Movie reviews websites have been quite popular in the last few years. They don’t only give information about movies, but also the actors, TV shows and even serve as a kind of a social network. The 3 major players in this arena are IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes and Yahoo Movies. The buzz around such websites is almost one of a cult. People who are big fans of IMDB despise Rotten Tomatoes and vice versa. And Yahoo Movies, a relatively new player in the field, is starting to take big bites into this cake. This is why it’s interesting to see which of them gets the most traffic and from which sources. By using SimilarWeb PRO we’ve answered all these questions and discovered interesting insights regarding Yahoo’s online marketing strategy.
IMDB is clearly taking the lead in the traffic share, with 82% of the total traffic. Yahoo Movies is far behind it with 12% and Rotten Tomatoes is further behind with a small portion of almost 6%. However, this doesn’t tell the full story of these 3 websites. Let’s dig a little deeper and see what we can find.
The traffic sources graph, or how we like to call it – the Website DNA, immediately brings up something out of the ordinary:
When you look on the 3 site’s traffic sources graph, you can see that Yahoo Movies receives 75% of their traffic from referrals compared to just 15% for IMDB and only 10% for Rotten Tomatoes. For us, here at SimilarWeb, this is like a big red flag and is worth further investigating. Another interesting insight we get from these websites’ DNA is the fact that while RottenTomatoes has the smallest overall traffic share, it’s leading in direct traffic. This is a strong indication of high brand awareness and a very loyal audience.
Referring traffic to Yahoo:
By going over the referring domains to Yahoo we immediately discover their entire marketing strategy – over 40% of their referring traffic comes from their own network. It almost seems unfair to the other two sites, but then again, it would be crazy not to use such a massive traffic source.
Another interesting insight we find in the referring traffic data is that the majority of the referring sites are torrent websites. It’s not surprising really when you think about the correlation between the target audiences both types of websites have.
Search Traffic Sources:
IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes receive the majority of their traffic from search engines with figures of 55% and 49% respectively, with Yahoo getting only 5%. This indicates that IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes have concentrated on writing keyword rich content which is frequently linked to. Their brand keywords searches is also higher than Yahoo Movies, which indicates higher popularity of these two websites in comparison to the third one. But with all this, Yahoo still gets twice as much traffic as RottenTomatoes. It seems that size does matter…
Between Oct ’13 – Feb ’14 there were just shy of 2 billion search visits attributed to the three movie sites. Soaking up a huge 93% of this was IMDB followed by Rotten Tomatoes with a tiny 6% and in last place with an even smaller 1% was Yahoo Movies. This can be attributed to the popularity of each site: IMDB receives around 18 million visits per day, Rotten Tomatoes just over 1 million visits per day and Yahoo Movies gets slightly over 2.5 million visits per day. Rotten Tomatoes gets less visits per day, but more traffic from search results and shows that they have concentrated their efforts on SEO. It’s surprising due to Yahoo’s obvious advantage as a search engine and I’ll explore that next.
Which search engines were providing all this traffic? Well, predictably, it was that search engine giant Google mopping up over 90% for both IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes. Google provided slightly less of the traffic for Yahoo Movies with just over 80%. Of note, though, is that 9% of Yahoo Movies traffic was provided by Bing. Now, Bing provided only 2% of traffic for IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes, so why 4 times this amount for Yahoo Movies? Is it any coincidence that Yahoo search is powered by Bing? I suspect Bing provide favorable results for Yahoo content. Curiously, Yahoo Search provides very little traffic to Yahoo Movies and this is perhaps something Yahoo need to investigate to make sure their products are working together.
The Keywords Battle
All 3 websites don’t use paid search and their their main fight is in the organic search arena. IMDB is still taking the lead here but Yahoo movies and RottenTomatoes has switched places. Many of the keywords referring to IMDB are misspellings of ‘IMDB’. This is both a great marketing opportunity for IMDB and a great weakness, since their competitors can easily take advantage of this.
Movie sites are an integral part of the web and many moviegoers’ lives. The three we’ve looked at today use a number of different traffic channels to ensnare visitors. IMDB is the most successful in terms of traffic numbers, but it is still not the immediate choice of movie fans who tend to head directly to Rotten Tomatoes. Where IMDB do rule the roost, and gain the lion’s share of traffic, is in the search engine market. Yahoo Movies struggle in most areas, but appear to have referrals completely sewn up. This is the traffic channel which allows them to trump Rotten Tomatoes in terms of overall web traffic. Although all three sites have been around for some time, there still appears to be plenty of room for new campaigns aimed at utilizing different traffic channels and strengthening their brand.