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The impact of brand reputation on Media website traffic

Company name reputation, its brand reputation, are all factors in ensuring traffic for its website. Here, XiTi Monitor studies the place occupied by brand reputation based access, an exclusive analysis proposed by AT Internet – XiTi, in visits to media websites. These are visits generated by expressions relating to the company name or to its brand names as typed into a search engine.
  • Survey conducted from1 January to 31 October 2008
  • Cross-section of 34 media websites
Some 7% of Media website visits are directly generated by their brand reputation

In this study, we looked at 34 Media websites (covering general, financial, technical news, etc., excluding radio and TV media) using AT Internet – XiTi solutions for analysing brand reputation. We therefore studied brand reputation based visits, i.e. visits generated by expressions relating to the company name or its brands as typed into a search engine. The expressions typed in may comprise the brand alone or the brand along with one or more generic names.

In October 2008, for one Media website that declared its brand recognition analysis, 7.4% of total visits were the result of spontaneous brand reputation during search engine searches.


This 7.4% proportion is an average indicator, one that naturally varies from one website to another according to its degree of brand reputation and its marketing strategy. Consequently, in the boxplot below, various information on the data series is shown to characterise its dispersion between websites: minimum, first quartile, median, third quartile and maximum levels.

The median splits the population of the 34 websites studied into two equal parts of the exact same size: consequently there are many websites that record a share of brand reputation related visits of less than 6.2% as there are sites that record a share of brand reputation visits of more than 6.2%.

For half of the websites studied, the share of brand reputation visits is between 2% and 12.3%.

Lastly, dispersion is very high as during October 2008 the lowest share of brand reputation visits measured was 0.1% while the highest was 21.9%.


Since the beginning of the year, the share of brand reputation based visits has risen by one percentage point, from 6.5% in January to 7.4% in October 2008. We observe a slight spike in March 2008 (+ 0.7 point vs. February and + 0.4 point vs. April), months when French Municipal and Cantonal local elections were held. Given these events, we assume that internet users went directly to the media websites they knew (especially some regional newspaper websites) to gain precise information or the first on-line results.

After a stabilisation phase, the brand reputation share of visits was up in September and October 2008.


Some 8 out of 10 brand reputation based visits to Media websites continue past the first page seen

On average, for a Media website that declared a brand reputation analysis, it was brand reputation access, out of all types of access, that generated the greatest number of visits accessing two or more pages: 77% of entering visits during October 2008.

Direct access (directly entering the URL, bookmarks/favourites or mail via a mail program like Outlook) comes second with 58% of entering visits. Direct access, a symbol of visitor loyalty, is another affluent that strongly reflects the brand reputation concept. In the end, visits identified as being "brand reputation" ones in the search engines are often closer to direct access ones (where the internet user types the brand name into a search engine rather than typing the website address into their browser) that a true search as performed by internet users on generic terms.

Third place is taken by e-mailing campaigns with 51% of entering visits, the same score as RSS streams, advertising and portal websites (websites that belong to the same group as the website visited).


Brand reputation based access also comes first in the number of pages views per entering visit with 8.2 pages. Sponsored links record the same score of 8.2 pages, followed by advertising (7.4 pages), RSS streams and direct access (both at 7 pages seen per entering visit).

We therefore observe that visits to a single page are almost twice as numerous via direct access than via brand reputation access (42% vs. 23%) and that the number of pages views per entering visit remains lower (7 via direct access vs. 8.2 via brand reputation). Most likely, this reflects a different behaviour: once their loyalty is established, direct access visitors come visit the website more often, focusing on specific pages, or even just one page in some cases, whereas brand reputation visits are a little less targeted, not in terms of the brand sought but rather the website pages to be visited.


Brand reputation based visits (using search engines or via direct access) are of significant interest: the visitor does not reach the website after a series of general searches or bombarded by advertising, but truly thanks to an initial choice made.

Unlike bookmarked (direct access) visits, visitors who go to a Media website using a brand reputation search via a search engine spontaneously think of the same media name even if they do not necessarily know the website itself or even if they do not visit it often (except, especially, for internet users who use brand reputation access instead of setting it in their favourites). These reputation visits, moreover very interesting, therefore represent a non-negligible acquisition source, even a potential development of loyalty to be captured, notably by the implementation of zoning marketing actions such as an online questionnaire, for example.

For a website, in addition to the fact of knowing its level of online reputation, the analysis of this presents a double interest:

  • to optimize its referencing via the study of generic terms associated to its brand name during searches. One of the issues is in fact to appear the highest possible in the list of results, even on these more generic searches, in order to not leave these spaces free to competitors. It is thereby also essential to reference the brand names well, directly including the generic terms; Internet users often use search engines as a navigation bar.

  • to appreciate the impact of its offline communication operations on the evolution of its online reputation.


The websites retained for this study were Media websites (excluding radio and TV broadcasters), whose declared expressions led to the detection of "Brand reputation" type visits each day during the study period.
The indicators presented in this survey correspond to the average trends recorded on the websites of the perimeter of study.


- Direct access: direct entry of the URL, bookmarks (favorites) or e-mail (via messaging software like Outlook)
- Access by e-mails: access made from webmail
- Access by Search Engines: access by keyword search in a search tool
- Access by Reputation: expressions registered by websites, refered to the name of the company, the company’s brand names or other associated terminology typed into a Web search engine
- Access by Referrer Sites: access by websites not belonging to the same group as the website on which the visit is carried out
- Access by Portal Sites: access by websites belonging to the same group as the website on which the visit is carried out
- Access by Affiliation and Partners: access from partner or affiliated websites
- Access by E-mailing Campaigns: access by e-mails declared as marketing campaigns
- Access by RSS feeds: access by a link from a RSS feed
- Access by Sponsored Links: access by keywords bought on different networks that allow the displaying of links towards the “buyer” websites according to the subject of the search
- Access by Advertising: access by buying advertising media on the Net

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