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Behind Hearst's Web Traffic Bump

Tactical search.


Bill Mickey By Bill Mickey
03/09/2009 -09:23 AM






Mediapost has a good interview with Chuck Cordray, GM of Hearst Magazines Digital Media. In it, he reveals paid search is a very small part of the group's traffic-driving strategy, at least for the women's sites-a very competitive market, by the way. "For the core women's sites, we buy less than 1 percent of our traffic. It's really search and syndication that drives 77 percent of our traffic," he said.

Knowing where your traffic is coming from and the tactics your visitors are using to get to your site is an important distinction. In Hearst's case, it has been a key driver behind optimizing the sites for search as much as possible.

Of course, Hearst has also built its traffic via acquisition, which Cordray points out in the interview, buying Kaboodle, RealAge and Answerology. But these acquisitions were targeting a specific, younger female demographic as well.

But probably most impressive is the group's online subscription selling prowess. Cordray reveals that the group went from 600,000 to 2.2 million by 2008, simultaneously boosting per-order profitability by 60 percent.

Hearst's Chris Wilkes has often articulated the group's ability to draw visitors deeper into the brands-either as subscribers or more committed visitors via email address submission. Audience Development has a quick-hit story on how they use online sweeps to pull users in. Getting Real Demos From Your Anonymous Searchers.

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Bill Mickey By Bill Mickey -- Bill Mickey is editor of Folio:. Follow him on Twitter: @billmickey

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