Category Archives: Trends

Stats, trends and reports for 3rd party resources.

10 Years Ago – A Visual of Canada’s Top 10 Web Properties

According to ComScore in November 2010, the top 10 web properties in Canada (in order) were: MSN, Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Wikimedia Foundation, eBay, Ask Network, Sympatico, Apple and Yellow Pages Group.

Out of this group 9 of these properties existed back in 2001. Facebook was the only one that did not exist, so for Facebook, we go back to 2006.

Here is the visual of Canada’s Top 10 Web Properties from 10-years ago:

MSN
MSN.ca Visual 2001
MSN.ca Visual 2011

Google
Google.ca Visual 2001
Google.ca Visual 2001

Facebook – Note 2006 is the first image
Facebook.com Visual 2001
Facebook.com Visual 2001

Yahoo
Yahoo.ca Visual 2001
Yahoo.ca Visual 2001

Wikipedia
Wikipedia.com Visual 2001
Wikipedia.com Visual 2001

eBay
Ebay.ca Visual 2001
Ebay.ca Visual 2001

Ask
Ask.com Visual 2001
Ask.com Visual 2001

Sympatico
Sympatico.ca Visual 2001
Sympatico.ca Visual 2001

Apple
Apple.com Visual 2001
Apple.com Visual 2001

YellowPages.ca
YellowPages.ca Visual 2001
YellowPages.ca Visual 2001

Finally, some very popular Canadian websites that are due an honorable mention:

Canada.com
Canada.com Visual 2001
Canada.com Visual 2001

AutoTrader.ca
Autotrader.ca Visual 2001
Autotrader.ca Visual 2001

The Weather Network
TheWeatherNetwork.com Visual 2001
TheWeatherNetwork.com Visual 2001

Images are screencaps taken from WayBack Machine.

Are Canadians Checking In?

There is no doubt about it, if you follow the online local space that Check-In is “In” for 2010. A recent article on Mashable, “Foursquare’s Growth Not Slowing Down: 725,000 Users, 22 Million Checkins” definitely proves the point for this 1-year old startup organization.

In February I did a post on my FourSquare experience that you can read on my initial experiences and the impact on local.

A couple of days, one of my work colleagues, Mohamed Kahlain, follow him on Twitter, sent me the link to CheckIn Mania, a mashup that features checkins from FourSquare, GoWalla and Britekite. This was originally posted on Mashable.

In a nutshell what CheckIn Mania does is allows you to enter any city, click on the map and select a business. Once you select a business you can see who is the mayor of that place + how many checkins to that business and any tips. You also have the ability to select the “Search by Map” which is a neat feature that allows you to move the map and the locations update as opposed to updating the locations by click.

Here is the screenshot with one of my favorite restaurants (of which I am in the Mayor in Calgary) called Spicy Hut.

Check In Mania for Calgary and Spicy Hut

It is no secret that any of the location based services listed above have the highest penetration in major US markets like San Francisco and New York, but what about Canada?

Are Canadians checking in?

So I decided to spot check some businesses in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal to see how active Canadian’s are. I decided to focus on Restaurants. My selection criteria for which restaurants and spas to choose was as following, In Google I did a local search and selected business #3 in their 7-pack. In YellowPages.ca, I selected the #8 business and in Yelp.ca I selected business #6. This would give me a random sample of businesses. I also limited this to FourSquare as this is the most popular check-in service.

Here are my findings.

Vancouver Restaurants:
C Restaurant (selected from Google) – 9 checkins
Tojo’s Restaurant (selected from Yelp) – 33 checkins
Top Of Vancouver Revolving Restaurant (selected from Yellowpages.ca) – 17 checkins

Calgary Restaurants
Calgary Marriott Hotel (selected from Google) – 21 checkins
Capo Restaurant (selected from Yelp) – 5 checkins
Karma Fine Indian Cuisine (selected from YellowPages.ca) – 2 checkins

Toronto Restaurants
Bistro 990 Restaurant (selected from Google, this is actually listing #4) – 11 checkins
Pomegranate Restaurant (selected from Yelp) – 8 checkins
The Real Jerk (selected from YellowPages.ca) – 34 checkins

Montreal Restaurants
Restaurant Toqué (selected from Google) – 5 checkins
Santos (selected from Yelp, actually #8) – 40 checkins
Arahova Souvlaki (selected from YellowPages.ca) – 15 checksin

The only thing that surprised me about the above results is Toronto. I would have expected to Toronto to come in closer to Montreal in terms of checkins because of population concentration and smartphone penetration. However, this might be a result of the fact that Toronto does not have the density of Montreal (land mass to population size), which might also explain why Vancouver is more comparative to Montreal. Calgary actually holds it own, relative to its population size and the fact that Calgary.

Although comparatively to the US, Canada is not at the 1/10 rule (see some US results below), it is pretty clear to me that Canadians in the large urban markets have started to embrace checkin. This group, like in the US, are the ones at the start of the product curve and the big question going forward is whether checkin services will hit mass adoption.

