Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Who Are You?

If you are a regular reader, you know that we go absolutely banana-cakes about statistics on this blog. And so over the past month, we have applied our preoccupation with numbers to a new subject: you.

Since this blog’s inception, we have used Sitemeter’s free statistical service to track our visits and page views. But that service, while issuing monthly counts of visits and views, is rather limited in giving us information about our readers. So we purchased a premium account from Statcounter on May 30 which gave us much more feedback about you. And now we are sharing what we have learned.

First, let’s keep in mind the definitions of site visits and page views. A site visit is a series of page views by one person with no more than 30 minutes in between page views. A page view is simply a hit on a particular page. There are always more page views than site visits because many visitors look at more than one page. On MPW, visitors usually average between 1.6 and 2.0 page views per visit.

Even though Sitemeter and Statcounter use similar definitions of site visits, they produce very different results. In June, Sitemeter stated that we had 14,976 visits. Statcounter said that we had 17,108 visits – 14.2% more. The two services were much closer on page views, with Sitemeter reporting 27,705 and Statcounter reporting 27,637 – only a 0.2% difference. Neither service tracks Google Reader subscribers to our content, who number 178 at the moment. All of our statistics thereby underestimate our readership.

This blog’s traffic is cyclical. We hit peaks in the spring of 2008, October and November of 2008, and in the months leading up to the 2009 District 4 special election. Those points correspond to regular sessions of the state legislature and elections. We typically experience lulls in the summer, when state and county news slows down and many readers go on vacation. But the long-term trend is unquestionably up. In June 2009, Sitemeter’s visit count (14,976) was 827% higher than in June 2007 (1,615).

Following is Statcounter’s report on our page views in June 2009. The site traffic at this time of year is about average for us because it does not coincide with a legislative session or an election, but it does not fall during prime vacation time. This data is far from exhaustive. For example, we cannot detect the identity of individual users, but we can detect the identities of some employers and institutions. This is about as close as we can get to answering the question of who MPW readers are.

Page View Distribution by County and State

Bear in mind that many people log in through their employers’ computers and that will affect this distribution. Many of the District of Columbia and Virginia views are probably coming from Marylanders who work in those places. Also, some employers with offices in this area may be branch offices of companies whose Internet service is provided in other states.

Montgomery County: 43.7%
Prince George’s County: 6.4%
Anne Arundel County: 5.7%
Baltimore City: 2.8%
Howard County: 1.5%
Baltimore County: 1.2%
Other Maryland: 2.8%
District of Columbia: 15.6%
Virginia: 6.1%
Other United States: 12.3%
International: 2.1%

Top Localities by Page Views

1. District of Columbia: 15.6%
2. Silver Spring: 14.8%
3. Rockville: 11.1%
4. Bethesda: 4.1%
5. Annapolis: 3.5%
6. Gaithersburg: 3.4%
7. Baltimore: 2.8%
8. Chevy Chase: 2.2%
9. Germantown: 2.1%
10. Arlington, VA: 2.1%

Top Internet Service Providers of Users by Page Views

1. Individuals with Verizon Accounts: 26.7%
2. Individuals with Comcast Accounts: 19.8%
3. Montgomery County Government: 7.1%
4. Individuals with RCN Accounts: 3.6%
5. State of Maryland: 3.1%
6. Individuals with Comcast Business Accounts: 2.1%
7. Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission: 1.3%
8. Individuals with AOL Accounts: 1.3%
9. Individuals with Research in Motion Accounts: 1.1%
10. The Washington Post: 1.0%

Most-Viewed Blog Posts in June

In June, 55.5% of our page views were direct entries onto the home page. The remainder were views of specific pages. These pages received the most views during the month, meaning they were the hottest ones on this blog.

1. Young Guns of MoCo, Part Two
2. Young Guns of MoCo, Part Four
3. Ten Random Questions
4. Is Leggett Undermining Navarro on Day One?
5. Kagan Sweetens Up District 17
6. Young Guns of MoCo, Part Three
7. What ACT is Not Telling You About Rich Madaleno
8. Young Guns of MoCo, Part One
9. Big Daddy Spanks Jack Johnson Over WSSC
10. Maryland Politics Watch: WSSC

Oldies But Goodies

These blog posts were written in 2008 or earlier but still received at least two views per day in June.

1. The Hucker Ballot
2. On Raskin v. Ruben in District 20
3. Who the Frick is Bill?
4. MoCo Most Influential 2008

The Most Downloaded Graphic in June

Now was this a big surprise? The House Majority Leader is almost as kind to this blog as MoCo’s cultural hero, Delegate Saqib Ali.

The user distribution was fairly stable throughout the month, but the specific pages’ popularity varied quite a bit. The Whispers of the At-Large race series once occupied a number of the top spots but was blown away by the Young Guns. We’ll report back on July’s hottest posts in a couple weeks!