Observations on CFR.org
Website Traffic Surge Due to
Chechnya Terrorism Scare and
the Boston Marathon Bombings.
May 8, 2014
Council on Foreign Relations
The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is an
independent, nonpartisan membership organization...
Timeline of Events
Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
Monday April 15, 2013
Day...
What is Chechnya?
CFR.org became the authority
for reliable information that
there was no serious threat of
Chechnya launc...
Visits to CFR.org surged on April 19.
0
20,000
40,000
60,000
80,000
100,000
120,000
140,000
Visits
Visits, as an indicatio...
Chechen Terrorism page received the traffic
surge while other top pages remained
unchanged.
Observations:
• The additional...
The method people used to find this content
shifted from the standard.
Typical Patterns
- Natural Search, indicated in pur...
Search Patterns – standard keywords
unaffected, Chechen keywords surge on
April 19.
0
1,000
2,000
3,000
4,000
5,000
6,000
...
Referring Sites not only sent more visits, but
there were also more sites sending visits.
0
5000
10000
15000
20000
1-Apr 8...
The spike in visits to CFR.org happened
early in the morning.
0
5,000
10,000
15,000
20,000
25,000
30,000
35,000
Visits by ...
Mobile device traffic quadrupled on April 19.
- On a typical day, about 3K visits or 10% of total traffic views CFR.org fr...
USA traffic had biggest increase, but
Netherlands and Australia most significant
percentage lift.
0
20,000
40,000
60,000
8...
Thank You!
Melanie Etchison
Digital Analytics Manager
Council on Foreign Relations
metchison@cfr.org
http://www.cfr.org
ht...
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Observations on CFR.org Website Traffic Surge Due to Chechnya Terrorism Scare and the Boston Marathon Bombings

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Observations on CFR.org Website Traffic Surge Due to Chechnya Terrorism Scare and the Boston Marathon Bombings

  1. 1. Observations on CFR.org Website Traffic Surge Due to Chechnya Terrorism Scare and the Boston Marathon Bombings. May 8, 2014
  2. 2. Council on Foreign Relations The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is an independent, nonpartisan membership organization, think tank, and publisher dedicated to being a resource for its members, government officials, business executives, journalists, educators and students, civic and religious leaders, and other interested citizens in order to help them better understand the world and the foreign policy choices facing the United States and other countries. http://www.cfr.org http://www.foreignaffairs.com
  3. 3. Timeline of Events Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 Monday April 15, 2013 Day of Attack on Boston Marathon Finish Line Friday April 19, 2013 Day of Boston Lockdown and Manhunt APRIL2013
  4. 4. What is Chechnya? CFR.org became the authority for reliable information that there was no serious threat of Chechnya launching full terrorist attack on USA. http://www.cfr.org/separatist-terrorism/chechen-separatist- movement/p11121
  5. 5. Visits to CFR.org surged on April 19. 0 20,000 40,000 60,000 80,000 100,000 120,000 140,000 Visits Visits, as an indication of the number of people going to CFR.org, was about 4-times greater than normal on April 19, as a result of an additional 100K people seeking our content.
  6. 6. Chechen Terrorism page received the traffic surge while other top pages remained unchanged. Observations: • The additional 100K visits focused on the Chechen Terrorism page. • Before April 19, this page received fewer than 100 visits/day. On April 19 it received 92K visits. The popularity of this page lingered over the weekend to Monday, April 20-23, and the page earned another 8K visits. • The other standard top performing pages on the site, including the homepage, careers, search, all remained unchanged as a result of this traffic surge. 0 20,000 40,000 60,000 80,000 100,000 120,000 140,000 1-Apr-13 8-Apr-13 15-Apr-13 22-Apr-13 29-Apr-13 Visits Popular Pages All Other Homepage Career Opportunities The China-North Korea Relationship Search Internships Mexico's Drug War About CFR The Future of U.S. Special Operations Forces Chechen Terrorism (Russia, Chechnya, Separatist)
  7. 7. The method people used to find this content shifted from the standard. Typical Patterns - Natural Search, indicated in purple on the above charts, is usually the most popular method to visit the site with about 20K visits/day. - Direct/No Referrer is second most popular, in green, at 10K visits/day. - Managed traffic campaigns including Paid Search, Newsletters, and Facebook or Twitter are the next largest traffic segment with a combined total of about 3300 visits/day. - The final portion of traffic comes from Other Referring Sites such as wikipedia, partner media sites, and others that choose to link to us with about 3100 visits/day . On April 19 - Natural Search doubled its usual number of visits. - Direct/No Referrer tripled its usual number of visits. - Twitter and Facebook exploded at 50-times and 30-times their respective number of visits. - Other referring sites sent 6-times its usual number of visits, and the number of sites that link to us went from 500/day to 700/day. Significant mentions include deadspin.com sending 5400 visits and geenstijl.nl sending 2200 visits. - These massive shifts in traffic sources caused the overall percentages of sources to shift too. - In comparison, managed traffic sources including Paid Search, RSS feeds, and Newsletter traffic performed at the same rate as a normal day of traffic. 0 20,000 40,000 60,000 80,000 100,000 120,000 140,000 Visits by Source Paid Search RSS NLC Other Referring Sites Twitter Facebook Natural Search Direct/No Referrer 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% 1-Apr 8-Apr 15-Apr 22-Apr 29-Apr % Visits by Source Paid Search RSS NLC Other Referring Sites Twitter Facebook Natural Search Direct/No Referrer
  8. 8. Search Patterns – standard keywords unaffected, Chechen keywords surge on April 19. 0 1,000 2,000 3,000 4,000 5,000 6,000 1-Apr-13 8-Apr-13 15-Apr-13 22-Apr-13 29-Apr-13 Search visits by keyword type Branded Searches Chechnya Searches Top Keywords April 1 - 18 cfr council on foreign relations news council of foreign relations terrorism raw india cfr.org sharia law mercosur six party talks osama bin laden research projects aum shinrikyo libor scandal council for foreign relations korean war sanctioned countries bbc news north korea nuclear energy council foreign relations korean war Top Keywords April 19 chechnya terrorism chechen terrorists chechen chechen rebels chechnya russia chechens chechen terrorism council on foreign relations cfr chechnya al qaeda chechnya terrorists chechnyan rebels chechen separatists russian terrorist groups chechen terrorist groups chechnya terrorist russia chechnya are chechens muslim chechen terrorist us chechen relations what is chechen Observations: The keywords are heavily focused on Chechnya and terrorism on April 19. This is a significant shift from a combination of branded keywords, or a variety of unbranded keywords across multiple countries and current events. Our own brand names went from being the #1 keywords driving visits to our site, to #8 and #9 on the list.
