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Malcolm Coles: Michael Jackson’s kids made the Daily Mail the most visited UK newspaper site in June

July 27th, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Comment, Newspapers, Search, Traffic

This is an edited cross-post from Malcolm Coles’ personal website:

The Daily Mail surprisingly overtook the Telegraph and Guardian in the June ABCes – with more unique visitors than any other UK newspaper.

However it was only 4th in terms of UK visitors. Figures from Compete.com, which tracks Americans’ internet use, suggest that, of the 4.7 million unique users the Mail added from May to June, 1.2 million were from the USA. American and other foreign visitors searching for Michael Jackson’s kids – the Mail tops google.com for a search on this – drove this overseas growth.

US traffic to UK newspaper sites
This is what happened to US traffic for the ‘big three’ UK newspaper websites from May to June, according to Compete.com’s figures:

This dramatic increase in traffic, compared to its rivals, from May to June helps explains how the Mail leapfrogged the Guardian and Telegraph.

Traffic leapt from May to July

Google.com was the main referrer to the Mail – responsible for 22.7 per cent of its traffic. More on this below. Next up was drudgereport.com [a large US news aggregation site], followed by Yahoo.com and Facebook.com.

What was behind this rise in US traffic?
So what led to this sudden increase for the Mail? Compete also shows you the main search terms that lead US visitors to sites.

Top five search terms that lead US visitors to the Guardian

  • Guardian/the guardian: 2.6 per cent
  • Michael Jackson: 0.9 per cent
  • Swine flu symptoms: 0.6 per cent
  • Susan Boyle: 0.6 per cent

Top five search terms that lead US visitors to the Telegraph

  • Michael Jackson: 2.5 per cent
  • Susan Boyle: 0.8 per cent
  • Swine flu symptoms: 0.7 per cent
  • Daily Telegraph: 0.6 per cent
  • Michael Jackson children: 0.5 per cent

Top five search terms that lead US visitors to the Daily Mail

  • Daily Mail/Dailymail: 9.9 per cent
  • Michael Jackson (or Jackson’s) children: 2.9 per cent
  • Michael Jackson’s kids: 1.3 per cent

What does this tell us?The main keywords driving US search traffic to the Mail
The Guardian’s top five search terms, as suggested by Compete.com, accounted for just 4.7 per cent of its search traffic. The Telegraph’s top five for 5.1 per cent.

But the Mail’s top 5 accounted for a massive 14.1 per cent – split between searches for its brand name and for Michael Jackson’s kids (and outside the top five there may have been many other MJ-related terms).

Its search traffic in June is heavily skewed to these two search terms in the USA – and elsewhere in the world, I think it’s reasonable to presume.

Can this last?
Searches in the USA for ‘Daily Mail’ have been fairly consistent over the last few months according to Google Insights. I don’t know why so many people do this compared to other newspapers.

But I do know that interest in Michael Jackson’s kids is going to die down. This graph shows how there was a huge and sudden surge in searches for his children and kids after he died. The graph shows just two search terms – there are likely to be many others, and so a significant proportion of the Mail’s overseas traffic increase is down to search terms related to Jackson’s offspring.

Searches for Michael Jackson and kids/children shot up

This increase in searches translates into traffic for the Mail because it is currently TOP for a search on ‘Michael Jackson children’ at google.com and 3rd for kids (it’s also top in Google India for a search on his children, and India is the next most common source of traffic to the Mail after the UK and USA).

So all this data suggests that the Mail’s top spot in June’s ABCes is built on US and other worldwide search traffic around Jackson’s children – the massive peak in late June and again around his funeral in early July.

Once people stop searching for these terms, this traffic will disappear. The Mail may still top July’s ABCes on the back of this traffic – but it’s hard to believe it will still be top in August.

Methodology
You can, of course, pick holes in this argument.

The three MJ’s kids search terms account for 4.2 per cent of Google traffic, which accounts for 22.7 per cent of 5.2 million visitors – so about 50,000 users.

But I think it’s reasonable to assume that there are more search terms outside the top five; there are other search engines; and that the other sources of traffic, such as people sharing links on Facebook and news aggregators, will also partially be about Jackson’s children.

Plus this is the only publicly available data that I’m aware of, and this is the story it seems to be telling.

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Innovations in Journalism – socially referred and aggregated news from Yahoo! Buzz

June 19th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Uncategorized

We give developers the opportunity to tell us journalists why we should sit up and pay attention to the sites and devices they are working on.

You’ll know and use Digg and the geeks will be into Reddit – loving it now its gone open source – but there is another one worth looking at, and it’s a biggie. Welcome to IIJ, Yahoo! Buzz.

1. Who are you and what’s it all about
My name is Tapan Bhat and I am senior VP of Yahoo! Front Doors and Network Services.

Yahoo! Buzz beta is an extension to Yahoo.com that unites people with the most remarkable content from websites across the internet and brings the most “buzz-worthy” stories to the Yahoo! homepage.

It determines the most popular, must-read stories and videos from large news sources as well as niche blogs around the web, with an approach that combines user votes with search popularity to determine a story’s Buzz ranking.

2. Why would this be useful to a journalist?
Yahoo! Buzz can be useful to journalists on multiple levels. It can provide increased exposure for your great content. The most popular stories also may be selected by our editorial team and featured on Yahoo.com.

In addition, Yahoo! Buzz offers valuable insight for anyone interested in what is buzzing about and looking for timely story ideas or resources.

3. Is this it or is there more to come?

After only three month in beta, Yahoo! Buzz receives around 8 million unique monthly visitors worldwide according to comScore.

We’ll continue to listen to the feedback from publishers and our users to make sure the site continues to find the most relevant and interesting content online.

Since launching with around 100 large and small publishers, we have gradually been adding new publishers to the beta program and now have around 300 publishers participating.

In the coming months, we’ll continue adding more participants and once Yahoo! Buzz is generally available any publisher will be able to participate.

Looking ahead, Yahoo! Buzz will form the basis for an open ecosystem of publishers, advertisers and consumers.  We’ll develop this ecosystem by building out unique new syndication and monetisation tools that help publishers share relevant content, connect to more advertisers and reach a broader audience. Over time, we expect this to extend into a powerful content exchange that connects owners of content with distributors of traffic.

4. Why are you doing this?
While the homepage has always featured engaging stories and content, our editors could only scratch the surface before. With Buzz we can add more depth to the front page by bubbling up the best content from around the web, as indicated by users.

In addition, it creates a comprehensive, categorised database of content from across the web that can eventually make the Yahoo! network better.

5. What does it cost to use it?

Yahoo! Buzz is entirely free to use.

6. How will you make it pay?
As mentioned earlier, our primary goal is to further Yahoo!’s leadership position as the best starting point on the web and offering more relevant content brings people coming back to Yahoo! again and again.

During the beta process for Yahoo! Buzz, we will also be finalising our monetisation approach, including ways in which we may give prominent promotion to content from Yahoo! partners when appropriate.

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