How does this compare to the top US cities. Here are the results for San Francisco and New York using the same process as above. I used YellowPages.com as the 3rd source.

San Francisco Restaurants
Zuni Cafe (selected from Google) – 459 checkins
R & G Lounge (selected from Yelp) – 296 checkins
Cote Sud (selected from YellowPages.com) – 6 checkins

New York Restaurants
Spring Street Natural Restaurant (selected from Google) – 495 checkins
La Sirene (selected from Yelp) – 52 checksin
Serendipity 3 (selected from YellowPages.com) – 236 checkins

Join the Conversation, Your Business Needs It. A Social Media Presentation

Here is a great presentation by Marta Kagan and is a follow-up to the original What the F**K is Social Media.

I wanted to post this to my site as social media has become a bigger part of my personal and professional career in the past 18-months. The slides in this presentation do a very good job of highlighting how important social media is becoming in the mainstream. Couple this with a book written by Don Tapscott called “grown up digital” and you get an appreciation for the “conversation revolution” that we are currently in and the importance of having a strategy to deal with in. For this post, I will not be providing any of my insights. I will do this in a follow-up article. For now, I hope that you enjoy this presentation:

Interesting Google Statistics from 2007 with a Canadian Perspective

In a posting done by Jeff Jarvis on December 30 titled “9 Remarkable Stats on Google“, Jeff did a very good job of highlighting some interesting stats on Google.

I spent a lot of my time in 2007 working with a number of people from the Google organization in my role with Yellow Pages Group and for as much as we hear Google as the corporate entity, like every successful company in the world, it is the people behind the company that make it truly remarkable.

Anyway, thanks to Jeff for compiling such a list, here are the ones that I found most interesting and I have included a CDN perspective:

– Google controls 65.1% of all searches in the U.S. at the end of 2007 and 86% of all searches in the UK, according to measurement company Hitwise. (For Canada, at least in terms of unique visitors and according to ComScore Media Metrix, November 2007, Google had 87.9% reach, MSN had 46.5%, Ask had 31.4% and Yahoo had 28.1% – this is not the same as searches, but gives you an idea of where Google is within the Canadian market specifically)

– Google earned $15 billion revenue and $6.4 billion profit in 2007, a profit margin of 26.9%. Its revenue was up 57% in the last quarter of 2007 over 2006, says Yahoo Finance. As of late 2007, its stock was up 53% in a year. The company has a market capitalization of $207.6 billion. (As of close of market today – Google’s valuation is 214.36B)

– Google employed almost 16,000 people at the end of 2007, a 50% increase over the year before. (I have been to their offices in Mountain View and New York, they have an incredible culture. I only worry about the employees whose first job is with Google – they are going to be spoiled for life)

– Google became the No. 1 brand in the world in 2007, according to Millward Brown Brandz Top 100. (here is the link to this report – the ranking is on page 10. Google is valued at 66.4B, GE at 61.9B, Microsoft at 54.9B, Coco Cola at 44.1B and China Mobile at 41.2B. The top Canadian firm on the list is the Royal Bank of Canada (#39) valued at 13.6B

– Google controls 79% of the pay-per-click ad market, according to RimmKaufman. It controls 40% of all online advertising, according to web site HipMojo.

“We don’t have a monopoly. We have market share. There’s a difference.”
Steve Ballmer

Word of Mouth Needs Support – A Deeper Look at Web Referral Traffic

“Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.”
Tony Robbins

In discussions with small business owners, when asked, what method of tracking do you use to measure your new sales, the most common response is “I ask my consumers where they heard about me”. Usually the second part of the conversation goes this way – “word of mouth is my best form of advertising” and “I tried many forms of advertising, none have worked for me”.

For this particular post I want to focus on two areas:

1) How word-of-mouth (WOM) needs support
2) How to leverage in-store questions and online traffic

Word-Of-Mouth

I am a very strong believer in WOM and the incredible growth it can generate. That being said, WOM often takes more credit away from supporting advertising vehicles, giving the impression to a SME that their advertising is not working.

A typical conversation with a new customer may go like this:

Bus Owner: Thanks for coming in. How did you happen to hear about our store?
Customer: A friend recommended you
Bus Owner: That’s great, if you liked the service today, please tell your friends

The above dialogue is good, however, what if the conversation was slightly changed:

Bus Owner: Thanks for coming in. Can I ask you two questions about how you come to our store today?
Customer: Sure
Bus Owner: How did you hear about out store?
Customer: From a friend
Bus Owner: Thanks, how did you get our address?
Customer: From your website? From my friend? From the Yellow Pages?
Bus Owner: That’s great, if you liked the service today, please tell your friends about us and have them visit my website, Yellow Pages ad, etc. for my store details.

