Thursday, May 20, 2010

Document reveals Gannett's latest website traffic

Want details about website traffic across Gannett's properties? Here's a read-only spreadsheet for the month of April, courtesy of a Gannett Blog reader who provided the document yesterday, and asked to remain anonymous.

I've given the spreadsheet only a quick scan. Later, once I've done more analysis, I'll post additional information about any trends that emerge.

The document's disclosure comes amid a debate over the accuracy of recent traffic figures for The Tennessean at Nashville.

A tip: The spreadsheet contains eight tabs along the bottom; click on each one for a different view of details.

Notice anything interesting in the data? Please post your replies in the comments section, below. To e-mail confidentially, write jimhopkins[at]gmail[dot-com]; see Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the rail, upper right.


  1. The 2.8 million hits settles the Nashville dispute. But what surprised me was the low numbers that Moms is getting. Not that Moms is compelling in drawing people in.

  2. My site has been boasting for the last year about how page views are soaring. Looking at the numbers, that's very true.

    However, what my site has failed to mention is the rapid decline in unique visitors and time spent on site. Those numbers have crashed and keep crashing.

    If we were losing unique visitors (subscribers) like this on the print site, heads would be rolling.

    I guess the cure for print journalism must be to stop grading newspapers based on unique visitors/circulation but on page views instead.

  3. Is that increase in page views from April 2009?

    When did Gannett start shortening web stories, adding "next pages" at the bottom, so readers were forced to click through and through to the end of the story? I recall that was designed, at least partly, to artificially boost page views.

  4. I found it; the "page next" switch came to some sites around February 2009. That means some, if not most, papers are already cycling against those comparatives.

  5. A couple of things I picked up:
    -- The smallest papers (Chillicothe, Ohio, Staunton, Va., and Newark, Ohio), registered the largest increase.
    -- Notice Detroit, which is delivering the newspaper only via the Web four days a week. Yet usage is about equal with Arizona. Are Detroit's subscribers not looking at the paper at non-delivery days?

  6. The metric is owned by the Advertisting, not content, side of the house. Pageviews are reported because they indicate opportunities for banner delivery.

    Increases in page-views from article or photo-gallery pagination are not "artificially" boosting the metric -- Whenever the ads load (regardless of the cause) then, by definition, a page-view has occurred.

  7. Thank you for posting this because of the comment inside complaining computer users are deleting their cookies, making it difficult to track them. I've deleted cookies for years, and didn't think anyone cared until I read that.
    A few weeks ago, Jim came up with a very creative use of a California law requiring companies to disclose the personal data they are gathering on users of their systems. Did you get any response to your letter?

  8. I'm still waiting for Gannett to respond. I believe the company has 30 days under the law.

  9. If you want to see a legitimate example of page-view inflation, take a look at the new GanenttLocal site -- Not only is it slow, it counts the page-view on twice.

    Perhaps a similar lack of discipline lead to the 40% increase in non-affiliate traffic.

  10. Brilliant, 6:09. You take one shaky example and stretch it across all platforms.

    Again, Jim is to blame. He sets the tone for these sorts of non-conclusions.

  11. I think Jim created GannettLocal's WordPress template. Blame him for both the performance and attempt to report artificial traffic.

  12. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  13. I want the "real-time" print circ. numbers. Yeah Gannett is doing the web thing, but c'mon, it's like they are playing Scrabble in a Mafia Wars game world. If I had the cash, I would totally short it all on GCI stock. There is NO reason for any sane investor be positive on this company. Period. Gannett has a LOAD of debt and not much cash on hand; its print markets will continue the downward acceleration.

  14. Agreed 12:34. For a full year, ad reps run around with old circ numbers, basically lying to advertisers. In the internet era, there is no reason for advertisers to settle for 6 month PS or annual audits. And with the rule changes, come next year those audits will be useless.

  15. Re: Detroit. The large number of hits to the Detroit Free Press web site has been a trend long before the switch to three-day-a-week home delivery of the print edition. Both the Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press have long been among the 30 or so most popular newspaper web sites in the United States. The switch to limited home delivery only accelerated that trend.


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