The Truth About TTAG: 2014 Q2

pageviews-line

Every quarter we like to give readers an idea of how TTAG is doing in terms of readership and pageviews by throwing the books wide open and showing you the raw stats for the site. It’s probably not very interesting to most of you, but advertisers are naturally interested and that in turn keeps the doors open. If we had doors, that is. Most websites don’t share this kind of data, choosing instead to keep it confidential. We believe in openness and transparency, and in that spirit present the following accounting of TTAG’s performance . . .

The first graph up top is the metric most advertisers care about: raw pageviews. More pageviews means more impressions for their ads and so forth. Over the last year TTAG has seen an uncharacteristically high rate of increase in that metric, and in the last couple months things seem to have calmed down a little bit, which is fairly standard for this time of year. We’re still pulling twice as many pageviews as we were this time last year, but month-to-month things are a little more calm. Let me illustrate with another graph.

pageviews-stacked

I whipped this one up when RF was concerned that our numbers might be dropping a little bit. And they are — the summer slump is very real, as more people go outside and actually shoot things rather than reading about it on the intertubes. But while last year was a more precipitous drop in traffic about this time, it looks like we’re holding relatively steady this time around.

Looking at the delta pageviews chart that’s even more obvious.

Delta-pvm

We aren’t seeing the same kind of wild traffic swings that we’ve seen in the past, which is a good thing. And in general, traffic seems to still be trending up. It’s just a more gradual ramp instead of the massive Feinstein-induced spikes of earlier this year.

One interesting point is that while the pageviews have stayed relatively steady, the number of readers seems to be increasing. Well, increasing as best we can figure.

readers-line

The “unique visitors” metric is a tricky one, since counting absolute unique visitors is difficult in a world where people have multiple devices and entire city blocks share one public IP address. That’s why I prefer the pageviews metric, since it’s a concrete number instead of an interpreted one. Nevertheless, as far as we can tell we had more readers than ever this month, clocking in just north of 2.25 million.

My favorite metric, though, is the average time on site. In the second quarter of 2014 TTAG’s average time on site was 6:58. That’s up nearly a full minute from last quarter, and means readers are actually, you know, reading our articles. Sure, some people skim the content and only look at the pictures, but most visitors take the time to 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 May 2014, since June 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 Q2 of 2014, that figure is $684,964,572.05. In other words, this one website cost the world economy over $684 MILLION 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 4,592
Bearing Arms 6,118
The Survivalist Blog 7,141
Guns.com 9,134
The Firearm Blog 9,951
Gunbot 11,505
Ammoland 12,886
Guns & Ammo 14,331
ENDO 18,444
American Rifleman 34,595
Moms Demand Action 35,537
Monderno 39,886
The Gun Wire 40,351
Gun Nuts Media 41,987
Walls of the City 87,185
Sipsey Street Irregulars 128,937
SaysUncle 166,219
NRA Blog 296,730
JTT 349,834
Mayors Against Illegal Guns 7002457

(Numbers as of 7/1/2014 11:00 PM Central)

As always, we’re #1 when it comes to firearms-related blogs. I’ve given away our secret to success time and again. Every quarter, in fact. The reason we are constantly growing in terms of traffic is our massive 300+ article catalog of gun reviews, and that’s supported by the list of the top 25 articles by pageviews this quarter.