Of course the exact questions can be changed and tailored, but the main point is that in most cases WOM is supported by another medium that connects the buyer and the seller. People will refer people they like to people they trust, however, those same people will usually not know all the details about your business. WOM can accelerate your sales when you have a support mechanism behind it and you incorporate it into your WOM strategy.

In-Store Questions and Online Traffic

Continuing with the example above and examining customers who indicated they used the Internet to find your address, we need to examine our web analytics. The first question I usually get is, should I ask customers how they found me on the web? I advise against asking any questions about how people found you on the web. The reason is that there is a lot of confusion among web users – so the typical response is Google – even if they used MSN, Yahoo or something else. This gives the illusion that all web traffic is generated from Google – which is not the case. As a business owner, if you have a good analytics package – all you need to know from your customers is whether they saw your website. Once you have a in-store count you can cross-reference this with your web analytics to find out what is and is not working online.

As a side-note I want to share a quick story. I helped a auto dealer in Calgary with their tracking and customer acquisition strategies. Calgary has two major newspaper dailies – the Calgary Herald and the Calgary Sun. We started by creating a baseline, by spending one month asking customers how they came to stop by the dealership. Of the two newspaper dailies what we found was that 25% came from paper 1 and 15% came from paper 2. Here is where it gets interesting – this particular dealership had not advertised in paper 2 for a couple of years, yet 15% of new customers said they found the dealership there. Here is my take on this non-scientific survey – when asked, some customers will simply answer what comes to their mind first as opposed to what is actual. Not because they are dishonest, just that they most likely don’t care and will answer to shut you up. The same thing is happening on the web – I bet I could take 10 people who use Yahoo Search as their primary engine and half of them, when asked quickly, would probably say Google. My point is that only relying on asking people how they found you on the web can be misleading, whereas this potential misleading information does not exist with web analytics.

Here are some stats from my mom’s business, The Bra Lady. What we have learned over the past 4-years of tracking results is that WOM is by far her #1 way of generating new business with the Internet as her primary support mechanism to WOM. What we have also found is that many people are referred to her business, but use search engines and directories to find her web address. Probably 80% of her new clients indicate that Internet played a role. NOTE: this may be high and in her particular situation makes a lot of sense – because she is a home based business. However, when I worked with Auto Dealers – this number was about the same and dentists were up there as well.

On a monthly basis we compare the number of referrals who indicate the Internet was a source of them finding her to her actual analytics – we use Google Analytics to understand better exactly how these people ending up finding her.

Here is the aggregate view:

bralady_traffic_from_yellow_pages.jpg

In the above you will notice that the top three referrers of traffic are Google, YellowPages.ca, and Direct. Examining just the top three referrers, typically I would examine further both the traffic from YellowPages.ca and Google.

For Google:

bralady_google_top_keywords.png

What I notice is the majority of keywords from Google are good quality. You will notice that keyword #20 – the one that references ebay is not considered a good keyword, however, this is the nature of search engines. It is important when examining search engine traffic to look at the keywords to get a accurate picture. The conclusion is that Google is generating good traffic.

For YellowPages.ca:

bralady_traffic_from_yellow_pages.png

What I notice is that the top referring URL from yellowpages.ca is the merchant page that was built for her business by YPG – this is good – it supports the decision to have the website URL located on this page. If I continue to examine further I see that users were searching using keywords we anticipated and specifically in Calgary. What I like about directory traffic is that people don’t surf directories. They go there for a purpose – usually to find something in particular – so the traffic generated here is high-quality.

For Direct:
This is pretty self-explanatory.

You will notice that we are also showing other top referrers in Facebook and CalgaryPlus.ca. I did a posting back in July of this year – Facebook – Can Local Business Florish in Social Networking? and its potential impact on local business – watch for this. For those of you interested – here is an article I posted back in 2005 on the strength of media companies and front-page placement – Power of Front Page Placement.

In conclusion – I would challenge any SME to dig a little deeper in 2008 in terms of their tracking and understanding of customers. Also I would encourage you to not presuppose answers as to where online traffic might come from. In Canada – we are continually bombarded with US news and information about the Internet, which sometimes gives us a US perspective on traffic as opposed to a CDN perspective on traffic. Build your measurement criteria, find the tools to track and examine them monthly – this will generate great results for your business in 2008.


Facebook’s Usage – Impressive Growth

Currently at the Kelsey Conference in LA and had an enjoyable time listening to Chamath Palihapitiya, VP Product Marketing and Operations for Facebook. He was speaking about facebook and its product with respect to advertising – I am currently doing some testing and will have a future post on my findings with respect to their ad platform from a Canadian perspective.

Anyway, here were some of the stats regarding the growth of facebook.com that I found very interesting and impressive:

55 million active users (usage in the last 30-days)

250,000 new users a day

doubling every 6-months

over 50% of users are returning everyday

70+ billion page views per month

end of 2007 – 1 trillion page views per year

40+ page views per user per day