QuarterQ12014

The time has come once again to justify to advertisers, gun companies, and the mainstream media why we (TTAG) matter. All those three constituencies care about is how many eyeballs we can bring to the table, so the better we do, the more we (potentially) get. The more advertising dollars, the more guns to review, the more invites to gun control debates and so forth. Other websites (we’re too classy to name names, but you can figure out they are) go to great pains to keep their traffic stats a state secret. We don’t roll that way. So let’s take a stroll through the stats from this past quarter and see how TTAG is doing . . .

While we usually get a nice traffic bump from the SHOT Show, the January time frame also seems to coincide with other events that bump up the number of viewers in and of themselves. One year it was a gun tattoo. The last year it was aftermath of Newtown and the NY SAFE Act passing in the dead of night. But this year? There were no extraneous goings-on to muddle the numbers. That traffic spike is 100% due to articles we published from SHOT Show this time. And more specifically, as we’ll see in a moment, the article highlighting the Gilboa Snake.

This most recent quarter was again our best ever traffic-wise. But it was also a relatively turbulent quarter when you drill down a little bit.

PageviewsQ12014

The extended traffic spike we saw in Q4 of last year seems to have subsided, and we are once again close to the “normal” traffic curve. I was concerned that after the SHOT Show we were going to see a slump like we did after all of the post-Newtown gun control fervor died down last year, but it looks like we’re back to our old “onwards and upwards” trend. The February dip was a little over 10%, which could partially be explained by the fact that February has roughly 10% fewer days than January or March.

Anyway, March was our best month ever in terms of traffic. From looking at the daily traffic it seems like we’ve hit a new “normal” for daily visitors, but we’ll have to see if the trend continues.

DeltaPVMQ12014

Here’s a new chart for you stat nerds: change in pageviews month over month. This shows the percent that the total number of pageviews changed from one month to the next, highlighting a little more clearly where the traffic spikes were over the last couple years. Nothing really groundbreaking, but still nifty to look at.

VisitorQ12014

The metric known as “unique visitors” isn’t exactly the most scientific count of the number of people who read our site, but it’s an internet standard measure and its’s close as we get. And that number for this quarter is over two point one million. Per month. That’s like having the entire population of Houston, Texas reading our site every single month.

My favorite metric, though, is the average time on site. In the first quarter of 2014 TTAG’s average time on site was 6:06. That’s up from five and a half minutes last quarter, and means they’re actually reading the articles. Sure, some people skim the content and only look at the pictures, but most viewers actually read our reviews and opinions. That’s pretty cool to me.

And then there’s the derived metric we can extrapolate from that figure: lost productivity. It’s pretty simple: if we know how much time people spend on the site and how many of them were here, we can use the average hourly wage (for February 2014, since March isn’t available yet) to figure out how much money we cost the economy in lost productivity when all of you could have been working. The tally: for Q1 of 2014, that figure is $1,589,866,690.84. In other words, this one website cost the world economy over $1.5 BILLION DOLLARS in lost productivity. And that was only this quarter. That’s an accomplishment we can really be proud of.

So is all this traffic because gun sites are doing well, or just because we’re the best? Well, here are a few selected competing websites and their global rankings, as reported by Alexa.com:

Website Alexa Ranking (US)
The Truth About Guns 3,986
The Survivalist Blog 6,446
Gunbot 7,997
Bearing Arms 8,242
Guns.com 8,539
The Firearm Blog 9,432
Ammoland 15,215
ENDO 19,815
Sipsey Street Irregulars 24,740
The Gun Wire 35,630
Gun Nuts Media 41,463
Monderno 45,129
SaysUncle 120,649
JTT 124,014
NRA Blog 173,073
Moms Demand Action 201,798
Walls of the City 295,183
Mayors Against Illegal Guns 1,286,034

(Numbers as of 4/1/2014 7:00 PM Central)

We’re continue to be number one for gun blogs, but there are still a few sites between us and Google. We’ve leapfrogged about five hundred websites since last quarter, and I expect that to slow down over the next few months. Pageviews per site tend to grow exponentially as you get closer to the top, so the same month-over-month gains won’t sustain this rate of ascent. The good news is that our competitors have the same issue, so while the absolute number won’t change much the relative distance might increase more than expected.

For us, our popularity is due to the ever-popular posts we have in our back catalog and their easy availability via Google. So it comes as no surprise that our most-read articles aren’t necessarily from this quarter. Here are the top 25:

