- Tracking Metrics for a Digital Project


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Presentation given at the Delaware Valley Archivists Group meeting on March 21, 2013. The slides provide an overview of how visitor statistics and user engagement are measured on and how similar tracking may be done on other digital history projects.

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  1. 1. Tracking Metrics for a Digital ProjectDeborah Project ManagerAzavea Inc. @debsting and @phillyhistory
  2. 2. DVAG Meeting21 March 2013
  3. 3. Map Search PageDVAG Meeting21 March 2013
  4. 4., a project of the Philadelphia Department of Records • 5 organizations - Philadelphia City Archives - Philadelphia Water Department - Office of the City Representative - Library Company of Philadelphia - Free Library of Philadelphia • Over 106,000 historic photographs and maps • Over 11,300 registered users • 15,000 unique visitors per month Camp Independence, Civil War Recruiting CampDVAG Meeting21 March 2013Company of The Library Philadelphia via
  5. 5. What are metrics?  A measure of an organization or project’s activities and performance  Often involve user-based evaluation in the form of surveys  Archival Metrics Toolkits –  Digital tools can track a lot of activity (and bring up lots of new issues)  Numbers? Maybe?DVAG Meeting21 March 2013
  6. 6. Deborah Boyer @debstingDVAG Meeting21 March 2013
  7. 7. Why Track Metrics?  Gain a sense of your audience  Discover what is working well  Explore what can be done to improve  Analyze internal processes  Because the grant says we have to  Defend your existenceDVAG Meeting21 March 2013
  8. 8. What We Use on PhillyHistory  Google Analytics  AWStats  Internal statistics on  User surveys  Comments, likes, tweets, and other social media itemsDVAG Meeting21 March 2013
  9. 9. Learn About Your AudienceDVAG Meeting21 March 2013Founders Week - 1908
  10. 10. What do you want to know?  How do people find you?  What type of user are they (educator, general public, student, etc)?  How long do people stay on the site?  Do they click through to additional pages?  Are they repeat visitors?DVAG Meeting21 March 2013
  11. 11. How do they find us? Keyword searches: Links from blogs and - online magazines - philly history (Plan Philly, Hidden - old images of City, etc) philadelphia - philly archives - philadelphia neighborhood photos - divine lorraine hotelDVAG Meeting21 March 2013
  12. 12. Users  Primarily Philadelphia enthusiasts and citizen historians with a passion for the past  Visit the site every couple months  73% of registered users (8,320) are from Pennsylvania  Generally, about 2:1 ratio of new to returning visitors  Spend an average of 5:27 on the site  Primarily desktop but 18% of traffic was mobile/tablet in last 30 daysDVAG Meeting21 March 2013
  13. 13. And once they’ve arrived…  Use geographic search far more than any other search criteria  For last 30 day period, returning visitors spent an average of 8:35 on the site compared to 3:53 for new visitors  Register for an account – average of 173 new accounts per month in 2012  Some leave right away – 10% bounce rate  Often land on home, search, or blog page. Blog pages have higher exit rates (33%) compared to search page (23%).DVAG Meeting21 March 2013
  14. 14. This is how they search Top Keywords Top Topics/Featured Series 1. School 1. Historical Images of Philadelphia 2. Street 2. People 3. Philadelphia 3. Cemetery 4. High 4. Architecture 5. Hall 5. Philadelphia Piers Top Neighborhoods 1. South Philadelphia 2. Fishtown And the most frequently 3. Frankford 4. Mayfair viewed photo… 5. OlneyDVAG Meeting21 March 2013
  15. 15. City Hall Under Construction, 1881 (also known as the first photo on the search page)DVAG Meeting21 March 2013
  16. 16. Can’t all these numbers just be faked?  Numbers aren’t as important as trends and patterns  Look for reasons for major spikes and dips in traffic  Limit interference from internal actions  Try to track if an action (press release, user survey, etc.) changes in how people use the digital project  Numbers are just one part of the user engagement storyDVAG Meeting21 March 2013
  17. 17. Connie Mack Stadium - 1967 What’s Working WellDVAG Meeting21 March 2013
  18. 18. We’ll Keep These Around  New photos of new locations every week  Regularly updated blog with new entries every week – 41% increase in unique visitors in 2012 compared to 2011  Links from social media – Facebook and Twitter are both in our top 10 for referrals  Being present on Twitter – gradual increase in followers  Error reports submitted by users – 3,200 and counting with 89% accuracy in the reportsDVAG Meeting21 March 2013
  19. 19. Student Photo - 1913 Where toDVAG Meeting21 March 2013 Improve
  20. 20. Insights Gained by Metrics  Bounce rate on the blog is very high. Come for a blog entry and stay for...?  Usage of PhillyHistory by teachers and students could increase  Interesting features are underutilized  Very Philadelphia centered audience; should that change?  Is tablet support necessary?  Improve search process – 63.6% of surveyed said PhillyHistory very useful but only 29% said search was easy to useDVAG Meeting21 March 2013
  21. 21. Typing Class - 1928 Analyze InternalDVAG Meeting21 March 2013 Processes
  22. 22. How Can the System Be Improved?  Each month, we track:  Error reports investigated  Records created  Scans added  Scan requests closed  Revenue generated  Provides statistics on what we can do with available resources Scans Added Monthly, 2006 - PresentDVAG Meeting21 March 2013
  23. 23. City Fair - 1967 Those Pesky Grant RequirementsDVAG Meeting21 March 2013
  24. 24. Benefits of Having Metrics on Hand  Provide solid statistics to include in grant proposals  Gives a base line to compare with benefits generated by grant activities  User surveys or focus groups may be a requirement - Experience conducting them is a plus  Forces an organization to spend time and resources on evaluation and provides funds to do soDVAG Meeting21 March 2013
  25. 25. Vote for the Loans - 1962 Defend Your ExistenceDVAG Meeting21 March 2013
  26. 26. Why Track Metrics  Provide solid examples of benefits of the project  Explain what can be done with the available resources  Demonstrates where future investments might be made to increase user engagement or other goals  Supports future funding requests  Enables better decision making for the organizationDVAG Meeting21 March 2013
  27. 27. Comments from PhillyHistory User Surveys  I often visit your site to cheer myself up. I dont know why, but looking at these old photos lifts my spirits.  Just keep adding those photos! I have to limit myself to logging on only once or twice a month because I get carried away for hours on your site! Thank you for all your good work.  Your background articles are exceptional.  Fantastic endeavor by the city and everyone involved.DVAG Meeting21 March 2013
  28. 28. So now that I have all these numbers…  Don’t get bogged down in the numbers  Always connect back to your mission  Tell the story behind the numbers and the surveys – what do these user comments and visitor stats show us?  Present the data in an educational and engaging way    tionDVAG Meeting21 March 2013
  29. 29. 12th and Market Streets, 1914 Philadelphia City Archives via PhillyHistory.orgDVAG Meeting16 June 2011
  30. 30. Tracking Metrics for a Digital Project DVAG Meeting March 21 2013 Deborah Boyer @debsting @phillyhistory