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mwdl traffic by geography

Analytics: Users find MWDL in all sorts of ways!

Happy Autumn 2020! We previously looked at where MWDL users are located and learned MWDL has global reach. But have you ever wondered how all those users find MWDL in the first place? We recently looked at traffic acquisition from June through mid-September and have some interesting trends to share.

Google Analytics segments traffic into 4 channels (or buckets) by default: Referral, Organic Search, Direct, and Social. There are additional default channels such as Email, Affiliates, and Paid Advertising, but MWDL doesn’t currently use (or track) any of these. Looking at the channels in this period:

ChannelPercent of Total
(8,320 users)
Pages/SessionAverage Duration (min:sec)
Referral57%1.431:02
Organic Search26%1.751:09
Direct16%2.221:17
Social1%3.362:22
MWDL Traffic Channels (June-September 15, 2020)

Does the distribution of traffic by channel surprise you? A few things stood out to us. First, the majority of traffic reaches MWDL by referral. We’ll look closer at referral sources in a moment. The next two channels (organic, direct) combined don’t equal the amount of referral traffic; social comes in last with just 1% of all users!

The picture gets more interesting when we consider the number of pages per session and the average duration. Referral, organic, and direct search users all stayed around 1 minute. Despite being the smallest channel, social had the longest session duration with over two minutes — double as long as any of the other channels.

So what are sources for these channels? A view of the top ten sources offers more detail:

Source/MediumPercent of Total
(8,320 users)
Pages/SessionAverage Duration(min:sec)
google/organic21%1.761:08
dp.la/referral21%1.502:08
MWDL search portal (Primo)/referral16%1.380:50
direct/none14%2.221:17
mwdl.org/referral11%1.580:30
omnia.ie/referral6%1.532:14
mwdl-org (AMP pages)/referral2%1.220:05
onlinelibrary.uen.org/referral1%1.971:23
baidu.com/referral1%1.01<0:01
bing/organic1%1.631:14
Top 10 MWDL Traffic Sources (June-September 15, 2020)

Search engines like Google and Bing accounted for the majority of the organic search traffic (and Yahoo ranks 19th on the list of sources with <0.25% of MWDL traffic). The picture looks more interesting when we consider the top external referral sources – Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), Omnia, and Utah Education Network (UEN).

DPLA not only accounts for a large percentage (21%) of total referrals in this period, but the average session duration is much longer–almost twice as long!– as those of the organic sources. While it accounts for a smaller percentage of referrals, Omnia also enjoys the longest average session duration (2:14). [Omnia is a digital humanities project by Niall O’Leary that aggregates records from Europeana and DPLA to offer a hybrid cultural heritage search portal.]

To see what social channels drive traffic to MWDL, we have to consider the next five top referrers:

Source/MediumPercent of Total
(8,320 users)
Pages/SessionAverage Duration(min:sec)
history.utah.gov/referral0.42%1.681:17
gongu.copyright.or.kr/referral0.40%1.190:33
m.facebook.com/referral0.27%5.461:59
umbrasearch.org/referral0.26%1.130:06
t.co/referral0.22%1.660:44
MWDL Traffic Sources #11-15 (June-September 15, 2020)

While Facebook only accounts for a fraction of a percent of traffic, these users have the highest number of pages viewed per session (5.46!) and a relatively long session duration. Twitter (t.co is a URL wrapper) also makes up just a small percentage in this period.

We have a few takeaways from these numbers. First: community is good! Projects that aggregate MWDL content (DPLA, Omnia, Utah Education Network, UmbraSearch) help drive traffic to us. Next, the high number of direct users (14%) suggests MWDL is a known resource and users are visiting without needing to search. Finally, while the overall traffic from social media sites is very small, those referrals were “sticky” with longer session durations and a high number of page views.

Finally — we didn’t forget to look where users are located! We look forward to being able to travel in 2021 and completing more of the map! Happy searching, everyone!

MWDL traffic by geographic location, June-September 15, 2020
MWDL traffic by geographic location (June-September 15, 2020)

MWDL Fall Update

With most schools and universities back in session the summer is quickly coming to an end, but before we fall off daylight savings time, we have a few noteworthy MWDL items for you.

DPLA

Our August DPLA harvest completed several weeks ago and we are up to 1,086,044 records in their portal. Thanks to everyone who has submitted new collections and continually added records to existing ones. Our fourth and final harvest of 2019 will be in November.

If you’re interested in an account for DPLA’s Analytics Dashboard, please let us know. The dashboard gives you access to usage and metadata statistics about your records in DPLA! The ability to make user accounts was rolled out earlier this year, and many of you are already taking advantage of this feature.

Harvest Requests

We have updated our harvest request form to send an auto-response to you. Now when you submit a collection, you’ll receive an email to the address you specify with the details of your request.

Webinars

We’ve hosted two webinars so far this year to hear from University of Nevada, Reno and University of Nevada, Las Vegas about their Islandora migration projects. Thanks to Emily Boss, Nathan Gerth, Emily Lapworth, and Seth Shaw for giving such great presentations! If you missed these, you can still view the Zoom recordings:

University of Nevada, Reno Islandora migration

University of Nevada, Las Vegas Islandora 8 project update

In the week of November 11,  we’re looking forward to MWDL alum Rebekah Cummings sharing more about the J. Willard Marriott Library’s work inspired by the Collections as Data project. Look for more details shortly.

If you’d like to present an upcoming webinar, please let us know and we can get that scheduled. We’re looking for one more 2019 presentation and 2020 is wide open!

Upcoming Conferences

Finally, if you’re headed to the Utah State Historical Society Conference on September 26-28, we’ll be there! Stop by our table and say hi.