News and media websites have seen a surge in their online audiences in the last year.
That was the positive message to come out of a briefing at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston to which supporters of this digital editor’s network had been invited.
Heather Hopkins, vice-president of Hitwise UK, revealed the findings of her research into the UK online media sector and fascinating stuff it was too.
Hitwise, which monitors the proportion of visits made to sites rather than unique users, found that during 2006 news and media sites had seen a 28 per cent growth in their share of UK internet visits.
Heather, who describes herself as a “data geek” was able to provide a detailed insight into how the online media market works thanks to the way Hitwise is able to track online traffic flows, search terms and visits through its partnerships with internet service providers.
Here are some of the things that I picked out of her talk:
Surprise, surprise the BBC dominates the online media market with 15 per cent of visits After the Beeb the list according to Hitwise goes something like: Yahoo; Telegraph; Met Office; Sun; Google News; Guardian; Times; ITV.
IT media has seen a huge growth – 57 per cent. A useful tip for those of wondering which areas of content might be worth expanding on our sites.
Weather is a an area of huge interest online with BBC weather and the Met Office both featuring in the top six media sites.
Brands matter. Virtually all of the top search terms are brand names.
The Sun benefits from 18 per cent of its traffic coming from paid links ie google ad words. These can be surprisingly cheap and newspapers could do well to experiment with these to see what benefits are to be had.
You can read more from Heather Hopkins and Hitwise at http://www.ilovedata.com/ The amount of information there is mindblowing.
The day at UCLan also featured a forum discussion on the challenges facing traditional media brands in the age of web 2.0. The panel included Jane Singer, Alan Moor and Mark Tungate. Hear the discussion here.