  9. 9. Referring Sites not only sent more visits, but there were also more sites sending visits. 0 5000 10000 15000 20000 1-Apr 8-Apr 15-Apr 22-Apr 29-Apr Visits by Referring Sites foreignaffairs.com All Other Referrers deadspin.com geenstijl.nl washingtonpost.com news.com.au salon.com newrepublic.com buzzfeed.com sofrep.com thegatewaypundit.com 0 200 400 600 800 1000 1-Apr 8-Apr 15-Apr 22-Apr 29-Apr Number of Referring Sites Top Referrers April 19 deadspin.com geenstijl.nl washingtonpost.com news.com.au salon.com foreignaffairs.com newrepublic.com buzzfeed.com sofrep.com thegatewaypundit.com uproxx.com theatlanticcities.com wikipedia.org go.com barstoolsports.com nationalreview.com hootsuite.com iconfactory.com andrewsullivan.com Observations: - On a typical day, CFR.org receives, on average, 3,100 visits from 535 other websites. - On April 19, CFR.org received over 20,000 visits from 787 other websites. - This is 6-times the normal number of visits, and a 47% lift in the number of websites. - The lift in the number of websites linking in was sustained over the weekend after April 19. - Most notable sites sending visits were deadspin.com with 5,700 visits and greenstijl.com with 2,400 visits. - The list of referring sites indicates there were other media sites linking to CFR as a reference for credibility.
  10. 10. The spike in visits to CFR.org happened early in the morning. 0 5,000 10,000 15,000 20,000 25,000 30,000 35,000 Visits by Time of Day 5-Apr 12-Apr 19-Apr Observations: - Looking to the two previous Fridays, indicated in the blue and red lines on this chart for a baseline, traffic usually peaks at two times of the day. - The first peak is at 11 in the morning, when about 3500 visits hit the site. Traffic peaks again at 5 in the afternoon when the weekly newsletter is sent. - On April 19, the majority of visits hit the site at 7 in the morning. Presumably, this is when the Chechen relationship to the Boston Marathon Bombers hit the media. - The lift in visits was maintained all day, and the 2nd peak from Newsletter traffic was maintained, although it was not different from its typical Friday performance.
  11. 11. Mobile device traffic quadrupled on April 19. - On a typical day, about 3K visits or 10% of total traffic views CFR.org from a mobile device. - On April 19, about 45K visits or 37% of total traffic viewed the site from a mobile device. - iOS visits had the most increase, 15-times the number of visits on a typical day. 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% 1-Apr-13 8-Apr-13 15-Apr-13 22-Apr-13 29-Apr-13 % Visits from Mobile Devices other mobile Android iOS non-mobile 0 20,000 40,000 60,000 80,000 100,000 120,000 140,000 1-Apr-13 8-Apr-13 15-Apr-13 22-Apr-13 29-Apr-13 Visits from Mobile Devices iOS Android non-mobile other mobile
  12. 12. USA traffic had biggest increase, but Netherlands and Australia most significant percentage lift. 0 20,000 40,000 60,000 80,000 100,000 120,000 140,000 Apr 1, 2013 Apr 8, 2013 Apr 15, 2013 Apr 22, 2013 Apr 29, 2013 Visits by Country All Other United Kingdom Canada India Australia Netherlands France Germany Pakistan Ireland Japan Singapore United States Observations: • The largest portion of visits, and the largest spike on April 19, come from the USA as indicated by the blue area on this chart. • Several other countries sent an increased number of visits on April 19, including standard performers such as United Kingdom and Canada. • The Netherlands and Australia had the largest percentage lifts over normal performance. Australia sent 380% of its normal traffic, while the Netherlands sent almost 14- times its usual amount of traffic.
  13. 13. Thank You! Melanie Etchison Digital Analytics Manager Council on Foreign Relations metchison@cfr.org http://www.cfr.org http://foreignaffairs.com
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