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Numbers Don’t Lie

The stories you most like to visit.

I am old enough, and have been in publishing long enough, to remember when you had to rely on anecdotal conversations or reader surveys to determine what kinds of content (or “articles,” as we called them way back then) were resonating with your audience. Of course, once everything went digital, we had more tools to analyze the audience’s tastes.

These days I spend a lot of time in Google Analytics, reviewing the stories that got the most attention and what drove people to it, whether it be direct, through search, or passed on from a newsletter or social media post. It can be a rabbit hole once you get started, but I have to admit that I do find the data interesting, and I thought I would share some general findings here with you to see if you agree with what the numbers are telling us.

Those of you that follow the Resi Weekly Top 10 reports that are posted on Friday evenings, and which are determined through Google Analytics, may not be surprised at the results, but try not to spoil it for the others.

Product reviews tend to draw the highest numbers — initially they come from direct visitors, but over time more viewers are brought in via search. Product information in general gets a lot of attention, which is not really surprising, since every B2B reader survey I have been involved in since the early ’90s has confirmed that this industry, like the Pro Audio and Pro AV industries, crave the latest information and updates on all the new gear being introduced.

Related to gear news, case studies also track high on viewer engagement. The voyeur in us all like to go into people’s homes and behind their racks to see how it was all put together.

Next up are our blogs and other business advice stories. These stories tend to do bigger numbers up front with traffic generated by direct visitors, newsletters, and social media links. They tend not to be driven by search (although there are always occasional exceptions to the rule.)

The next round are company news items such as personnel changes or rebranding, though not acquisitions, which are hugely popular and tend to shoot up even above reviews, but for a much shorter period of time.

Of course, it is not all about the numbers. If you are a subscriber to our newsletter, the Residential Systems SmartBrief, you probably received a request a few months back to participate in a reader survey. Many of you did, thank you, and the results showed that Google’s numbers were pretty spot-on.

So, yes, this data is handy, but if I am being honest, I used to receive a lot more reader feedback in the days before communication got so easy. I do miss hearing from the audience in their own words what they want to see. I do get an occasional email, usually to call me out on a mistake I made, which is fair and I work to fix it.

I get it — we all spend our days with our noses stuck in email. Who wants to write another one? But I sure would like to read one from you to find out what’s going on in your part of the industry and what, if anything, I can do to help.

Speaking of writing, do you see yourself in this data? Let me know!