The beginning of a new school year seemed to have a major effect on Americans’ web habits in August 2011 as education information was the fastest-growing site category, according to [download page] comScore Media Metrix data. Education information grew 19% month-over-month to 73.7 million visitors.
Pearson Education ranked first in the education information category with 15.6 million visitors (up 35%), followed by HotChalk with 13.6 million (up 31%), ClassesUSA.com with 6.6 million (up 8%), About.com Education with 6.4 million (up 29%) and CoolMath.com Inc with 3.7 million visitors. College students checked out the reviews on their professors for the semester at RateMyProfessors.com, which jumped 45% to 3.2 million visitors, while Blackboard.com attracted 3 million visitors (up 64%).
Web Visitors Hit the Books
Another category likely influenced by the coming of the 2011-12 academic year, book retailers, was also a top-gaining category in August, growing 11% to 26.1 million visitors. Barnes & Noble ranked #1 in the category with 9.8 million visitors (up 19 %), while BookSpan property saw 1.8 million. Budget book retailer Chegg.com surged 273% to the #3 spot with nearly 1.7 million visitors. Borders Group, Inc. closely followed with nearly 1.7 million visitors, while AbeBooks took fifth with 1.6 million (up 56%).
Career Training also Popular
Career Training and Education Sites also experienced a traffic spike in August, growing 12% to 12.3 million visitors. LiveCareer.com ranked as the category leader with 1.2 million visitors (up 23%), followed by FastWeb.com with 698,000 (up 13%) and Learn4Good.com with 559,000. AesopOnline.com nearly tripled its audience to 370,000 in August (up 1925), while Pryor.com rounded out the top five with 357,000 visitors (up 10 %).
Americans Feel Under the Weather with Hurricane Irene and Allergies
Between the onset of Hurricane Irene and seasonal August weather, Americans had reason to visit weather sites during the month. The category grew 7% to an all-time high of nearly 100 million visitors, with The Weather Channel taking the top spot reaching 69 million visitors (up 15%). WeatherBug Property came in second with 24.4 million visitors, followed by Weather Underground with 13.3 million (up 24%), AccuWeather Sites with 11.6 million (up 34%) and Yahoo Weather with 9.9 million.
Pharmacy sites experienced healthy growth spurt in August, as the category grew 8% to 5.4 million visitors, with QZMart earning the top with 533,000 visitors (up 4%). Express Scripts, Inc. drew 490,000 visitors (up 8%), followed by CareMark.com with 418,000 (up 3%), HY-VEE.com with 243,000 (up 17%) and MedCo.com with 227,000 (up 22%).
Google, Yahoo, Microsoft Draw Most Visitors
Google sites ranked as the #1 property in August with 183.4 million visitors, followed by Yahoo sites with 177.5 million and Microsoft sites with 177.2 million. ESPN, Answers.com sites and Adobe sites each jumped five positions, to rank consecutively at #24, #25 and #26. The Washington Post Company, CareerBuilder LLC and AT&T, Inc. newly appeared on the chart this month at #47, #49 and #50, respectively.
Google Ad Network Reaches More than 9 in 10 Online Americans
Google Ad Network led the August Ad Focus ranking with a reach of 93.4% of Americans online, followed by Yahoo Network Plus (87.4%) and AOL Advertising (86.9%). AT&T AdWorks debuted on the ranking at #4 with an 83.9% reach, while ValueClick Networks rounded out the top five with at 82.8%.
Back-to-School Season Benefits CPG, Apparel Sites in July
The back-to-school shopping season also got an early jump in July with different categories as traffic to consumer goods sites (especially office supplies) increased 13% month-over-month to reach 25.6 million people, according to previous comScore data. Staples.com sites took the top spot in the category with 7.3 million visitors (up 30%), followed by Office Depot with 4 million (up 21%), QVC sites with 3.6 million (up 5%) and OfficeMax with 2.5 million (up 32 %).
Apparel sites also drew early back-to-school shoppers as the category grew 8% to 66 million visitors. Zappos Sites ranked #1 in the category with 8.4 million visitors (up 54%), followed by Limitedbrands with 6.4 million, Nordstrom.com with 4.9 million (up 44%), Nike with 4.8 million, and OldNavy.com with 4.8 million (up 4%).
Other top apparel retailers in July included Forever 21, Inc. (3.6 million), Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (3.4 million), American Eagle Outfitters (3.1 million) and Gap online (2.6 million).