UKOM Data Report: August 2012

26 Sep 2012  |  Niall Johnson 

August witnessed a fall in the UK's online population for the second month in a row, according to new data released by online auditor UKOM.

Although the initial buzz around the Olympics died down and patient individuals around the country were finally rewarded with some semi-seasonal weather, the fallout didn't affect overall online activity too negatively.

42.8 million people accessed the internet in August, down 118,000 users (-0.3%) month on month. Unusually, June 2012 saw the biggest total audience since UKOM began reporting, with 43 million UK residents accessing the internet in that time.

While the closing ceremony was played out across the world, the amount of individuals accessing the London 2012 site did fall slightly MoM, to just below 6 million users. Although the amount of people heading to the site was down overall, engagement actually improved in the closing weeks.

August saw the amount of pages viewed per person jump to 82, a vast improvement on July's 38 pages. The time each user spent on the site also increased spectacularly, up from 19 minutes per person in July, to 29 minutes in August. However, the official Olympics site remained in 51st place overall.

As usual, the users who fell into the older demographics made up the largest age group. Users aged 55 and older accounted for 32% of the online population.

They were followed closely by users aged 35-49 who made up 27%. Unsurprisingly, the smallest users were the youngest - with 2-17 year olds taking up 12% of the pie. Further breakdowns can be found in the UKOM Universe Profile report.

Brands

August saw Google continue what it does best, reaching over 85% of the UK's online population. The search giant remained firmly in the top position, significantly ahead of rivals, with a unique audience of 36.5 million users. The average user spent an impressive one hour and 44 minutes with the dominant brand, up five extra minutes compared to July.

Out of the top ten, Microsoft and BBC saw the biggest actual losses, down 823,000 and 804,000 users respectively. Those who did visit the BBC site increased the pages they viewed MoM, up to 97 per person. Overall, the top ten brands saw relatively little movement with the top two, Google and Facebook, securing the largest gain in users.

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News & Current Events

BBC News saw a significant drop in visits over the month, seeing the biggest loss out of the top ten news providers. Despite the hunger for information and general buzz around the country, the BBC News site was down over one million users, resulting in a total unique audience of fewer than 11 million.

The Independent grabbed the biggest MoM growth in the top ten, snaring an extra 425,000 users in August and bringing the total to 3.3 million. However MailOnline once again won the battle of the online nationals, securing 8.5 million users and a 20% reach of the digital population, thanks to the sidebar of gossip and orange celebrities that pulls so many unsuspecting people in. The second most popular national paper was The Guardian, with nearly two million less users that it's conservative counterpart.

A closer look shows that MailOnline readers engaged with the content on a more intense level. In August, each visitor to the Daily Mail site spent a concerning 54 minutes trawling through stories, while readers of The Guardian only spent 23 minutes. This trend was also reflected for pages per person, 50 pages for the Associated Newspaper site and 23 for The Guardian.

Surprisingly, global news is one area of the internet were Google doesn't dominate. Content aggregator, Google News, didn't even make the top ten. The only other online-only properties in the list consist of HuffingtonPost and direct rival Yahoo! News Websites.

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Video on Demand

Towards the end of July Netflix announced they had signed up their one millionth UK customer, hoping to repeat the success the company has had Stateside. Whether that mysterious figure strictly counts paying subscribers or includes those that signed up for a free trial is anyone's guess.

What is clear however is that just over one million people in the UK did visit the Netflix site in August. What's more interesting is the fact that each of those million people spent, on average, 34 minutes on the site; suggesting they weren't simply browsing.

In fact, compared to July, Netflix increased the amount of time each user spent on the site by a massive 74% (up from 20 minutes) while the amount of people visiting barley changed at all.

YouTube remained the most popular site to watch videos on demand (24 million users), although a large majority of these visitors would have arrived there in order to view user created content and viral videos. People actually spent less time viewing the site, on average, as the Google-owned property fell by four minutes to a still-whopping two hours per person.

The ITV Player also brought an impressive jump in time spent. Of the 1.8 million people that went to the site in August, 15 minutes was spent by each person on average (up from 9 minutes in July).

Netflix's main rival LOVEFiLM.com secured a much larger unique audience over the month, although it would appear they are a more casual sort. Of the 3 million users that visited the site, on average only 14 minutes was spent by each one.

Sky Go, which brought in a unique audience of 871,000 users in August, saw the time spent on the site drop by 22%, down to 10 minutes per person.

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Further breakdowns and reports can found in the Online database.

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