Libcom traffic analysis 2017

Photo of a libcom reader

A look at browsing statistics and habits on libcom.org over 2017, as traffic increased and mobile browsing became significantly more important.

Traffic

Overall, traffic to libcom.org increased on 2016, reversing a trend of slightly declining visits since 2014.

Average monthly visits (annual change)
2009 - 130,585
2010 - 145,176 (+11%)
2011 - 207,856 (+43%)
2012 - 188,239 (-10%)
2013 - 197,845 (+5%)
2014 - 286,813 (+45%)
2015 - 275,727 (-4%)
2016 - 245,532 (-11%)
2017 - 257,053 (+5%)

Average monthly unique visitors
2009 - 88,731
2010 - 95,862 (+8%)
2011 - 131,108 (+37%)
2012 - 121,401 (-8%)
2013 - 129,762 (+7%)
2014 - 204,179 (+57%)
2015 - 193,162 (-5%)
2016 - 169, 354 (-12%)
2017 - 170,632 (+1%)

Average monthly page views
2009 - 399,156
2010 - 425,007 (+6.5%)
2011 - 594,372 (+40%)
2012 - 461,677 (-23%)
2013 - 390,072 (-15%)
2014 - 539,093 (+38%)
2015 - 518,883 (-4%)
2016 - 437, 900 (-16%)
2017 - 438,332 (=)

Overall, traffic is up very slightly on last year. Looking further into the numbers, visits to the news section are down by 10%, but up to the history section by 8%, which probably reflects the fact that the amount of new news articles we have has gone down, whereas the working class history project , which links to a lot of libcom articles, has grown massively.

Traffic sources
The biggest referring sites (excluding search engines) last year were, in descending order, with annual change in brackets:
Facebook (13%)
Twitter (5%)
Reddit.com (1.5%)
Wikipedia (1%)
tumblr (=)

Technology
The trend of the decline in desktop browsing, and increase in mobile browsing has continued, with desktop browsing now only making up just over half of all traffic. So shortly into 2018 browsing on phones and tablets will make up a majority of traffic. This is added incentive for us to sort out our redesign of the site, which primarily will be to make it easier to browse and use on mobile devices. To help fund the upgrade we have launched an appeal on patreon and are asking for people to support us here.

Year Desktop Mobile Tablet
2010 98% 2% 0%
2011 96% 4% 0%
2012 91% 7% 2%
2013 84% 12% 5%
2014 71% 21% 8%
2015 65% 27% 8%
2016 60% 33% 7%
2017 53% 41% 6%

Content

While it has been another slow year for our news and blogs sections, there have been over 2000 new articles posted to the site, predominantly to the library and history sections, swelling our archive to over 23,000 texts.

There has been a further significant decline in the number of comments posted, as the trend of discussion taking place on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter as opposed to in forums and on websites continues.

New articles per year
2004: 75
2005: 1867
2006: 1991
2007: 1225
2008: 1017
2009: 1558
2010: 1896
2011: 2167
2012: 2630
2013: 2312
2014: 1619
2015: 1174
2016: 2049
2017: 2035

Number of users who have posted articles per year:
2004: 14
2005: 67
2006: 70
2007: 73
2008: 158
2009: 133
2010: 180
2011: 199
2012: 202
2013: 187
2014: 170
2015: 134
2016: 133
2017: 175

Total number of users who have ever posted articles
2010: 380
2011: 481
2012: 586
2013: 662
2014: 708
2015: 758
2016: 800
2017: 862

Total articles:
2004: 2252
2005: 2327
2006: 4914
2007: 6185
2008: 7410
2009: 8427
2010: 9985
2011: 11881
2012: 14511
2013: 16814
2014: 18259
2015: 19531
2016: 21546
2017: 23354

User comments posted per year:
2004: 11267
2005: 42210
2006: 80823
2007: 98942
2008: 59144
2009: 45728
2010: 48802
2011: 46361
2012: 42199
2013: 23687
2014: 18457
2015: 20193
2016: 18619
2017: 11187

Total comments:
2011: 433663
2012: 450780
2013: 499099
2014: 517995
2015: 538130
2016: 556621
2017: 567728

Total users who've ever posted one or more comments:
2010: 3765
2011: 4533
2012: 5604
2013: 6554
2014: 6919
2015: 7351
2016: 7948
2017: 8223

Social networking

Facebook likes
2010: ~1000
2011: 4373 (+337%)
2012: 10151 (+132%)
2013: 16950 (+67%)
2014: 26355 (+55%)
2015: 30419 (+15%)
2016: 36154 (+19%)
2017: 44781 (+24%)

Twitter followers
2010: ~800
2011: 2050 (+156%)
2012: 5236 (+155%)
2013: 9951 (+90%)
2014: 13400 (+35%)
2015: 16909 (+26%)
2016: 20000 (+18%)
2017: 27901 (+40%)

The future

The main thing we want to do in 2018 is finish the redesign of the website, to fix a few features which have been broken for a while, to improve navigation and to improve the site for mobile users. We will have costs associated with this. Our hosting costs have also gone up 20% with the decline in the value of the pound following the Brexit vote.

