Propelled by Valentine’s Day, US tax preparation activities, and a seasonal itch to travel, Flowers/Gifts/Greetings and E-cards, tax preparation and travel sites were among the few online categories that made gains in the shorter-than-average month of February, according to comScore’s analysis of US data from its MediaMetrix service.
“Valentine’s Day was a key driver of online activity in February as Americans bought gifts and sent e-cards to their loved ones,” said Jack Flanagan, EVP of comScore Media Metrix. “This month also saw a significant spike in activity to Hulu after it aired an ad during this year’s Super Bowl, which both ignited the site’s popularity and highlighted the growing mainstream appeal of online video.”
Hulu Captures #2 Growing Property Spot
Hulu, the online video joint venture of NBC Universal and News Corp., surged 55% to 7.8 million unique visitors in February, driven in large part by its TV ad campaign starring Alec Baldwin, comScore said. This growth helped Hulu secure the #2 spot in this month’s Top-Gaining Properties ranking.
Valentine’s Day Drives Gains at Gift and E-Cards Sites
Valentine’s Day marked an occasion for Americans to express their love and appreciation for friends, family members and significant others, comScore said. Traffic to Retail – Flowers/Gifts/Greetings sites jumped 15 % to 35.6 million visitors, led by AmericanGreetings’ web property, with 13.1 million visitors. Triple-digit growth was experienced by several sites, including ProFlowers.com (up 427% to 4.7 million visitors) and FTD.com (up 260% to 3.5 million visitors).
E-Cards sites also experienced gains in February, growing 5% to 21.3 million visitors. AG Interactive, which includes AmericanGreetings.com and BlueMountain.com, led the category with 6 million visitors, followed by Evite.com with 5 million visitors, and 123Greetings.com with 3.2 million visitors.
Traffic to Tax Sites Surges as Season Continues
February marked another strong month for the Tax category as increasing numbers of Americans took to filing their 2008 returns, according to the ratings. The category grew 22% to more than 30 million visitors. Among the three largest tax providers, Intuit’s TurboTax division lead in growth with 36% (compared with 21% for all Intuit Properties) followed by TaxACT with 32% and H&R Block with 20%.
Bargain Hunters Seek Budget Travel Deals
Travel sites experienced seasonal gains in February sparked by spring travel planning, comScore found. The Online Travel Agents category grew 1% to 39.5 million visitors, led by Expedia, Inc. with nearly 23 million visitors. Orbitz Worldwide ranked second with nearly 14 million visitors, followed by Priceline.com Inc. with 9.7 million visitors.
Other travel categories that experienced increases included the Travel – Information category, led by TravelAdNetwork with 10.4 million visitors, and the Travel – Hotel/Resorts category, led by Hilton Hotels with 4.7 million visitors.
Top 50 Properties: Google #1….Again
Google Sites continued to lead as the most visited property in February with nearly 149 million visitors, followed by Yahoo Sites with 144.3 million visitors and Microsoft Sites with 121.1 million visitors. The remaining properties in the top ten maintained their positions from the January ranking.
Top 50 Ad Focus Ranking: Platform-A Leads…Again
Platform-A led the February Ad Focus ranking, reaching 90% of the 192.2 million Americans online. Yahoo Network ranked second, reaching 85% , while ValueClick Networks captured the third position with an 82% reach. Specific Media moved up one spot to #6 with a 74% reach, while Google climbed two spots to #7 reaching 73% of online visitors.