New data on international site traffic show it's not called the worldwide Web for nothing. ComScore World Metrix has released a study revealing sites attracting lots of U.S. online ad dollars garner a substantial portion of traffic from outside the U.S. In fact, top ad-supported properties including Google, Microsoft sites, Yahoo and CNET Networks derive at least 70 percent of their traffic from non-U.S. users.
"It's a recognition that it's a global medium and it's a global audience," said ComScore Europe EVP Managing Director Bob Ivins. "It's an opportunity for advertisers," he added, particularly large brands looking for global reach.
Still, marketers buying non-geographically targeted search ads on Google, Yahoo, MSN and Ask.com may be surprised to learn how much of the traffic to those sites comes from outside the U.S. According to the findings, Google gathers a whopping 79.8 percent of unique visitor traffic and 89.1 of pageviews from non-U.S. users. Yahoo sites receive 75.9 percent of uniques and 67.2 percent of pageviews from outside the country, while Microsoft sites get 79 percent of uniques and 75.4 of pageviews from beyond the U.S. Ask Network derives 57.4 percent of uniques and 39.6 percent of pageviews from other locales.
"If you're not geographically targeting, there's probably some waste," added Ivins.
Other ad-supported properties with large percentages of unique visitor traffic from other countries include CNET Networks, Monster Worldwide, Viacom Digital and Time Warner Network, which attract 70, 62, 58.5 and 50.9 percent of unique visitors, respectively, from outside the United States. CNET Networks, Monster Worldwide, Viacom Digital and Time Warner Network garnered 58.6, 62.3, 55.3 and 24.8 percent of their pageviews from non-U.S. users, respectively.
Many of these sites have country-specific domains, and according to Ivins, users are not losing interest in visiting those either.
We can expect more growth in online site traffic coming from outside the U.S., he continued, particularly from China, India and Mexico. "If you're looking for hockey stick growth, you've got to look outside the U.S.," he said. ComScore pegs the current U.S. Web population at 152 million, or 21 percent of the 726 million users worldwide, down from 65 percent of all online users a decade ago.
As Web population growth continues to tilt towards the rest of the world, noted Ivins, sites based outside the United States "are going to be the largest sites in the globe in terms of absolute reach."
Other sites in ComScore's top 25 with more than 50 percent of users coming from beyond U.S. shores include Amazon at 66.4 percent, Ebay at 70.4 percent, and Expedia at 57.6 percent. Fox Interactive Media and New York Times Digital sites received 45.5 percent and 44.4 percent of traffic, respectively, from non-U.S. users.
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Kate Kaye was Managing Editor at ClickZ News until October 2012. As a daily reporter and editor for the original news source, she covered beats including digital political campaigns and government regulation of the online ad industry. Kate is the author of Campaign '08: A Turning Point for Digital Media, the only book focused on the paid digital media efforts of the 2008 presidential campaigns. Kate created ClickZ's Politics & Advocacy section, and is the primary contributor to the one-of-a-kind section. She began reporting on the interactive ad industry in 1999 and has spoken at several events and in interviews for television, radio, print, and digital media outlets. You can follow Kate on Twitter at @LowbrowKate.
March 19, 2014