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Once again the researchers at Hitwise have been hard at work pulling in statistics from all over the Internet to give us a better understanding of online usage. This time they’ve revealed the Top 100 student websites in the UK, giving us all a clear insight into the online behaviour of young adults across the country.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the list itself is dominated by the major search engines, social networking sites and news sources. Top of the heap was, quite predictably, Google.co.uk; although this was closely followed by Facebook – once again highlighting the superiority of both these sites in their respective fields.
Hotmail (3rd) still leads the way over Gmail (10th) and Yahoo! Mail (17th) though, at least in this demographic, when it comes to providing email services. On a positive note though, this could give a little more hope to the new Microsoft Bing search engine, as it clearly indicates that MSN – in its various guises – is still very much a relevant online commodity with an emerging tech-savvy generation.
Traditional media sources didn’t fare too badly either. The BBC maintains a strong following with four from the first 13 entries all relating to individual sections of their website – Homepage (6th), News (7th), Sport (12th) and iPlayer (13th).
Top of the online newspapers was The Guardian, which with 27th position sits quite a distance ahead of The Daily Mail (39th), Times Onlines (42nd) and The Telegraph (52nd). As this poll was conducted during the height of the MP expenses scandal, for which The Telegraph was the recognised whistleblower, it is perhaps most surprising to see it languishing down at the bottom. However, this further emphasises the changing views and usage patterns between different generations of Internet users.
Trailing behind Facebook in the social media/networking section were YouTube (5th), MySpace (19th), Twitter (22nd) and Bebo (34th). With Twitter still very much the up and coming platform you would expect this to be one to watch in the future. Although, as this was a study carried out amongst students during the exam season, perhaps making time for Tweeting wasn’t high on their list of priorities.
The remainder of the list comprises of information resources (Wikipedia, Imdb et al), banks, file sharing sites and online retailers. eBay (14th) and Amazon (20th) are a fair way ahead of the rest when it comes to ecommerce, proving the strength of these two long-established brands has barely waned over the years.
Whilst I don’t think anyone would claim that this was a finite list, it still makes for some extremely interesting reading, particularly when looking for general trends. It provides a very good indication of where this hugely important demographic are looking online; giving online marketers further ammunition when it comes to targeting their key audience.
For a long time, Bing, the UK’s second-largest search engine, has been underappreciated and, in some instances, even ignored. Often regarded as the inferior search engine to market leader Google, Bing has historically struggled to appeal to many in the digital world. Most PPC analysts would give justified reasons for neglecting Bing for so long; these include the volume of traffic and the user experience just not matching up to Google. However, the validity of these assessments is now diminishing. Bing has grown and improved rapidly in the last couple of years; if you are not integrating it into your comprehensive digital marketing plan, you run the risk of missing out on a large portion of your chosen market and significant revenue.
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