news release

  

Experian reveals the UK’s top-performing SMEs online

·         Top 10 online SMEs grew by 180 per cent over the past year

·         Major key to their growth was social networks

Nottingham, 22 July 2011 — New insight from Experian, the global information services company, today reveals which of the UK’s small and medium sized companies grew most online in the last year. 

Compared to other SMEs with an online presence, the top 10 fastest growing SMEs -

a vibrant mix of student forums, social networks, news and entertainment websites – have on average seen their share of visitor traffic grow by 180 per cent in the past year. Top of the fast movers table is The Student Room, an online students’ forum for sharing academic and social knowledge (see table below).

Other notable successes include Binweevils, a 3D virtual ‘world’ aimed at children, which has tripled its traffic over the past 12 months.

Experian Hitwise’s insight also shows the extent to which the fastest growing online SMEs are now reliant on traffic from search engines and social networking sites, and highlights the importance of a strong online presence for SMEs.  Although these small independent UK companies are online based, the success they have seen in creating and maintaining online growth could serve as a blueprint for other growing businesses.

Student forum tops the fastest moving SME list

The chart of the top ten fastest moving online SMEs is extremely diverse. 16.83% of visits to the top ten fastest moving SMEs in June went to The Student Room, which has continued healthy growth since 2009 when it also found itself at the top of the chart.

Two other sites which held positions in the list both in 2009 and this year are Mumsnet and Netmums. These online parenting forums have developed a loyal and continually expanding following over the past few years – their presence in the fast movers chart highlights that long term success for SMEs online is not based solely on appealing to a specific audience or operating with a specific market.  It is far more about successful and sustained online promotion to keep visitor numbers and repeat visit rates high.

The top ten fastest moving online SMEs of 2011 are as follows:

Rank

Website

Visit Share

% Growth

1

The Student Room

16.83%

17.5%

2

Preloved

14.95%

44.9%

3

Soundcloud

14.60%

159.0%

4

Badoo

13.21%

171.3%

5

Netmums

10.03%

47.5%

6

Babylon

8.65%

542.9%

7

Mumsnet

8.28%

47.0%

8

NewsNow.co.uk

6.79%

220,5%

9

Bin Weevils

5.07%

238.7%

10

Sparklebox

1.58%

26.9%

Social networks key to SME growth online

Google plays a major role as the source of many SME site visits, with 31% of all UK internet visits in June to the top ten SMEs coming from Google. However, it is interesting to note that one in five visits to the fastest growing SMEs came from a social network in June 2011. The most popular source was Facebook, which was responsible for nearly 12% of all visits to the top ten SMEs.

Despite the fact that Twitter is the third biggest social network in the UK, it delivers a surprisingly small amount of traffic through to these SMEs’ websites. Twitter appears to be an underused resource by these SMEs, which could suggest that the social network is not yet recognised by this audience as an effective channel, or that these companies are unsure of how to best adapt their marketing efforts to the site.

Top ten social networks driving traffic to the fast moving SMEs

Rank

Website

Clicks

1

Facebook

11.92%

2

YouTube

2.80%

3

Yahoo! UK & Ireland Answers

0.53%

4

Twitter

0.39%

5

Gumtree

0.38%

6

Yahoo! Answers

0.31%

7

MoneySavingExpert.com Forums

0.22%

8

Tumblr

0.18%

9

Moshi Monsters

0.16%

10

BabayCentre UK

0.14%

Simon Streat, Managing Director, SME, at Experian UK & Ireland, said: “Our research showcases a number of SMEs that clearly have the skills and know-how to succeed online through effective promotion and savvy marketing.  However, there are also missed opportunities. Our research shows SMEs are Google-centric and may not be tapping into other sites such as Bing or Yahoo!. Similarly, SMEs are seemingly missing a trick by failing to engage with Twitter, despite its substantial user base and the ease of use and immediacy it offers.

“In order to continue to grow, SMEs need to use effective online marketing, by harnessing the latest tools and tactics to increase their visitor numbers, raise their profile and help source new customers. The diversity of sites in our top ten shows it’s not necessarily about what your business does, but whether it has great online knowledge and expertise to fuel its growth.”

Third party endorsements can also have a big impact of the traffic SME websites receive.  Many customers will do their own online research before buying a product or service, looking beyond a small business’ own website to user recommendations on forums and social networking sites. Experian’s analysis highlights why it is worth small businesses considering how they might be able to influence their presence on these sites to further increase traffic to their sites.  The chart below underlines the effect that endorsements – both on SMEs’ own websites and third party, industry-specific websites – can have on traffic to a website.

ENDS

For more information, visit http://www.experianplc.com.

Follow us on Twitter @Experian_UK for our latest news, views and insight.

Contact:

Ms Serj Heera 

PR Manager

0115 992 2773/07837 652169

serjeet.heera@uk.experian.com

 

Tom Kirkham or Fleur Wylie

Blue Rubicon

020 7260 2700

ExperianSME@bluerubicon.com

 

 

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