  1. Gilboa’s Double-Barreled AR-15, The “Snake,” Makes its American Debut
  2. Gun Review: Remington R51
  3. Gun Review: Smith & Wesson M&P15 Sport
  4. BREAKING: Anti-Gun CA Senator Leland Yee Charged With Gun Running
  5. Gun Review: Smith & Wesson M&P9 Shield
  6. Gun Review: GLOCK 42
  7. BREAKING: Winchester Recalls Lots Of .22 Long Rifle Ammo
  8. Gun Review: Ruger LC9
  9. NY Legal 50 Round AR-15 Magazine, New from FAB Defense
  10. G2 Research’s RIP Ammo – Ballistic Testing, Phase One
  11. BREAKING: Ares Armor Raided by ATF
  12. Gun Review: Beretta Nano
  13. BREAKING: Smith & Wesson M&P Pistols to Fall Off CA DOJ Approved List
  14. Gun Review: Smith & Wesson SD9 VE
  15. Chris Willden Saves Three Kids with his Gun
  16. Gun Review: SCCY CPX-2
  17. Gun Review: Glock 19 Gen4 9X19mm
  18. Colorado Town Orders Local Gun Club to Drop NRA Membership Requirement
  19. Gun Review: Hi-Point C9 9mm Pistol
  20. Gun Review: Smith & Wesson BODYGUARD 38 and BODYGUARD 380
  21. Gun Review: SIG SAUER SP2022
  22. BREAKING: Facebook Considering Banning Gun Related Pages
  23. Oops: Red Jacket Firearms Loses Their FFL
  24. Have Retailers Been Hoarding All The .22 LR Ammo?
  25. Gun Review: FN Five-SeveN

Gun reviews are the theme, as usual, but just like we saw last quarter some of the more time-sensitive posts are making it onto the big board as well. The Gilboa Snake was the runaway hit of the quarter, but articles like Leland Yee’s comeuppance and Facebook’s capitulation to Moms Demand Action also made a big splash in terms of readers.

So, that about wraps up our quarterly stats. Riveting, I know. Based on the numbers it seems like the “full steam ahead” approach is the best one, sticking with what we’re doing now — just more of it.

42 Responses to The Truth About TTAG: 2014 Q1

  1. Two million unique visitors… And the grabbers claim that there aren’t many of us, that the 4 million NRA members are pro gun control.

    Lol!

  2. again, I question the lost productivity metric. People wasting that much time are probably saving even more time and money by not wasting time and money on crap like G2 RIP ammo. $1.5 billion in value as I see it. And, seeing Jerry Miculek outfit a tactical stapler? Priceless.

    Unfortunately, with big readership means that I expect to see Moms Demand and Brady now go after TTAG like they do the NRA as an extremist bunch of OFWG promoting child killing. Or, something. Having a TTAG contributor photographed with Watts, and then Yee discredited, and 2+million eyeballs seeing it, has to hurt. Unfortunately its just a flesh wound for the prohibitionists. I am surprised they have not already. I always wonder incidentally what the overlap is between NRA membership and TTAG readership. No way to know, but I strongly suspect a lot of viewers are not. Great job there, by the way. Keep it up.

    • “Unfortunately, with big readership means that I expect to see Moms Demand and Brady now go after TTAG”

      I wish they would bring more attention and viewership.

  3. I know I’m contributing to the stats. I’m self employed so I got no stake in the lost 1.5 billion LOL. Carry On

  4. I’m shocked and dismayed to learn that my article on the French MAS 49/56 did not break the top 25. Dang it!

  5. Hi TTAG you guys are A-OK in my book. Keep up the good work and stay vigilant in fighting for our civil rights (2A) I will reward you with hits at the least. 😉

    Regards,

    Gordon Freeman’s Brother, a guy who appreciates 2A and loves freedom for homenz!

  6. I take my 2 breaks at work to read this site. I don’t think I’ve missed an article in over 2 years. I deeply appreciate all of your work. Keep it up, team.

    • This. I’d like to see more gun and gear reviews and less of the other stuff. Although I do understand why the other is included. Regardless, well done TTAG and you’re welcome (seeing as I view the site daily and sometimes multiple times)! 😉

    • Not this ^.

      Reviews are spiked by google results – not due to regular readers.

      Don’t get me wrong. I like the gear reviews but the other ‘stuff’ is what keeps me coming back multiple times a day. If only gear reviews I’d read only when I was looking for something to buy.

  7. “That’s like having the entire population of Houston, Texas reading our site every single month.”

    Or, closer to what’s probably actually happening, like having the entire population of Indianapolis read your site every month from their computer, and also reading it from their work computer, cell phone, tablet, etc… “Unique visitors” is a pretty B.S. metric when you consider how many different ways people have to access the web these days.

    Still, congrats on continuing the upward trend! That’s where the real truth in site stats like these is, not in absolute numbers, but in the trend lines. And those are really good.

    Now, quit crunching numbers and do some more gun/gear reviews! 😉

  8. Fantastic job, guys (and gals, if KJW is listening)! Sorry I wasn’t there for the birth of this beautiful baby, but then again, there’s always the TTAG “Baby Book” to look through!

  9. Averages can be skewed badly by outliers. I think the Mean time on site would give a number that was more meaningful.

    So, what is the Mean time on site?

      • Ack! Been tooooo long since my statistics classes. Was thinking Median but wrote Mean (twice!) Double Ack! So Median was what I was looking for but the truth is that without stating Mean, Median, and Mode at the same time, the average (Mean) means very little.

        So, Mean, Median, and Mode please. These are all simple numbers to derive from the data.

        • Honestly of all the different statistical methods I’ve been exposed to over the years median and mode are about two of the most useless metrics I can think of.

