growing 67% to 2.4 million visitors.
“August is back-to-school season, and many turned to the web to prepare for the upcoming school year,” said Jack Flanagan, comScore EVP.
Interestingly, though Compete.com did not single out specific education sites as top gainers, it did note that families doing back-to-school shopping made for a significant online presence in August. Mass merchants and department-store sites continued to see traffic gains from back-to-school shoppers in Compete’s rankings, while the category attracted 112.7 million unique visitors, an increase of 7.3% over the previous year. Sears.com, JCPenney.com, Kohls.com and Zappos.com all earned spots the fastest growing sites in August, Compete said.
Laughter is Best Medicine
Americans turned to Humor sites for entertainment as summer vacation came to an end, comScore noted. The category grew 21% in August to 33.7 million visitors, representing a high for the category in the past year.
Break.com led humor sites with nearly 5.6 million visitors, followed by Comedy Central with 4.4 million, and National Lampoon Humor Network with 4.3 million (up 7%). Wimp.com saw significant growth during the month with a 58% increase.
Compete.com’s analysis found that news sites -? rather than humor sites – were among the top gainers, though both embody at least some essence of intellectual pursuit.
Home Improvement Takes Priority
Home sites also grew as Americans sought to redecorate their homes, furnish new apartments, or harvest their backyard gardens, comScore reported. These changes resulted in an 18% increase in visitation to Home sites.
About.com Home & Garden led comScore’s Home category with 3.5 million visitors during the month. Ehow Home and Garden took the #2 position with 3.5 million, followed by AOL Home with 3.4 million (up 14%). iVillage Home and Garden surged 326% in August to 3.3 million visitors.
Getting Down to Business
comScore also revealed that Business-to-Business was another fast-gaining category in August, growing 17% to 38 million visitors.
MerchantCircle.com led the category rankings with 6.9 million visitors. Reed Business Information sites (including Hotfrog.com, and BuyerZone.com) took the #2 position with 4.7 million visitors (up 6%), and Yahoo Small Business racked up 3 million visitors, up 83%.
Top 50 Properties
In comScore’s rankings, Google Sites once again led as the most visited property in August with 161 million visitors, followed by Yahoo Sites with 158 million visitors and Microsoft Sites, with 130 million visitors. Facebook.com held its #5 ranking with 92 million visitors, up 5% from the previous month, comScore said.
The Mozilla Organization rose 6 positions on the list to #24 with 32 million visitors, while iVillage.com also jumped 6 spots to #41 with more than 21 million visitors, comScore said.
Compete’s August analysis similarly ranked Google and Yahoo in the top two spots, but clocked Facebook at #3, MSN at #4 and YouTube at #5.
Top 50 Ad Focus Ranking
AOL Advertising (renamed from Platform-A) led the August Ad Focus ranking, reaching 91% of
all Americans online, according to comScore. Yahoo Network ranked second, reaching 88% of the population, while Google jumped one spot to #3 with an 84% reach.
Also notable: Adconion Media Group climbed 5 positions to the #20 spot with 129.6 million unique visitors, reaching nearly 66% of the US internet audience.
About the data:? comScore, Inc. and Compete.com use different methodologies to calculate monthly website rankings.