Paid search is the pathway to online success – provided you do it really well and don’t go broke in the process – while online content (the current craze) may not be all it’s cracked up to be. Sure, it attracts traffic but engagement levels can be spectacularly low.
These are two key takeaways from Australia’s Top 50 Websites 2017 supplied exclusively to TravelTrends.biz. by SimilarWeb, the global leader in digital market intelligence.
Take the #1 site – TripAdvisor.com.au.
It had a massive 12.3% Australian online travel market share through 2017 – way, way in front of second-placed Booking.com – renowned for its take no prisoners approach to search advertising – at 7.6%.
The bounce rate for TripAdvisor, which also advertises heavily on Google AdWords to support its accommodation meta-search but gets most of its traffic organically, was 40.3% while average pages per visit clocked in at 5.5.
Contrast that with Booking.com, which had a much lower 2017 bounce rate of 22.8% and 10.5 pages per visit, suggesting far more targetted traffic.
This pattern is repeated through the Top 50.
Content sites were great at attracting visitors but not engaging them.
The travel websites of Fairfax Media and News Corp – Traveller.com.au and Escape.com.au respectively – are the best examples.
Traveller.com.au was the 11th ranked site with 870,000 average monthly visits but bounce rate was 75.6% with average page views of just 1.5 and time on site of 1.1 minutes.
Escape.com.au came in at #31 with average visits of 200,000+, bounce rate of 79%, visit duration of 54 seconds and a paltry 1.5 page views.
An outlier on the engagement front was #8 Expedia.com.au, which had less page views than comparable OTAs (7.5) and a high bounce rate of 26%.
And yet the average time visitors spent on Expedia was an extraordinary 22 minutes.
Sister company and former #1, Wotif.com, now at #12, recorded an even longer average visit time of 30 minutes with 6.7 page views and an identical bounce rate.
Could it be that Expedia’s sites are harder to book on, or that that the transactions are more complex – adding flights to hotel booking for example?
Given the secretive nature of Expedia the only sure thing is that we’ll never know.
Another jarring result concerns Australian meta-search business HotelsCombined, which had both its com.au (#17) and .com (#27) sites in the Top 50.
Meta-search rivals such as #7 Skyscanner.com.au and #14 Trivago.com.au had relatively low bounce rates at 14.5% and 18.2% respectively.
But the bounce rates for both HotelsCombined sites were close to 70%, perhaps an indication it’s getting more organic traffic than competitors.
See below for Australia’s Top 50 Travel Sites, which estimate the number of visits by Australian-based consumers based on a wide rage of data sources.
Australia’s Top 50 Travel Sites 2017
|Domain||Traffic Share||Avg. Monthly Visits||Avg Visit Duration||Pages / Visit||Bounce Rate|