Image from: Popwatch
It’s a classic battle of Goliaths with fanboys on either side ready to defend until their faces turn blue. An epic rivalry to the likes of Coke vs Pepsi, Apple vs Microsoft, Boston vs New York, and cold vs warm. One side has a web slinging teenager, a team of Avengers, mutant-men (and women), a man made of Iron, a tough guy with an eye patch and a Captain of an entire country. The other, a man of steel, a billionaire in a bat suit and some guy with a ring. It seems Marvel has really taken ahold of their franchises by building a fairly intricate weave of character story lines leading up to the Avengers film and beyond. Not too surprisingly, there seems to be a connection between Marvel movie releases and site traffic to marvel.com. Sorry DC, although the Dark Knight has blown everyone away and is easily one of the best, if not the best, comic-to-movie characters ever (thanks recently to this guy) the movie-to-site traffic translation seems to be lost. Oh and Green Lantern.
Just doing a simple Unique Visitor comparison report via Compete.com’s PRO tool I was surprised to see there really is a clear online leader; DC holds a strong, consistent command in the 250k to 300k range, while Marvel is leading the UV charge with 800k to 1M UV’s and spikes throughout the past two years.
It just so happens those spikes fall during months when Marvel released a new character film: Ironman 2 in May 2010, Thor in May 2011 and Captain America in July of 2011. Traffic differences can be attributed to a few things, like different marketing campaigns (viral vs direct) and how they treat each individual film based on character type. Christopher Nolan’s Batman series has always been a standalone series and not really tied to the DC Comics site, whereas Marvel keeps everything close to the chest (see what I did there?). All of Marvel’s movie sites are an extension of the marvel.com domain universe. This provides an interesting view into how each think about their respective properties and where they want to drive traffic.
What do you think? Is DC’s standalone approach necessary based on the character? If you saw the Avengers film what did you think? (sans spoilers – but I’m guessing they save the planet) Sound off in the comments.