Weight Watchers Stays Top of Mind for the Health Conscious

Weight Watchers Scale

Image from: Weight Loss Image / Shutterstock

Summer is 8 days away, and that New Year’s Resolution to shed some pounds and get ready for summer ahead of time is firmly in the rearview for most of us (and probably completely forgotten by still more!).  A quick check of my own mid-section tells me I probably could have done a better job monitoring my fitness this winter, and while my predilection for mass quantities of beer and pizza probably explains a lot more about my extra pounds than my lack of fitness knowledge, I got to wondering where a consumer might head if they were looking for some information on weight loss.  The first name that popped into my head was, not surprisingly, Weight Watchers.

A quick look at Weightwatchers.com in Compete PRO made me feel a little better…

UVs to weightwatchers.com

Huzzah!  I’m not the only one who decides I’m going to be ultra-healthy for the next year on January 1st, and then quickly loses sight of that goal under an onslaught of delicious burgers and buffalo wings.  However, with double the traffic to Weightwatchers.com from the same time two years ago, plenty of consumers seem to be sticking to their guns, and their diets, as the year progresses.

I found it quite interesting Weightwatchers.com also seems to capture traffic from a fairly specific section of the population:

I wasn’t surprised to see Weight Watchers’ audience composed primarily of women, although, with celebs like Charles Barkley pitching Weight Watchers’ “Lose like a man” campaign, it’s obvious they’re working to get more of us guys on site.  I also wasn’t surprised the site indexes slightly higher for folks 45 & up.  I’ve noticed my own metabolism isn’t quite what it was in college these days, and it’s a natural for the 45 & ups to start taking more of an interest in healthy eating and good nutrition.  I did, however, notice Weightwatchers.com indexes quite a bit higher than most sites online for the wealthy set.  (If you’re listening BMW & Fidelity, this might be a good site to place some ads on!)  My own love handles notwithstanding, we know Americans from poorer sections of the country are far more likely, statistically, to be overweight than those in the wealthier zip codes.  This trend can be attributed to myriad socio-economic factors.  However, I did find it interesting that a site about weight loss also skews so far towards wealthier folks.

Switching gears to take a look at Weightwatchers.com’s search mix demonstrated one thing to me very clearly.  Weight Watchers is a branding powerhouse.  Their top 29 keywords are all some variation of one of their Brand Terms, and you have to go all the way down to number 30 to find the keyword “weight,” and into the 40s for the next non-branded term “weight loss tips.”

Search referrals to weightwatchers.com

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised they were the first name that popped into my head when I thought about weight loss.  That seems to be the goal, and with almost 5M U.S. consumers visiting the site a month, its working!  We know Weight Watchers does a lot of display advertising, and it seems most of their search strategy is built around the idea that you get your site top of mind for consumers, and they’ll find you, rather than focusing on more generic keywords in hopes of catching searches that don’t necessarily relate to your brand.  It would be very interesting to see where Weight Watchers’ highest value traffic comes from.  Is it from search?  Is it from people who’ve been exposed to their advertising?  Or does it come from affiliates and partnerships?

What do you think?  Should Weight Watchers stick with what’s, obviously, working well?  Or is there an opportunity to catch more non-branded search traffic, and potentially increase their audience?  I’d love to hear your opinions.  Hit me on Twitter @tkeene6, or shoot me an email at tkeene@compete.com.