October 17, 2008 |
comScore has just released its usual monthly report on the most popular US online properties and everything is more than predictable here as our offline life and concerns influence what is getting more and more popular online. As a result, the most popular sites are focused on finance, trading (because of the economic turmoil we are in now) and election as the election date approaches.
Incredible popularity of various financial websites – both financial news and analytics sites and services that allow users to track various stocks and buy or sell them almost instantly – is absolutely understandable. We are now seeing a unique example of people using internet more and more heavily to make their financial decisions in a matter of minutes based on whatever may sound like a reason enough and rumors adding billions to companies’ valuations or dropping stock to some ridiculous amounts.
Basically everything is done online – research of the global financial situation as well as managing personal finances – and it is definitely impressive to see how knowledge received online can influence multi-million decisions in a matter of minutes.
This predictable interest in everything related to financial situation makes the results far from surprising: unique visitors to the sites in the financial vertical grew by 9% to over 64 million. These visitors also viewed more pages (the number of pageviews up 16%) and spent 29% more time on the sites in this category.
The largest site in this vertical in September was Yahoo! Finance with its nearly 20 million unique visitors (30% more than in August). But there were also sites that demonstrated impressive growth here, including Russian financial site RBC.RU (up 155% to 1.2 million uniques), FoxBusiness (up 127% to 1.2 million uniques) and Google Finance (up 67% to 1.4 million visitors).
Online trading sites were also predictably popular with the largest properties as follows:
Fidelity Investments - 3.5 million visitors
ShareBuilder.com – 2 million visitors
Scottrade Sites – 1.7 million visitors
Some of the sites in the online trading business also showed impressive growth results (often double-digit): E-Trade Financial Network (up 26% to 1.6 million visitors), TD Ameritrade.com (up 30% to 1.4 million visitors) and Schwab.com (up 36 percent to 1.1 million visitors)
I think there is nothing particularly surprising about the popularity and the rapid growth of financial websites of different types: after all, people are mainly interested in the financial problems right now, probably even less than they care for celebrity news.
The only surprising revelation to me personally was the fact that I saw Russian-language business news website RBC.RU among the top gaining web properties in the US. Well, I know RBC.RU growing fast in the US. I know how popular the site is here in Russia with all the people trying to stay updated on the latest financial and business news but I could never expect it would be this popular elsewhere. My idea is that lots of Russian investors live in the US and they turn to a familiar name for their share of financial information (but the website could be of interest to English-speaking people as well as it offers an English-language version).
Anyway the growth is very impressive given the fact that in September RBC.RU received 1.2 million unique visitors which is only a little less the number of people that visited Google Finance (1.37 million visitors). So it looks very much like there are some investors and traders in the US speaking fluent Russian. And for you not to worry that the Russian mafia will use the situation to buy the entire industries, I guess I’ll have to tell you that we have incredible experience of crisis management – so chances are Russian traders will even help instead.