Top US Websites’ Visitors Stray but Keep Coming Back

August 31, 2007

This article is included in these additional categories:

Paid Search | Retail & E-Commerce | Travel & Hospitality

The leading sites in three key Web categories – search, career development and multi-category travel – experienced high month-over-month visitor retention rates from June to July, but also significant audience overlap with the other top players in their categories, according to Nielsen/NetRatings.

Search Sites

Among those categories, search providers had the highest visitor retention rates, with an average of 71% of June visitors at home returning in July among the three leading search players, NetRatings reported (pdf):

  • Google Search led with a home retention rate of 79%
  • Yahoo Search followed with 69% retention.
  • MSN/Windows Live Search audience retention was 65%.

Visitor retention rates were slightly higher among the work audience, with an average of 76% among the three leading search providers.


However, a substantial portion of visitors went to more than one of these three search sites in July:

  • MSN/Windows Live Search had the highest audience overlap, with 84% of its unique visitors also going to Google Search, Yahoo Search, or both.
  • Yahoo Search had a 78% audience overlap with Google and/or MSN.
  • Google Search had a 63% audience overlap with one or both of its two primary competitors.

Career Development Sites

The top three sites in the career development category, CareerBuilder Network, Monster and Yahoo HotJobs, experienced a similar phenomenon, although to a lesser degree.

They had an average month-over-month audience retention rate of 38% at home; at work, it was 44%. had the most audience overlap with the other two, at 50%. Yahoo HotJobs had a 45% audience overlap, while CareerBuilder Network’s was 34%.


Travel Sites

Compared with the other two categories, the top sites in multi-category travel, Expedia, Orbitz Worldwide Network and Travelocity, had the lowest average month-over-month at-home visitor retention rates, at 31%. At work it was slightly higher, at 35%.

Audience overlap was fairly similar between the three properties, at 59%, 58% and 51% for Orbitz Worldwide Network, Travelocity and Expedia, respectively.


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