Hitwise United States Newsletter - June 2005
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Spicy Paris Hilton Drives Web Surfers to Their Nearest Carl’s Jr. Fast-food Location

Following in the footsteps of GoDaddy.com and its provocative Super Bowl advertisement, restaurant chain Carl's Jr. raised the sexual bar even higher weeks ago with the launch of its "Spicy Paris" advertising campaign featuring celebrity diva Paris Hilton.

Searches for the term "paris hilton" grew 102 percent and queries for "carls jr" grew an astounding 802 percent between the weeks ending May 21, 2005 and May 28, 2005. Comparatively, brand searches for Burger King - in the midst of its co-promotion of Star Wars: Sith Sense - increased 52 percent during the same time period.

"Analyzing the historical volume of brand search queries during a marketing campaign provides unique insight into the effect that the campaign has on brand strength and recall," said Bill Tancer, Vice President of Research at Hitwise. "In this case, it is quite clear that despite its controversy, the Carl's Jr. Spicy Paris campaign has caused an increase in mindshare of the Carl's Jr. Brand."

Visitors Search for Carl's Jr. Locations, Not Just Paris Hilton Commercial

Hitwise Clickstream data reveal that, for the week ending May 28, 2005, a full 58.4 percent of those visiting
www.carlsjr.com continued on to www.spicyparis.com, where the controversial advertisement was available for download. Perhaps more important for actual hamburger sales, 7.4 percent of visitors to www.carlsjr.com continued directly on to a Carl's Jr. store locator Web site (cke.know-where.com).

"By examining both search volume and clickstream data for this campaign, it is clear that the Spicy Paris campaign had two positive results for Carl's Jr.", said Tancer, "First it raised awareness for the brand, but also prompted an immediate increase in consumer searches for local Carl's Jr. Restaurants."

Newspapers and Magazines Face More Dynamic, Complex Landscape as They Transition Online

The Web is undeniably one of the most important variables as newspapers and other print media consider re-inventing themselves amidst stagnant and sometimes declining circulation. As print-news organizations embrace the Internet, new online research suggests a competitive landscape where customer acquisition and churn is heavily intertwined with other news and content sites, search engines and email.

A total of 26.2 percent of all visits to Web sites in the "News & Media - Print" category originated from another news site (both print and non-print affiliated) in the four weeks ending May 21, 2005. In addition, 18.8 percent of visits to print-affiliated news sites came directly from search engines and directories, 9.0 percent from entertainment sites, and 7.2 percent from Web email services.

While print-news sites receive significant traffic from other news sites, they also lose more visitors (25.8 percent) to them versus any other site category. Other top categories that visitors of print-news sites leave to include: Entertainment (10.6 percent); Business and Finance (9.8 percent); and Lifestyle (7.4 percent).

"Brand equity, quality content and a rich experience are as important as ever," said Bill Tancer, vice president of research, Hitwise. "But as print-news organizations embrace digital, they must grasp the highly competitive and spontaneous nature of Internet news consumption "

Internet Breaks Down Geographic Legacies

While the audience reach of print-news, particularly newspapers, historically is limited to a title's core geographic location, the Internet is breaking down that barrier. This phenomenon is especially noticeable among the big daily newspapers with heavy national focus. For example, the New York Times' www.nytimes.com received 72.2 percent of its U.S. traffic from visitors outside of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut in the four weeks ending May 21, 2005. The Washington Post's www.washingtonpost.com received 68.6 percent of its U.S. traffic from visitors outside of Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. The San Francisco Chronicle's www.sfgate.com and the Los Angeles Times' www.latimes.com received 50.4 percent and 43.84 percent, respectively, of their traffic from outside of California.

The Internet is also breaking down the geographic barriers of more regional and local newspapers. For example, the Philadelphia Inquirer's www.philly.com received 45 percent of its visitors from outside of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The Houston Chronicle's www.chron.com received 36.7 percent of its visitors from outside of Texas. And while 46 percent of visitors to the Detroit Free Press's www.freep.com hailed from Michigan, it's interesting to note that even the faraway states of Florida, California, Texas, New York and Georgia contributed fully 18 percent of its visitors.