          When you list all of the numbers in a data set in order the median is just the number that happens to be in the middle. If I have 1, 2, 3, 1000, 10000 the median is going to be 3. I never really saw much use in that. It’s also why news stories usually give you median income as a metric. In general, when talking income the average will be much lower than the median.

          Mode is a little better, but I still don’t have much use for it. How many times any given value pops up doesn’t really tell you much.

          I think what you’re really asking for, and correct me if I’m wrong, would be closer to the standard deviation of time on site. That will basically give you an idea of the spread around the average.

          All the rest of that aside, the stats that Nick provided above are the standard metrics used to judge website traffic. Good, bad, or indifferent those are what everyone else is using. Apples to apples.

  10. You guys so rule. Keep up the good work.
    I save all the time I normally would spend reading news at the StateRunMedia, and pounding my head in frustration, to come here, and hang out,
    with REAL people, with a (sometimes) twisted sense of humor,

    to learn about the Truth About Guns. And laugh my butt off at the foolishness of the prog-tards…

  11. I originally came to TTAG because ther was a gun review that popped up when I searched for it in Google. However I went with the, lets look around, and found some interesting articles. The reason I keep coming back though is the laugh out loud comments from the commenters on the articles. TTAG keep going and all you who comment keep that up as well. I feel you are a huge draw.

  12. PS: Nick,

    a bit surprised, but on reflection not too surprised, to see the number 2 item was your Remington R51 review…
    Right, wrong, indifferent- not re-opening THAT debate, just wanted to say-

    Thanks for telling your truth, even if you maybe got your A$$ handed to you on technical writing type complaints- and IMHO un-warranted flaming, from the anonymous gun commandos and Rem Fanboys. What especially impressed me was how you listened, to some good objections – where the standard prog-tard would have gone full bonkers or blown out.

    The point being thats ALL GOOD in the life of the up-and-coming writer…
    kinda reminds me of the great Jack O’Connor and the debate on the Rifleman’s Rifle- if there was an innertubz then the flame wars would have been intense!

    http://jack-oconnor.org/biography.html

    And thanks to Dan and Robert for finding and supporting and mentoring young writers, with the frank and open style, at TTAG, and for continuing to find more new voices- of all stripes,

    and for any other cigars and whisky medical support, as I was a little worried there that Nick was taking so much time to let the burns heal…

  13. Congrats on the continued growth! I recently discovered this website and it’s a positive treasure trove of data.

    Are you able to extrapolate states and/or countries by vistors? I’m interested to see how internation TTAG is.

  14. I just love seeing the festering cesspits of bandwidth kept by the civilian disarmament industrial complex waaaay down there at the bottom of the rankings. Just goes to show you how little support they really have among We, The People.

  15. Since you have so many viewers, how about you get rid of the scammy popup ads. Everytime I come to your site I get “Firefox prevented this site from opening 2 pop-up windows.” TWO!? Really? One is too many. Then god forbid I click anywhere, since you have an onclick for another pop-up.

    I don’t block ads because I know that’s what pays for content, but I find pop-ups downright offensive. This isn’t a porn site.

  16. Clearly among the reviews the top searches involve reviews of newly produced gun models or those which have recently attracted wider press for some reason, such as publicized use by a famous or infamous person. I assume Google Trend should be a guide as to when to light a fire under a reviewer. Six or seven non-review but gun-related news topics seem to have done very well. Those non-gun-review posts, especially current events, probably spread TTAG name recognition among many who arrive at the site via search engine requests. Breadth of visible categories is a win when up against search engine formulas and a diffuse demographic.

    The structure of the site has a lot going for it when viewed against advertising competitors: The NRA Blog, for example, would appeal to the same audience as its print publications and also other elements in the NRA web panoply. In other words, the blog’s potential is disappated across sister sites and pubs. The Gun Wire is actually designed to be a low time-on-site aggregator. It’s virtue is very low overhead.

    TTAG, by comparison, has (in effect) cross-selling, by offering distinct content of several sorts in terms of search-hit likelihood. Leaving the comments sections of reviews open has the effect of generating (hopefully accurate) updates by readers who use the firearm in question. That’s smart. It probably also makes for better subsequent reviews after the first-look reviews, as the writer has the comments as (perhaps) helpful hints.

    What a well-balanced set of regulars, RF himself included. Old versus young, technical versus current and former defense counsel, very experienced shooters and a few who can give a relative newcomer’s perspective. All good:

    To clone an old joke about Canada, one could start to say “TTAG could have had lawyers writing on gun-related legal cases, technical people writing on gun accuracy and engineering, and journalists writing on MSM bias and politics, but instead they got…” but hold it, having at least three sorts of people by background write both within and occasionally outside their greatest expertise …works. It adds variety of outlook whether within the gun reviews, current events, or pure opinion pieces. Nonetheless, I sense in every gun review the variously light and heavy hand of a journalistic über boss. Just sayin’.

    And why not. In journalist years I estimate RF has 76 years of experience. Use it or lose it.

    I do hope the natural underlying goal of the site, ‘enterprise,’ is also being well met, ’cause surely the Administration ain’t gonna bail you out! Laugh. Good luck.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *