Looking Outside Your Industry for Interesting Traffic Insights

And on the seventh day, Pandora rested.

When looking for something interesting to blog about I typically take an industry that’s on my mind and explore a variety of ways of looking at sites within that category through the analytics tools over at Compete.com.

Today it was streaming music sites.  While I was comparing the category to see if anything interesting popped up, I noticed something interesting:

Pandora.com saw significant dips in daily reach on Sundays:

Last.fm saw its traffic spike on the weekends:

Wondering if this trend would hold over time, I then took a three month view of the data:

Nearly every one of the dips seen for Pandora above came on a Sunday – and the (opposite) trend held for Last.fm as well.  Why was it that Pandora.com saw its traffic dip so much on the weekends, while Last.fm traffic hit its peak?

I was thinking about the question for a while when something prompted me to look at the “Daily Reach” metric for Netflix.com:

Traffic to Netflix was the mirror image of Pandora’s traffic, spiking on the weekends and dropping during the week (aside from the recent Netflix attention)!  The story finally came together…

Consumers find more time to spend on entertainment sites such as Netflix on the weekends, and stream music from sites such as Pandora while working during the week.   Sites such as Last.fm, which focus as much on building a community as on the music itself, seem to be viewed more as entertainment sites than as streaming music sites.   Pandora.com is seemingly being viewed as a traditional streaming music site, which would explain the sharp drop in site traffic on the lazy weekends.

The above trends held more or less true for other streaming sites such as NPR.org (similar to Pandora) and Grooveshark.com (similar to Last.fm).

Taking a Look Outside…

Do you sell snow blowers?  Look to sites selling mittens!  Bikinis?  How about Pool Equipment?  Looking for proxies outside of your industry can sometimes yield interesting and surprising insight into seemingly unexplainable trends in your site’s traffic.