February marks the end of football season and the second month of US income tax season, so it should come as no surprise that the NFL and ESPN websites saw substantial traffic losses in February, while the financial software company behind TurboTax saw the largest increase in visits month-over-month. Welcome to the first installment of a new analysis that focuses on the websites with the largest increases and decreases in traffic from within the US.
February’s top 10 websites for increased traffic MoM
To prepare this report, we analyzed the online behavioral activity of our 100-million global consumer panel to identify the top ten websites by MoM changes in visits from within the US. We found that while overall US traffic was down 9 percent during February, the effects of tax season on US residents drove Intuit, the developers of TurboTax software, to the top of the list with a 28 percent increase in visits over January, when the site saw a 159 percent increase in visits over December.
Interest in real-estate has been on the rise since the beginning of the year, driving Realtor.com into our top ten list. In February, Realtor.com saw a 13 percent increase in visits over January and a 32 percent increase over December.
The New York Post was the news site that saw the biggest MoM increase in visits, up 13 percent over January. The site’s traffic spiked on February 11th when their article about undocumented immigrants arrested in several states aired.
One of the surprising sites to make the list was that of the National Institutes of Health (nih.gov), which saw a 12 percent increase in traffic MoM. And with the Trump administration mired in controversy, visits to the political website Politico during February were up 11 percent over January.
February’s top 10 websites for MoM traffic decreases
With the end of football season culminating at the Super Bowl on February 5th, visits to NFL.com declined by an astonishing 45 percent during February and traffic to ESPN’s site was cut by 20 percent MoM.
Uber’s public persona definitely took a hit in February with the #deleteuber hashtag trending on Twitter, as well as Susan Fowler’s blog post about her experience with sexual harassment at the company and the video of Uber’s CEO arguing with an Uber driver. All in all, visits to Uber’s site from with the US were down 26 percent in February.
Americans cut down on online shopping since the beginning of the year, driving three retail sites into our top ten list for decreased traffic MoM. Best Buy saw a 13 percent decrease in site visits since January, and a 33 percent decrease since December. Bed Bath and Beyond also saw a 13 percent MoM decrease in traffic, and a 37 percent decrease since December. And tenth-ranked Sears, whose slogan used to be “where America shops”, also saw a significant traffic loss in February, down 12 percent since January and 18 percent since December.
Bottom line: Sometimes it is easy to guess why traffic is down — or up. End of football season? Of course NFL.com and ESPN.com get hurt. Intuit owns TurboTax so their sites do very well during US tax season. Uber keeps getting knocked in the media, so its traffic gets slammed. Other findings are harder to understand but may become clearer when we return next month with our second installment of the web’s biggest winners and losers, so stay tuned!