AARP.org hit an all-time traffic high in May with 28.8 million visitors, as its audience aged 50+ sought out information on health, politics, travel and finance amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The record traffic AARP.org experienced that month is more than double the site’s usual traffic. The previous record for organic traffic was 14 million, Peter Zeuschner, AARP Media's national sales director of digital, told Publishers Daily.
AARP.org also had record traffic in June.
“We are seeing record performance, record traffic and record engagement like we have never seen before, because we are providing timely information that [our audience] needs right now,” he said.
Most of the traffic is coming from organic, unpaid search.
AARP’s average click-through rate has doubled. Visitors coming from Google are up more than 230% year-over-year and nearly 100% month-over-month, Zeuschner said.
AARP, a nonprofit, is one of the largest membership organizations in the world with 38 million members. Its membership represents a one-third of the U.S., Zeuschner noted.
Every member gets a lifestyle-focused magazine six times a year. There are three versions of the magazine, written specifically for each age group (50- to 59-year-olds, 60- to 69-year-olds and 70+). Members also get a newsier bulletin 10 times a year that is the same for all members.
The most popular topics on AARP.org are health, finance and travel. Health is the No. 1 content category in the magazine, “and why people come to the website,” Zeuschner said.
Visitors to AARP.org spend an average of 15 minutes per visit.
“Contextually relevant advertising always works best — with all of this engagement on our health channel, we are serving health ads — and performance improves,” Zeuschner said.
Engagement and performance are up 144% for finance ads, 102% for retail, 76% for travel and 37% for health, he noted.
“Everything we do is through that filter [of the 50+ age range],” Zeuschner said. The website contains a lot of information about shingles, for example, but no content on chickenpox.
In March, AARP’s editorial team shifted its focus to COVID-19 related content, and how the pandemic was affecting health, finances and the ability to travel.
About a month ago, AARP created a specific channel for COVID-19 content, so that it could also serve members’ other interests.
As the country slowly opens up, AARP has seen an increase in lifestyle-related searches on the site, ranging from retail discounts to travel accommodations.
Big topics include savings for retirement, stimulus checks, safe ways to travel, retail stores’ special hours for seniors and the best masks for those over 50, Zeuschner said.