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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Haymarket in Growth in Page Views Shock


It is good see business media companies getting enthusiastic about their online activities. At Haymarket the business division has been trumpeting the traffic growth on its print and packaging websites.


The article on their corporate news page brags that traffic grew to more than 400000 page views from 116000 uniques. The trigger for this story is the reported 36% growth since November. Well done Haymarket. But a note of caution to the folk in Hammersmith.


- Everywebsite enjoys a traffic boost in January as people return to work

- Every website should be seeing continuous growth in traffic as more readers get the online habit and most of the ones I know about are seeing exactly that.

- The numbers as quoted almost certainly are an exageration of the number of uniques. Each edit site has a paired jobs site. Haymarket are counting uniques from each of the four sites and adding them together to get to the total. I'll bet many of the visitors to http://www.printweek.com/ are the same folk who visit http://www.jobs.printweek.com/ and that many of the visitors to http://www.packagingnews.co.uk/ are the same people who visit http://www.jobs.packagingnews.co.uk/.

- 400,000 page views from 116000 visits is less than 3.5 pages/visitor/month. This lack of stickiness is a key challenge for business media websites. So much traffic comes from natural search that a lot of visitors search on Google, find an article, read it (or not) and then go back to their search results. Business media web site owners need to start developing strategies to hold onto visitors and get them coming back more often.


Their failure to do this is grounded in an arrogance that their own published content will satiate the information needs of their target audience. It won't. We'll come back to this theme in future posts.


Oh - and Wayne Morgan, the publisher of these sites at Haymarket says,

"A mix of great content from editorial and good promotion ideas from the marketing and design team are certainly going to maintain this momentum.”


It won't. Febuary traffic will be lower than Januarys. It always is.


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