  1. P320 Entry: “I’ll Only Be Out For A Few Minutes”
  2. BREAKING: Dianne Feinstein Introduces Federal Bill to Confiscate Guns
  3. The Coming Crash in Ammunition Prices
  4. Gun Review: GLOCK 42
  5. Gun Review: Smith & Wesson M&P9 Shield
  6. AR-15 Rifle Choices
  7. BREAKING: Concealed Carry Holder Stopped Las Vegas Shooters from Continuing Killing Spree
  8. The ATF May Have Accidentally Thrown Open the Machine Gun Registry
  9. BREAKING: ATF Confirms Firing an AR-15 Pistol From the Shoulder Using SIG’s Brace is A-OK
  10. Oops: Red Jacket Firearms Loses Their FFL
  11. Gun Review: Smith & Wesson M&P15 Sport
  12. Obama Praises Australian Gun Confiscation, Vows to Act Without Congress
  13. Cops, MRAPs and the Heartbreak of Police Operator Syndrome
  14. BREAKING: Seven Dead in Santa Barbara Drive-By Spree Killing
  15. Gun Review: Ruger LC9
  16. Gun Review: Glock 19 Gen4 9X19mm
  17. Gun Review: GLOCK 26 Gen 4
  18. Gun Review: Remington R51
  19. Gun Review: FN Five-SeveN
  20. Gun Review: SIG SAUER SP2022
  21. Gun Review: Beretta Nano
  22. Gun Review: Springfield Armory XD-S .45 ACP
  23. Gun Review: Hi-Point C9 9mm Pistol
  24. G2 Research’s RIP Ammo – Ballistic Testing, Phase One
  25. Gun Review: SIG SAUER P226

While the tip-top of the chart is definitely dominated by “breaking news” type stories, the fact that half of the articles on the top 25 list are gun reviews should tell you something about how popular our reviews really are. Looking at the full list, it’s clear that they are the true driver of traffic for the site, and in fact only about 10% to 20% of our traffic for a given day is from articles published in the last 24 hours. If we were to close down shop tomorrow and never publish another article, we’d still beat every other gun blog out there for some time to come.

I initially disagreed with Dan on the winner of the P230 contest, by the way. I thought that our #1 article for the quarter — Tommy Y.’s story of being attacked in his car which got 200,000+ pageviews — should win the gun. Dan didn’t see things my way, and given the quality of the article he picked, I can’t fault him for his choice.

That about wraps things up for this quarter. I’ll have the results of the TTAG reader survey next week, so stay tuned!

comments

  1. avatar Michael Nieto says:

    What about the readers survey I want my night thingy

    1. avatar Steve in MD says:

      What are you talking about? That’s my night thingy.

      1. avatar Travis says:

        It might be your night thingy, but it’s going to my mailbox.

        I’ll let you know how it works

        1. avatar TheBear says:

          It’s going to your mailbox after I sell it to you after I win it… you know, because although I never win anything, this time will be an exception.

        2. avatar Ralph says:

          I have a night thingy that goes up.

        3. avatar Joe R. says:

          Boom! Yep thread went there in ~ 5 posts.

          Ralph’s night thingy is not my night vision monocle. Which is my night-thingy, there are many like it, but this one is mine. Without my night thingy, I am nothing. Without me, my night-thingy would obviously be horded over by you cretins. ; P

  2. avatar Mike says:

    You guys are doing a great job with the blog and of keeping it interesting.

    Good to see that Mayors Against (Freedom-Loving Americans) is so poorly regarded. I would imagine that this ranking is low enough to be about irrelevant as far as Internet traffic trends are concerned.

    Keep up the great work and thanks for what you are doing!

  3. avatar tdgrafton says:

    Feedback. That ever important last step on the problem solving process.

    Cheers.

  4. avatar tfunk says:

    So, any news on the ATF throwing open the machine gun registry front?

    1. avatar rosignol says:

      I hear there might be an announcement next April 1st.

  5. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    Terrific stats.
    The survey will be interesting reading. It’ll be interesting to see how many people responded.

    Keep up the great work guys

  6. avatar Illinois Minion says:

    Well done. Keep it up.

  7. avatar former water walker says:

    Night vision thingy…I spend WAY too much time on TTAG. I’m self-employed so ya’ can’t count me in your lost productivity stat. Carry on the good work.

  8. avatar Matt Richardson says:

    I still can’t believe you guys are still handpicking contest winners. You’ve been told in the past it isn’t legal and one day it’ll bite you in the ass…

    1. avatar Stinkeye says:

      So if they can’t select the best entry, what other method is there for choosing the winner of a writing contest?

