Move over Obama; Favre produces biggest traffic day in Startribune.com history

Tuesday’s Favreapolooza produced the most daily page views in Startribune.com history: 5.42 million. That beat out the old record, 5.32 million, on November 5, 2008 — the day after President Obama’s election.

Terry Sauer, the Strib’s assistant managing editor for digital, says his site typically generates about 3.1 million page views on a Tuesday. Therefore, Number 4 boosted traffic roughly 70 percent. The site’s video traffic jumped four-fold, Sauer says.

In a way, it’s news that the record was ever held by a news story. Sauer says sports accounts for “about half” of Startribune.com’s page views overall, and the Vikings alone generate a tenth of the site’s traffic over the long term. 

“Sports on the web is a huge [traffic] driver; you’ll hear that from just about any newspaper site,” Sauer notes.

One reason is that sports has a broader audience than local news.

Says Sauer, “I was doing some research on where all the Vikings bars are in this country. We put a little query way down the sports [home] page, and I got 60 e-mail responses, from places like Hawaii, Florida and Arizona. That tells you sports is clearly a national and even international driver for us. We’re going to take that and run with it. We have some big plans for the Vikings this year.”

Comments (5)

  1. Anonymous Submitted by Anonymous on 08/19/2009 - 02:21 pm.

    “We put a little query way down the sports [home] page, and I got 60 e-mail responses, from places like Hawaii, Florida and Arizona. That tells you sports is clearly a national and even international driver for us.”

    Yeah, generating unmonetizable page views from Hawaii is a brilliant business plan. One wonders how the Strib ended up in bankruptcy with that keen business sense. Web advertising is rapidly turning into a lead-generation play and no one locally seems to be responding.

  2. Submitted by dan buechler on 08/19/2009 - 03:25 pm.

    Gee I simply do not understand and I like sports. Should the Startribune consider a stand alone sports section. We certainly have enough males with empty time on their hands.

  3. Submitted by John Schultz on 08/19/2009 - 10:14 pm.

    With that amount of traffic, how can the paper not figure out how to monetize the site into a profit center?

    Their rank is the 1,372 in overall web traffic of all websites (source: http://siteanalytics.compete.com/startribune.com/), and yet that doesn’t financially work?

    What am I missing?

  4. Submitted by Richard Parker on 08/19/2009 - 10:59 pm.

    A few years ago, while I was still working at the paper, I asked why a story about some Gophers prospect deciding not to sign with the Vikings got top play on Startribune.com that day and at least one, maybe two important national or international stories got little headlines far below. I was told that anything — anything — about the Vikings got far and away more page views than anything else. So that was what drove display, not the significance of the news. Yesterday I chimed in as the 399th commenter, or thereabouts, on the Fahvruh story with a snarky remark that Startribune.com must have brokered his deal with the Vikings to generate page views. Tonight I’ll add an afterthought here: Brett Favre is the new Krispy Kreme.

  5. Anonymous Submitted by Anonymous on 08/20/2009 - 07:56 am.

    “With that amount of traffic, how can the paper not figure out how to monetize the site into a profit center?”

    Traffic does not equal revenue. (Just ask Joel Kramer about that.) Advertisers want to see a tangible return on investment. The vast majority of the ads you see on the Strib website are low-CPM network ads, the equivalent of throwing a bucket of spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks. These large-scale campaigns are increasingly falling out of favor as web advertising matures. In the past, it was enough that Ford wanted to reach sports fans between 18-24. Today, Ford wants to reach people who are ready to buy a vehicle. That’s an enormous shift taking place. That shift has already taken place in the tech world, and as tech Web marketing goes goes the rest of the marketing world. Unless you can deliver a targeted demographic with solid lead generation, you’re gonna be screwed. It’s a death spiral: as ad revenues decrease, the knee-jerk response is to make up for the decrease by volume. But that increases your costs. The pressure increases, and slowly you sink. And chasing unmonetizable traffic is a poor, poor business plan.

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