Weathering the Hurricane: Online Behavior as Sandy Storms

hurricane clouds

 

Image from: Hurricane Clouds / Shutterstock

Seeing as how the east coast is currently seized in Hurricane Sandy, I thought this would be an interesting time to look into how a weather crisis impacts the behavior of people online. Using a few of the Compete PRO metrics I got an arial view into where people are looking for information, predications, and advice on weathering the storm.

My first impulse was to check Weather.com’s numbers to see if the tension of the storm was reflected in their traffic. Looking at Daily Attention, a metric that measures the percentage of time spent on a site from the whole of time the USA spends online, we can gauge that weather.com appears to be the preferred place people are checking as the storm nears.

Daily Attention to Weather.com and Three OthersWeather.com, however, seems to be more apt for local weather checks. When it comes to checking the overall status of the hurricane, a look into the destinations for the term ‘Hurricane Sandy’ shows that people are more apt to check the NOAA.gov, the National Ocean and Atmospheric Association. This term is the first non ‘general portals and search’ site on the ranking, eventually followed by CBSnews.com and then Weather.com (which has the highest paid share on the term of the top 10).

Daily Keyword Destinations for 'Hurricane Sandy'But what about a search for ‘Hurricane Preparedness’? When we augment the search, we see that NOAA.gov rises to number two, only to be outdone by Ready.gov, an emergency information and response resource. Of the nearly 11% share for this searched term, Ready.gov is paying for about 71% of the search referrals.

Daily Keyword Destinations for 'Hurricane Preparedness'It looks like when it comes to crisis, people are most apt to trust the sites with that crucial ‘.gov’ on the end. It’s sites like NOAA.gov and Ready.gov that have the most substantial traffic for these key search terms relating to Hurricane Sandy. As the storm passes we’ll have a better idea of how internet users behave before and after a storm, but for now we’re hoping everyone has a safe couple days!

About Ryan LaSala:
Ryan La Sala joins Compete as the Digital Marketing Co-op for Compete.com, sovereign of all things social media. Ryan is a current attendant of Northeastern University, dual-majoring in Cultural Anthropology and International Affairs (with minors in Biology and Psychology), with career interests in Industrial-Organizational Psychology and Consumer Anthropology. Aside from acquiring aspirations with big words, Ryan’s other interests include reading cheesy fiction, writing in any capacity, singing and cooking. Find Ryan on twitter @Ryality or connect with him on LinkedIn.