2014 was a shitty year for us politically, but as a community, it was the biggest breakout year since 2003.
The chart above is based on traffic data compiled by Quantcast, and you can see their charts of our traffic here. Our numbers are open and available for anyone to see.
We started using Quantcast in mid-2007, so we only have full-year numbers starting in 2008. As you can see, growth in monthly unique visitors was steady but slight 2008-2011, with a decent bump in 2012, steady through 2013, and then ... last year, when we went from just shy of 91 million monthly uniques to 153 million. Eye-popping!
Now to be clear, that's not total annual unique visitors. Rather that's unique visitors measured each month, so if you visited every month last year, you'd count as 12 monthly uniques. So basically what the chart above tells us is that in 2008, we averaged about 1.1 million monthly unique visitors. In 2013, it was about 3.9 million, and in 2014, it was 6.8 million.
Skipping ahead for a moment, this January? We're already at 9 million. Crazy, huh?
Back to the chart above, you see another big trend at play: the falling of pageviews per visitor. That's why overall pageviews were down in 2010, 2011, and 2013 even though the number of unique visitors was up. That's a function of a web-wide shift toward social media outlets, mainly Twitter and Facebook. Today, the Daily Kos Facebook page gets more comments per day than this website does. It's a trend we've never fought. Remember, our goal is to spread our message far and wide. So if that message ends up on Facebook? Good. There are lots of people there worth talking to. So not only do we NOT fight it, we ENCOURAGE it.
Still, even though that has had an effect on the site's page views, all the social-media trends in the world couldn't stop 2014 from going nuts, with almost 440 million pageviews served, compared to just over 300 million in 2013. Again, amazing.
Daily Kos is not election-driven anymore
Check out our Quantcast chart from 2014:
Once upon a time, Octobers would kill it during election years, as people tuned in during the runup to the election. This year, we had a decent October (7 million uniques), but nothing like months before and after (8.5 million in both August and November). What was happening? Both those months saw heavy traffic from police-brutality related stories. While I have no doubt that we got a boost from the elections, we're now at a place where we get bigger
boosts from other key issues and stories.
Facebook and email
Our email action list currently numbers 1.56 million, which is smaller than last year, but we purged non-performing, dead, and/or duplicative emails. So our list is legitimately one-and-half million strong.
Over at Facebook, we have 668,000 likes. Back in September, when I last checked in with one of these updates, it was around 600,000.
See that chart above, with the light blue and dark blue? Well, the dark blue is mobile traffic. This month, about 61 percent of our traffic is coming from mobile devices. And there's no apparent end to that trend. Fact is, fewer and fewer people are accessing the web from computers.
First two weeks of January
So it is January and political news isn't particularly compelling. I mean, Republican took control of Congress, and they're doing and saying all sorts of stupid things. Some of you have complained that we've focused TOO MUCH on those Republicans, but hey, we go where the news cycle takes us. We are a news site after all.
Yet despite the underwhelming news cycle, we've just had the best week ever. Check our our lifetime Quantcast stats, broken out by week:
Last week was about a third better than our next best week in terms of unique visitors. The mix was 2-1 mobile to web. So rather than depress traffic, it appears that our site and community's focus on stupid Republicans has supercharged traffic. Either that or people are generically re-engaging after last year's shellacking. Actually, I don't know why people are tuning in to these extreme levels, but it suggests one major point: 2014 isn't the apex of Daily Kos' potential. We have a ways to go before we max out.
So a big question is when we'll open up the new version of the site to its public beta period. Well, I don't have an exact date, but we're talking a handful of weeks away. We're really, really close. The team is busy squashing known bugs like "comments work funky on iPad", stuff like that. No reason to get you guys to report bugs that we already know exist. Doesn't help us and wastes your time. So we're getting the new site to as close to perfect (to us) as we can get it, before we ask you guys to go ahead and break it to ferret out the remaining bugs.
Time-wise, it doesn't help that one of those "bugs" was me deciding that part of the publishing workflow was overly complicated, forcing us to rework a significant part of the project. But in the long-run, the changes will make the site far easier for you guys to use, and that's what's ultimately important.
It looks great, and I'm super jazzed about what's coming, and I can't wait to share with you.
And it's not all we're doing. We've got some incredible projects in the pipeline, all of which will make 2015 the Best Year Ever for this site. Stay tuned. It's going to be a great ride!