I’m an analytics and statistics nut, especially when it comes to web users and how they behave towards content. Here’s one example of how good work in analytics mixed with knowledge of current user behavior can drive traffic growth by going against commonly held beliefs in your niche:
I did some analytics this evening for TornadoTitans.com and was particularly interested in the effect of us not streaming video had on the overall stats this year for our storm season versus the past couple on the site.
First some background, in the niche of severe weather media a huge majority of people stream. Some have even built brands around streaming. I don’t fault anyone for streaming or enjoying it — but I had theorized going in to this prior spring that streaming for me was a big waste of resources and time.
I found a few interesting things to suppor this. First off, not streaming had zero impact on our web stats in terms of visits or engagement as focusing on other areas tended to result in negating that effect (and seeing overall traffic to our web properties rise).
Secondly, over 50% of our web traffic came from mobile users — which stats have shown aren’t the most friendly towards streaming to begin with due to data difficulties on both ends. One study shows that a two second delay in a click to delivery of content ends up with users not waiting for a 3rd the overwhelming majority of the time. This is especially problematic for mobile users at the moment.
Also, my findings have found that a large majority of our web traffic do not watch web streams for more than a couple of minutes a storm season. When you add the amount of time a typical user watches a stream vs. our YouTube videos vs. viewing pictures, you find that the typical user ingests several times the minutes of ‘archived’ content than streaming.
This year, our uniques on TT.com climbed 55% YoY while content ‘engagement’ rose 33% simply on targeting higher quality content and going against the grain of what is popularly believed to be what most users want in a niche community.
Most of the time I treat TornadoTitans.com as a fun side project to test some new theories out on analytics projection and such. This was one great success story where findings from studies, trends from usage of the website, and common sense combined to create a decision that turned out to be the best possible one.
It’s apparent I became ‘Standard Weather Sanner’ this Spring.
What Didn’t Work
Thoughts to Ponder
"Red Sky At Night"
I took this picture near Rush Springs last evening, it was simply an incredible display of the beauty of creation. I had Sara take the ‘storm path’ home because I wanted to maybe get some awesome sunset sky pictures, not only did the sky not disappoint — I think it might’ve went above and beyond what I expected! Oranges, blues, pinks, purples all over the place!
This picture is looking west at what used to be a supercell but now was just the final gasps. I honestly was hoping we’d catch this storm just as it died but still had some nice lightning to it. That was the only thing missing but I honestly didn’t mind. I shot this with the intention of getting the sky exposed and the foreground just exposed enough to bring out enough shadow detail to create a balanced look.