Once upon a time the owners of media outlets would sweat on the latest survey results for TV viewing habits or radio ratings or official circulation numbers for newspapers. These numbers were interesting for the general population – how many people watch The Bold and the Beautiful is interesting dinner party conversation – but the media outlets were a little more interested. The numbers were directly proportional to how much they could charge advertisers. Throw in some additional demographic information and the outlets can loosely target advertisers. Maybe not with the accuracy of a sniper but a little better than a shotgun approach. For example, if I am selling hipster jeans I don’t want to advertise with a media outlet or time slot that appeals to retired seniors.

In the ‘media’ world we live in today, forget all of that. In 1990 we upgraded from one commercial TV station to three and we now have over twenty digital channels and five radio stations. We thought that was choice. Hah! Choice is the Internet – with millions of opportunities for news and entertainment. With a realistic expectation that all of that choice comes at a total cost of approximately zero dollars, it all comes back to the mighty advertising dollar. Now it is a little different though. Advertisers can be given incredibly detailed information about the viewing habits of people online. How long they are on each site. What links they click on. What other sites they have visited. The number of pages viewed. How they came to that site. What they ate for breakfast – OK maybe not that one but with people posting so many food photos on social media channels, this one is probably not too far away.

A list of the top Web sites Australians visit has just been released – and there are some expected but also interesting results. With no great surprise, Google comes in at number one. Google is not so much a site unto itself but more of a portal. At 7 minutes and 32 seconds per day, people spend less time on Google than many other sites but the 7.7 views per day means people keep returning. YouTube slots in behind Google with longer spent on the site per day at 9 minutes and 17 seconds and then comes Facebook. The 11 minutes and 32 seconds per day is impressive but where Facebook really drives the advertising dollar is in how specific their demographics can be. Facebook knows your age and your sex and typically where you live. They are usually aware of some of your interests. All this means they can target the advertising more to what you want – and they can charge more for it.

A few of the other big names roll along next – Reddit; Wikipedia; Ebay; Live; etc. When it becomes interesting is when you start to look for specific categories. Traditional news outlets are further down the list. News; ABC and SMH come in at 18; 19 and 31 respectively (the paid model that SMH is trying is hurting their numbers). In banking sites, CBA; NAB and ANZ are at 17; 36 and 49 respectively. Interesting to note that more people check their banking than news from a traditional outlet. Official Government Web sites are making their way up the list showing that Governments are trying to service the community in a way that suits them. vic.gov.au; nsw.gov.au and the BOM sit at 39; 40 and 47. Porn sites – one of the earliest profit centres from the Internet – still feature regularly in high-traffic sties and the current list is no exception with pornographic sites sitting at 23; 30 and 50.

In terms of time spent on site, Reddit wins the valuable tag as the site people spent the most time on with 16 minutes and 15 seconds followed by Facebook; Xvideos; Ebay and Realestate.com.au. All of it makes fascinating reading for us but for these organisations, the numbers turn into rivers of gold!

App of the Week this week is Telstra Device Care – launched two days ago. It allows you to run diagnostic checks on your device and try and help you resolve and issues found. It also helps you backup your Android device. A handy utility for any Telstra users.

Mathew Dickerson

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