Abort73 Annual Meeting / Web Traffic Analysis
Last Friday night the Loxafamosity board of directors convened for our annual meeting–under far less strenuous circumstances than we faced last year. When 2009 came to a close, we were in survival mode. This year, we were able to focus more on growth and development. And despite losing a full-time staff member and despite staying home from all the summer festivals this year, our web traffic has grown. In fact, total visits are up 53% over last year.
The only area where we've seen a significant fall-off is in total T-shirts sold–a decline we knew was coming. Last year, we sold an average of 872 shirts a month online. Through September of this year, that number stood in reverse: 278 shirts a month. We'd love to get that number back up, and after looking at our 2010 sales numbers, we feel we can reduce our target, per shirt profit from $4 to $2, without compromising our bottom line. All that to say, a storewide price reduction went into effect today that reduces the price of the average shirt by about $2.50. More details are available on our Pricing and Profits page.
In preparation for our 2010 board meeting, I compiled what is easily the most thorough Abort73 traffic analysis to date–a 12-page PDF that breaks down our traffic according to all sorts of different variables, and includes targeted, regional analyses for some of our 2010 ad campaigns. It may be overly technical for most people's sensibilities, but if you're a data nerd or have a specific interest in web analytics or just want to really dig into the underbelly of Abort73, take a look. You can download it here.
For my part, the process of pulling all the data together taught me a ton, and uncovered some mistakes I was making in the way our pages are tracked and delivered. Most notably, traffic to our new web store, which went online in January, was not being tracked at all. The pages were missing the necessary code snippet, something I'd failed to notice during my more casual data checks. That problem has now been resolved, as well as some duplicate content issues that may have been hindering some of our search placement.
On the advertising front, it became clear that Facebook offers the most visits for your dollar, but we also learned that the visits they produce are not as valuable as the visits gained through more traditional print campaigns. For instance, page 8 of our analysis reveals that the Washington State students who came to Abort73 through our Facebook ad stayed on site for an average of 24 seconds, while the Washington State students who came to Abort73 through our school newspaper ad stayed on site for 2:30. And speaking of average time on site, I also learned that of all the data Google provides through their Analytics service, this number is the most flawed. It is always underreported. Any visitor who looks at only one page of a given website before leaving is called a bounce – and their time on site, whether it was 5 seconds or an hour, is reported as 0 seconds. It doesn't take many 0 second visits to seriously compromise the reported averages for time on site. See page 10 for more details.
Our biggest traffic gains in 2010 came via search engines–particularly Google and Bing. Our direct traffic growth was not as significant (direct traffic would be everyone who types in the Abort73 URL directly, without clicking on a referring link). And since direct traffic generally produces the longer, more intentional visits (see page 2), that's a number we want to see go up in 2011. Which brings us back to T-shirts. Abort73 T-shirts, pens, stickers, promo-cards… all of these resources work to boost our direct traffic by putting Abort73.com directly in front of people. The more times they see it, the more likely they are to log on. So if the reduced pricing wasn't motivation enough, remember how strategic our gear is at shaping the cultural understanding of abortion. We're still giving thought and prayer to the changes ahead for 2011, but there's no need to wait until then to advocate for abortion-vulnerable children within your own sphere of influence. And we'd love to help!
Michael Spielman is the founder and director of Abort73.com. His book, Love the Least (A Lot), is available as a free download. You can also find him on Facebook and Google+. Abort73 is part of Loxafamosity Ministries, a 501c3, Christian education corporation. If you have been helped by the information available at Abort73.com, please consider making a donation.