"Arguably, small and regional newspapers can be most competitive by focusing on their local markets," said Tancer. "However, as the data on the Detroit Free Press and others indicate, online distribution channels still can have significant appeal to customers outside of their core local markets. Local and regional newspapers should take note of this phenomenon when developing their online strategies, and consider such factors as national interest in major local stories, their utility as reference content, as well as ties to travelers and former residents."

Newspapers' Disparate Digital Footprints

Varying interactive strategies appear to be causing great disparity among different newspapers' ratio of online traffic versus their respective print circulation. Among the most interesting comparisons is between The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, the second and third largest daily newspapers (by offline circulation). Among the top 20 highest circulation newspapers, The New York Times has the highest ratio of Web site traffic to print circulation, while the Wall Street Journal ranks 18. In fact, The New York Times' online-to-offline ratio is tenfold that of The Wall Street Journal.

"The online-to-offline ratio does not indicate success one way or the other, but it does give insight into the audience nuances associated with paid versus ad-supported content models," said Tancer. "While the Wall Street Journal charges for most of its content, it will be interesting to see how the mostly free New York Times fairs in light of its decision to start charging for some of its online content."

Fast Mover - Pier 1 Imports


Rank week ending May 14: 16
Rank week ending June 4: 5
Positions jumped: 11

Summer has definitely arrived, and it looks like BBQs at the beach and strolls in the park have taken second seat as US home-owners busy themselves preparing for summer home activities.

Hitwise data show that the Pier 1 Imports website (www.pier1.com) has experienced an increase in market share of US visits by 70 percent (week ending June 4, 2005 versus week ending May 14, 2005). The site has climbed up the ranks among 'Shopping and Classifieds - House and Garden' websites - from number 16 (week ending May 14) to number 5 (week ending June 4), ahead of Ikea furniture (www.ikea.com) and Pottery Barn (www.potterybarn.com).

Hitwise data show that the predominant demographic profile of visitors to Pier1.com (for the 4 weeks ending June 4, 2005) was Female (66 percent), aged 25-34 years (34 percent). The top 3 search terms that generated the most traffic to www.pier1.com (4 weeks ending June 4, 2005) were 'pier one' (19.4 percent), 'pier 1' (15.9 percent), and 'pier 1 imports' (11.5 percent).

Search Analysis – Search Term Suggestion Report

Hitwise Search Intelligence data reveal the most popular search terms which resulted in visits to Entertainment - Gambling web sites for the 4 weeks ending June 4, 2005. The results are ordered based on the volume of searches (see table below).

Top 10 Search Terms Driving Traffic to Gambling websites*
Period - Four Weeks Ending 6/4/05

*Does not include lottery related search terms

Category Spotlight: Lifestyle - Mens' Interest

This category encompasses sites catering to a specifically male audience or that offer information on men's issues, health and wellbeing. (Includes Men's periodicals) The data below is based on All sites » Weekly rankings for the week ending 06/11/2005 » Ranks by 'Visits'.

  1. AskMen.com
  2. Maxim Online
  3. Xposed
  4. Stuff Magazine
  5. FHM US
  6. Men's Health
  7. BabesAndStuff
  8. YMCA
  9. FHM
  10. Page3.com
The average session duration for the Lifestyle - Mens' Interest category during the week ending 06/11/05 was
7 minutes, 45 seconds
which represents an increase of 23 seconds compared with last week.
Case Study: Content Development and Programming

An online food delivery service, which provides customers with a variety of cuisine choices, found that although the site was attracting many visitors, sales were not increasing accordingly.

Using Hitwise 'Clickstream' data, the food delivery service found that it was losing 15% of its visits to a variety of competitive websites - specifically 10% to Pizza Hut.

Hitwise 'Search Terms' data revealed that almost one third of the top keywords driving traffic to the Hitwise Food & Beverage category contained the term 'pizza'.

With these competitive and customer insights, the online food delivery service was able to:

  • Make several content & programming changes to its website to satisfy customer demand
  • Add pizza to the menu
  • Accept coupons from competitors
  • Reduce customer churn to competitive sites by 50%
  • Increase sales

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This monthly email Newsletter is designed to provide Hitwise subscribers with analysis of new developments, industry trends and competitive activity. The powerful real-time web intelligence capabilities of Hitwise and a continual flow of additional research findings make this an indispensable business resource.

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Copyright Hitwise Pty Ltd, June 2005