So because of this, and to make our project financially sustainable into the future, we have launched a patreon account where we can receive regular donations. So if you can spare the cash, please support us via patreon here.

As every year, we would like to thank everyone who has posted here, donated to us or Liked or shared our content on social media. And in particular everyone who has contributed content, especially our regular contributors and bloggers.

Any questions about any of this information feel free to ask below.

Happy New Year everyone!

Comments

jondwhite
Jan 9 2018 19:14

Will there be a list of most viewed articles of 2017?

Steven.
Jan 12 2018 16:31
jondwhite wrote:
Will there be a list of most viewed articles of 2017?

Last year I started doing a most popular posts of 2016 and spent ages on it but just as I got close to finishing I realised I'd messed it up, so I didn't bother finishing it. As no one mentioned it, I kind of didn't bother this year either. However as people have asked, here we go (without hyperlinks to save time but you can Search for them):
1. The trailer park boys, what really happened
2. 6 reasons Chomsky is wrong about antifa
3. 12 reasons to reject the Salvation Army
4. Top 10 Richard Spencer getting punched videos
5. The women's day massacre, 1937
6. White rose documents
7. libcom's introduction to capitalism
8. Basic principles of Marxism - Critique Sociale
9. Christiansburg Target workers strike
10. The Christmas Eve Calumet massacre, 1913

sabot
Jan 12 2018 21:33

An article on TPB topped the libcom list? A sad state we live in.

radicalgraffiti
Jan 12 2018 22:48
sabot wrote:
An article on TPB topped the libcom list? A sad state we live in.

i'd have thought it was a good thing as i would guess that lots of those people would not otherwise have come to libcom at all

sabot
Jan 12 2018 23:09

For sure, it was just an observation though that there isn't a whole lot going on.

Steven.
Jan 12 2018 23:22
sabot wrote:
For sure, it was just an observation though that there isn't a whole lot going on.

it's more that that article is just massively popular, far more so than the average popular libcom article. For example in 2017 that had around 120,000 views, whereas the Chomsky one had 62,000 odd - which is still a big number for a popular libcom article

sabot
Jan 13 2018 00:28

I see. Good to know.

Lucky Black Cat
Mar 9 2018 00:38

Interesting stuff. Wtf happened in 2011 and 2014 to give such a traffic boost? Any idea?

2011 -- maybe Occupy?
2014 -- no clue

Lucky Black Cat
Mar 10 2018 00:40

Might I humbly suggest that you put a link to the libcom patreon on the homepage?

Mike Harman
Mar 9 2018 12:25

2014 there was Ferguson. We didn't particularly have a lot of articles about Occupy in 2011 itself, nor Ferguson in 2014 itself, but people do dig up archival stuff during mass mobilisations and share it around (say on LA '92 or Watts '65).

However there are also really banal things like google search changing their algorithms and similar which can affect how much traffic gets directed to the site.

Steven.
Mar 9 2018 14:48
Mike Harman wrote:
2014 there was Ferguson. We didn't particularly have a lot of articles about Occupy in 2011 itself, nor Ferguson in 2014 itself, but people do dig up archival stuff during mass mobilisations and share it around (say on LA '92 or Watts '65).

However there are also really banal things like google search changing their algorithms and similar which can affect how much traffic gets directed to the site.

yeah it could also be that we had some particularly good new content in those years which attracted more people.

But yeah search algorithms make a difference as well. We can't tell if this is the sole reason, but it looks like the changes Google made to its algorithm back in April 2017, to de-prioritise content from non-mainstream media sites led to an average of about a 10% reduction in search engine visits to libcom as well. Which we didn't notice at the time but looking back I just discovered following a query from a user.

On a related note, all our traffic figures could be an under estimate, as we may have just been counting visits to the http site, not the https site. We have fixed that now so should have more of an idea in the next few months what difference that makes.

Spikymike
Mar 9 2018 15:05

The Trotskyist 'World Socialist Web Site' has been highlighting this last mentioned reduced traffic effect and campaigning on it since around August 2017, something impacting on a number of small left-wing and radical websites.