Excite Australia growing strongly says AC Nielsen

Excite Australia Pty Ltd. is the fastest growing Internet portal in Australia and has grown traffic 65 percent and total page views 71 percent over the past six months, boosting it into the country's top 10 web sites, according to the latest Nielsen/NetRatings.

The entire portal category in Australia has grown 20 percent over the past six months and attracts more than 3.78 million home users each month, said the report.

Excite Australia's marketing manager, Dawn Murray, claimed Excite's growth was attributable to the portal's focus on personalization. Murray cited the recent Excite marketing initiative of a CD promotion with Pepsi/EMI campaigns as an example of a personalized offering to consumers.

"We believe we are the only true personalization portal with Australian content and our research has shown people who personalize generate 6.5 times more page views, are 1.5 times more likely to click on ads, 3.3 times more loyal and generate 3.8 times more revenue. In line with this, we have launched a new brand campaign focusing on personalization," said Murray.

Director sales and marketing at ACNielsen eRatings.com, Lloyd Parata, said Excite had outperformed other portals in growth due to its cost-effective marketing.

"In the current environment, where there is increased pressure on web-based brands to produce cost-effective marketing campaigns, excite.com.au has shown you don't need to invest huge amounts of money in the mainstream media to drive traffic to your web site," said Parata.

"Clearly initiatives such as the high profile EMI/Pepsi promotion, shows there is plenty of scope for traditional bricks and mortar companies and web-oriented firms to benefit from a partnership when the promotional activity that brings them together is well developed and executed."

The growth of web traffic to Excite over the past six months was also assisted by the introduction of a range of product offerings, said Murray. These initiatives include Chat, Personals, Shopping, Invite, the Olympics and Paralympics coverage, Business Listings, Excite Poll and WAP.

Ninemsn.com.au, the joint web venture between the Nine TV network and Microsoft Corp., experienced significant growth of 32 percent and Yahoo Australia, jumped 29 percent.

Web traffic to portals and search engines grew from 3.15 million unique users last August to 3.78 million in January, Nielsen/NetRatings home usage measurements revealed. This category now reaches 84 percent of the active Internet audience, which translates to more than eight out of ten Australian surfers visiting a portal at least once each month.

According to AC Nielsen the latest figures illustrate the strength of the category as a key driver of web traffic. The overall portal category grew an average 20 percent over the past six months and nine out of the top ten portals recorded growth in excess of 22 percent.

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