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        TTAG can have a contest to determine the winner of the contest.

    2. avatar Sean N says:

      Calm down, Sparky.
      Contests winners can be hand chosen.
      1. if there is skill involved. Which there was.
      2. If it is known from the beginning, which it was.

      From the info up there, it looks to me more like Tommy earned that p320.. it may not have been the best written, but it generated the most traffic, and a great deal more interaction on the blog than most of the other entries.

      That would be a fun contest…
      Hey, Nick, RF, Dan… Can we have the next contest be based on generated traffic?

  9. avatar Maineuh says:

    Good variety and an unbelievably lively community. There’s your secret of success.

  10. And yet we still can’t get much forum activity going…

    And a nice surprise to see that my own website has a substantially higher alexa rating than the NRA blog. 😀

  11. avatar DerryM says:

    Congratulations on your continued success! Best wishes and sincere Thanks for the quality of the site and the interesting people and discussions it facilitates! All Best, DerryM

  12. avatar Accur81 says:

    Nice work, y’all.

    (Perhaps TTAG should measure lost hours of work productivity?)

  13. avatar Joe R. says:

    Chart is B.S., I checked out this blog more than 8M times in the first two days of March all by myself.

    Great Job TTAG!!!, really like your work, hope it’s paying you a little something.

  14. avatar Roscoe says:

    In your face Bloomberg!

    Eat you heart out, or if you don’t have one (entirely likely) eat Shannon’s heart out.

    You can’t buy true legitimacy.

  15. avatar Joe R. says:

    How much is a unique TTAG membership, and what are the criteria?

  16. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    Question;
    The Alexa rating, is that like golf?

    1. avatar Stinkeye says:

      Yeah, it’s just an in-order ranking of websites by popularity. So the most popular (usually it’s Google.com) is 1. Take it as a very rough indicator of popularity, not a scientific number. It’s largely based on the browsing habits of people who use the Alexa toolbar plugin in their browser. I work in IT, and have never seen this installed on any computer I’ve ever touched, so I question how representative their user base is, compared to the internet as a whole.

  17. avatar Mike Dineen says:

    Two thumbs up!

  18. avatar Lurker_Of_Lurkiness says:

    Am I the only one who wants to take this data and do some curve fits on it? It looks exponential for a while, but then levels off, sort of like a certain diffrential equation…

    1. avatar Nick Leghorn says:

      Looks to me like we’ve hit a bit of a ceiling on the pageviews, and we’re getting diminishing returns on additional effort. Based on my own estimates we’re not at the saturation point yet, but the heady days of 100% traffic growth are definitely at an end.

      Then again, growth is nice but sustainable numbers are key. We can maintain this level of traffic indefinitely.

      1. avatar publius2 says:

        Maybe if you loosely partnered up with someone who is already selling ammo or guns,
        you could double+ up on existing page views, and attract more ad revenue to both sides.

        There would be synergy but no competition from the value proposition on either side.
        Lucky Gunner would be my first choice, as you would have no issue with bias on reviews. Younger group, founded by U of Tenn, former students of Prof Reynolds at Instapundit, I think.

  19. avatar publius2 says:

    Great update Nick. Keep up the good work guys.

  20. avatar Jim says:

    Gentleman (I’m not aware of any ladies),
    I believe that one of your greatest assets is and has been your willingness to be open, honest and transparent. This is incredibly refreshing in an era of spin, twist and obfuscation. I used to read traditional “gun rags” but was turned off by the incessant effusive praise. I felt like saying “Dude… It’s a gun. Some may like it and some may not. Just give us your observations/opinions and call it the way it is.” Even a prom queen has a blemish or two. Keep up the good work and keep on calling it the way YOU see it.

  21. avatar Paco says:

    TTAG is the infowars.com of the internet gun world

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