In wake of Metrodome roof collapse, Star Tribune sets page view record

StarTribune.com set a new web-traffic record following the Metrodome’s collapse and Snowmageddon 2010.

The site received more than 8.5 million page views Sunday. That topped Nov. 3, 2010 — the day after Election Day, when a gubernatorial recount became apparent — by almost 2 million, Strib officials say.

New Strib digital president Jim Bernard is happy about the weekend achievement, though he’s quick to contextualize it. Measured in visits, Sunday was only the fourth-highest traffic day of the year, trailing the 2010 election aftermath.

“I’m a big fan of visits because it is less volatile and subject to less modifications by things that are unimportant to really measuring site growth and usage,” says Bernard, who was hired last month after a stint at Rupert Murdoch’s MarketWatch

The page view record, he explains, “was driven mostly by two photo galleries which provided just under half of our page views. Those galleries are the deflated Dome set and the winter weather set.”

(Congrats, photographers: You won the snowstorm.)

Bernard’s comments are typical of a lot of webheads I’ve talked to lately. They de-emphasize page views (which, after all, can be magnified by a hard-to-navigate and constantly refreshing site like the Strib) in favor of visits, which better measures reader engagement. Something to watch as the Strib redesign rolls out next spring.

 

(Repeat visits are better. For some sites, local repeat visits are better for capturing high-priced ad bucks, as opposed to “drive-by” traffic from national or international visitors.) 

At the Pioneer Press, web boss Chris Clonts says there were no records, but traffic was up about 50 percent over a typical Vikings Sunday.

WCCO-TV News Director Michael Caputa says his station’s results were similar — on par with big snow days, but below the 2007 I-35W bridge collapse, still that site’s biggest day.

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