Every year at the start of January one of the first posts I do is one looking back on web traffic to the site over the previous twelve months. Here’s this year’s one.
This time it’s a significant one. I knew this day would come eventually and when we got turfed unceremoniously out of the championship at the end of June last year I reckoned that this would finally be the year when the breakneck growth in traffic to the site would end. It has: 2018 was the first year since the blog’s inception where the hit count was lower than that recorded the year before.
Mayo GAA Blog, annual page views 2007 – 2018
The decline isn’t a vertiginous one – in 2017 total hits topped three million whereas last year they came in just under (2,935,013 to be exact). This was still well ahead of the traffic recorded in 2016, a year where our season extended all the way to a replayed All-Ireland final.
But there was a dip in traffic for the year and, digging a bit deeper into the data, the next graph illustrates with rather startling clarity how and when that decline happened. What I’ve done is segment each year’s traffic into halves (i.e. January to June and July to December) and then graphed these data points in a time series. As you can see, traffic to the site went into a tailspin after our championship exit at the end of June last year.
Mayo GAA Blog, H1 and H2 page views 2007 – 2018
The eagled-eyed amongst you may already have noticed that the only previous year in which traffic in the first half of the year exceeded that in the second half was, of course, 2010. Every year since then, up until last year, we made it to at least the All-Ireland semi-final and it was always in the second half of the year was when things were really rocking on the blog.
Aside from anything else, that graph above goes to prove the point I’ve always made, which is that it’s the achievements of the team on the pitch in the white heat of championship that has driven traffic levels on the site ever higher, rather than my own humble literary talents. Once we were out of the race last year, large numbers of you, quite sensibly, switched off, as, to be honest, I did myself to a significant degree as well.
The first half of last year did, though, see very high levels of traffic to the site and this is reflected in the recording then of a few new milestones. A new daily high of 32,398 was recorded on 25th June 2018, the day we were drawn to play Kildare and the day in which the firestorm over the venue for that qualifier tie erupted. The new high recorded that day eclipsed the previous one of 30,317 recorded the day after the 2017 All-Ireland final.
That same insane week in June last year also saw the weekly high record number smashed to smithereens. Previously the weekly high had stood at 144,261, which was recorded in Week 34 of 2017, i.e. the week between the two Kerry semi-final matches. Newbridge-or-Nowhere and all that in Week 26 last year saw the weekly level surge to 171,973.
The prevailing monthly record didn’t, though come close to being threatened last year. The high watermark there remains the 512,395 recorded in August 2017, while the highest month last year was, predictably, June where 409,931 hits were logged.
Speaking of low rather than high numbers, the month just gone saw the lowest hit count recorded for a single month in over four years. Just 82,772 page views were recorded for December last, the lowest since December 2014.
Mayo GAA Blog, cumulative page views 2007 – 2018
In terms of cumulative hits, however, the graph remains – literally – an exponential one, as is illustrated above. Last year’s dip has threatened to inject a polynomial element into the trend but which way the data go for 2019 and beyond will , as ever, depend on how the lads perform out on the pitch. James Horan’s arrival first time round resulted in an unambiguous inflection point in terms of traffic to the site and how he gets on in his return to the hot seat will determine traffic levels to the site over the next while too.