8% of All Articles About Crypto Exchanges Are in Russian — Plus Other Findings From the BDCenter Digital Study

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Bitcoin’s recent rally led to a new surge of interest in crypto trading, and even smaller exchanges now have a chance to attract many new customers.

This is the third post in the series dedicated to the new study of crypto exchanges by BDCenter Digital. It follows up on our 2018 research to show how exchanges’ marketing strategies have changed in the past two years. Some of the findings were unexpected and thought-provoking. For example, it turned out that:

  • The three largest exchanges (Huobi, Binance, and OKEx) account for 75% of the total trading volume in the top 30, and the curious fact is that Binance’s share has fallen significantly since 2018.
  • 70% of trading platforms support deposits and withdrawals in fiat, while in 2018 it was just 43%.
  • Simple text search accounts for 99% of Google traffic. Very few users find exchanges through the news or image search.
  • Only 34% of exchanges can boast good SEO, and only half have properly set up regional website versions.
  • Email marketing is a pain point. 50% of the top 30 platforms don’t have an onboarding sequence, and nobody uses trigger emails.
  • Instagram has the highest engagement rate, while Twitter has the lowest.

You’ll find all these insights and more in the full report. In this post, we’ll focus on exchange web traffic sources, interactions with the media, and user demographics.

Only 11.5% of the visits to exchange websites originate from search engines

Web traffic simply means website visits, and it’s traffic that businesses aim to attract when they publish ads and articles. It’s important to know from which source a website gets most of its traffic so that you don’t waste your marketing budget on less performing channels.

Our study has shown that so-called direct traffic dominates with 71% of all visits, up from 66% in 2018. This isn’t surprising, since regular customers either have the exchange’s URL saved in bookmarks, or their browser auto-fills it when they enter the first few characters (direct traffic means accessing a website directly by entering the URL).

The second most important source of traffic is referrals, meaning visits originating from other websites. If a project publishes articles in the media containing links to its websites, all the clicks on those links will fall into this category. 13.9% of crypto exchange traffic was constituted by referrals in 2020 – a significant increase from 8.3% in 2018.

Does this mean that media placements yield a good effect? Not necessarily. The problem is that just two domains account for 90% of all referrals, and those domains pay users to click on ads. They are coinpayu.com and adbtc.top.

As for classic ads (the ‘Display’ category), its share is just 0.72%, which is still 9 times more than in 2018 (0.09%). In absolute terms, the number is not insignificant, at least for desktop: 1.6 million visits a month for all top 30 exchanges.

The leaders by web traffic also have more loyal visitors

The champion in terms of web traffic volume is Binance, with 37.5 million visits a month, followed by Coinbase with 26.7 million. They lead by a very large margin, receiving 1,100% more traffic than an average exchange from the rest of the top 30.

However, the sheer number of visits to a site isn’t the only important metric. Visitor behavior matters, too, including the amount of time spent on the site, the percentage of the visitors that leave after viewing just one page (reject rate), etc.

We found out that the exchanges with the most traffic also lead in terms of behavioral metrics. Their visitors spend on average 2 minutes 45 seconds longer on the website and view 1.25 more pages, while their reject rate is 3.35% lower. This led us to conclude that the visitors of the leading exchanges are also more loyal and more interested in the site’s content.

Two Russian-language websites made it to the top 10 of the media writing about exchanges

The PR activity of crypto exchanges is an interesting subject for analysis. In which media do exchanges prefer to publish their news and promo pieces? In which language do they address the audience, and which genre dominates? To find out, our analysts combed through thousands of articles published between August and November 2020.

Just like in 2018, Cointelegraph heads the list of the sites that write about crypto exchanges most often, with 10.8% of all the publications. In second place we find Coindesk with only half of that number. A surprise, however, was to see the Russian site Forklog in the top 5 (2.6%). Another Russian-language resource on the list is Bits.Media.

It’s important to stress that all the articles published by the top 10 websites in 4 months constitute just 33% of the total amount of exchange-centered features. The remaining 67% appeared on hundreds of smaller crypto websites around the world.

Russian is the second most popular language of crypto PR

Most of the articles about crypto exchanges are, of course, in English (63.7%). The second place, somewhat unexpectedly, goes to Russian with 8%. It is followed by Spanish, French, and Turkish with 4% each. This is interesting because while there are about 420 million Spanish speakers in the world, there are only 250m Russian speakers. The twice higher share of the publications may mean that the level of interest in crypto trading is higher in the Russian-speaking regions than in others.

Few exchanges use situational marketing

As expected, the majority of publications about crypto exchanges are news articles (87%), with 20% of those constituted by various incidents: hacker attacks, legal issues, police raids, thefts, etc. The second most popular genre is an analytical article (6.9%), followed by an interview (2.8%).

By contrast, there are almost no articles about PR events or corporate social responsibility programs (in other words, charity). The only charity initiatives covered by the media are those by Binance, such as its campaign in support of those impacted by the explosion in Beirut – but on the other hand, the media will gladly cover anything that has to do with Binance.

Another curious detail is that exchanges did not use the ample opportunities for situational marketing offered by 2020, such as the Covid-19 pandemic and the US presidential elections. Among the very few platforms to utilize current events in their promotional strategy were Poloniex and FTX with their election prediction campaigns.

Asian traders are interested in lotteries

Apart from the marketing activity by the exchanges themselves, we have also looked at what interests their customers, using the web analytics tool Similarweb.

As could be expected, a large proportion of traders are interested in finance as a whole (up to 26% of the users on some exchanges) and investments (up to 24%). The most interesting insight is the high (up to 32%) level of interest in lotteries among the audience of those exchanges that mainly attract users from China, Thailand, and Indonesia. While on those exchanges that attract a Korean audience, users tend to be interested in e-commerce and shopping.

Now that the hype around cryptocurrencies is higher than ever, exchanges should seek to maximize the effectiveness of their marketing to attract new traders joining the market. To achieve this, an exchange should learn how the most popular exchanges promote their services, where they source their web traffic, which media they work with, and so forth. All this information can be found in the latest study by BDCenter Digital, and you can download the full version here.