Thursday, September 18, 2008

Websites Losing Relevancy for Brand Strategy and Consumer Engagement

Peter Yared's post, “Websites Are So Over,” is a great read. Using Alexa data, Peter illustrates the dramatic decline in daily reach for the websites of some of America’s greatest brands; such as Apple, CNN, Fedex, Disney and others.
The charts below are from Peter’s post and they illustrate the massive fall off in reach experienced by members of the Fortune 500. The CNN daily reach per million data below is particularly telling, a significant relative decline over a two-year period.

The measure of web marketing success used to be measured in page views, visits, and reach. Millions were spent on powerful sites and on related marketing campaigns that focused on driving users back to the company web site. In today’s age, however, of RSS readers, social networks, and huge numbers of user-generated sites, the paradigm has changed. The goal can no longer be simply to funnel traffic back to, but rather the new goal is how best to take the content, applications, and ad inventory from to the users.

Widgets, social media applications, and RSS feeds are the modern day web marketers tools and the model has inverted from driving users to content to driving content to users.

Peter is also the founder and CEO of iWidgets, a newly launched widget and social application builder that allows brands to take their content and services onto the distributed web and off-domain. The service is currently in beta and well worth checking out. He launched with CBS and is helping to make social syndication of tier one content a reality.


  1. Anonymous12:49 PM

    Hmm, I thought that "Reach" graph on Alexa is number of people PER MILLION, not how many millions. That is, CNN's RELATIVE traffic has fallen, not necessarily their absolute traffic. And that could just reflect the continuing explosion of options online. Your broader point about how these mega sites cannot be relied upon to sustain a business (or a brand) is well taken, but the notion that CNN had 30M and now has 10M people isn't quite accurate, as far as I understand those graphs.

  2. Anonymous4:21 PM

    These graphs look much like graphs of our economic health in the country with the dramatic decline starting in 2006. It makes me wonder if there might not be a link between economic health and website reach. In other words, perhaps reach will vary with consumer confidence, just like retail markets.

    I'm not claiming anything here, just looking at possible counterbalances to what appears to be an absolute statement about the relevance of websites. I'm always suspicious when someone is so sure about a subject so soft.