In the ongoing battle to win over advertisers, Gawker Media has introduced a new metric to compete with unique visitors and pageviews: branded traffic.
And while tracking the number of people who search your brand may not be the most direct way to pitch audience numbers to advertisers, it does help prove how much leverage your brand has with a core audience. And in Gawker's case, it's an audience figure that's growing faster than uniques or pageviews.
According to Erin Pettigrew, Gawker's head of adverising operations, the blog network is getting more focused on its audience "depth":
"While distributing content across the web is essential for attracting the interest of Internet passersby, courting these wanderers, massaging them into occasional visitors, and finally gaining their affection as daily readers is far more important. This core audience — borne of a compounding of word of mouth, search referrals, article recommendations, and successive enjoyed visits that result in regular readership — drives our rich site cultures and premium advertising products."
Pettigrew defines "branded traffic" as the visitors who go directly to the company's websites or search branded Gawker terms to get to its content.
And there are reasons that this sort of traffic should be appealing to advertisers. As Gawker points out:
"Branded traffic visitors spend more time on our properties (1 minute and 31 seconds more than average) and view more pages of our content (nearly 4 pages per visit at mutiple visits per day). They are also the primary audience for front door roadblocks, one of our most effective advertising products as measured by brand studies and ad unit performance."
"A site with plenty of genuine uniques is one that has good growth prospects. Each of those first-time visitors is a potential convert."
Well, branded traffic is composed of readers who are already converted. That's something that will be appealing to advertisers.
Of course, there's another reason why Gawker finds this new metric so attractive. As Erin Pettigrew writes:
"Despite a distributed environment, our core audience growth rate has exceeded our overall traffic growth rate."
If it catches on, this could be a good way for established brands to prove their value to advertisers. Of course, it's not fool proof. Even if a company's "branded traffic" is on an upward swing, advertisers aren't likely to bite unless pageviews and uniques are also on the rise.