Just an Online Minute... Back to School

If website traffic is any indication, it looks like the back-to-school advertising fever is about to start. Nielsen//NetRatings reports that traffic to education and university Web sites jumped 34% to nearly 3.3 million Web surfers at-home during the week ending July 14, as students gear up for fall semester.

Traffic to MIT.edu skyrocketed 80% to 230,000 Web surfers as compared to 128,000 visitors the week prior. Columbia University drew 191,000 visitors, jumping 54% in traffic, while Ohio State University attracted 213,000 surfers, rising 38%. University of Texas surged 34% to 218,000, while traffic to Virginia.edu grew 29% to 192,000 Web surfers, rounding out the top five list.

On a related note, traffic to websites offering information on financial aid for students also grew. The U.S. Department of Education website, which offers a downloadable version of the Free Application for Financial Student Aid, drew 533,000 Web surfers, recording a 28% increase in traffic. Upromise.com, an online college savings network, skyrocketed 89% in traffic, drawing 506,000 visitors.

On an unrelated note, the National Geographic Web site skyrocketed 332% in traffic at-home during the week ending July 14, leading the way as the fastest growing brand at home.

The site drew 801,000 unique visitors with 66% of the audience logging on to read about the latest skull discovery in Africa, believed to be the oldest known ancestor of humans. The site drew a predominantly male audience, capturing 53% of the site's traffic.

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