Analytics Monday: Week of 12/5/11

The big news of this week is the addition of FigShare to my open notebook repertoire. I uploaded the Crumley data there for all to access. While technically the data was already open and accessible through this notebook, having it in more than one location is better!

I think I’m losing the goal of analytics. While I love looking at the hits and it is a very short term reward, I think the important information is not how many people are visiting the site, but where the people are coming from. By knowing where the audience is visiting from, you can better gauge the level of impact you may have on the scientific community. As an example, a lot of my traffic comes from Google searches – I still get a ton of hits for “Open PCR” (and will probably get more because of that mention there) – which is great, but probably not measurable right now in terms of traditional impact. But every now and again I get a visitor who is referred from a site that links my blog. While right now this is kinda small potatoes, eventually (hopefully) someone will link a protocol or a data set, which to me is just as good as a paper citation. That to me says “this person has a pretty good written protocol that you can trustfully follow” or “here is some interesting data based on a similar set of experiments.”

When that happens (and it will) and it happens to others (and it will as well) then ONS will become a viable outlet for more than just a handful of scientists. So today let’s look at some referrers:

Figure of visits by source (from Google Analytics).
  • A good number of visitors came from search results and referrals. The referrals are listed as: Facebook (predominantly), Google Plus, LinkedIn, Andy’s Notebook, and Wikipedia. I’ve noticed that I’ve been getting some hits from the ONS Wikipedia page which warms my heart.
  • As you can see, I’ve been hitting the social media outlets pretty hard. I actually don’t use twitter that frequently, but I have my posts auto-populate twitter and they go viral from there. I’m pretty amazed because I’ve always said Twitter is useless. It works pretty well for about a few hours and then goes dead, that’s how fast information is nowadays. As for the rest of the social media, I only use it because how are other scientists supposed to come across things that may interest them if I don’t do some form of promotion?
  • A surprise to me is that most of my hits are getting tracked as “campaign” and I don’t know what that means! I know one component of campaigns has to do with visitors from RSS feeds and another source of campaign traffic are hits from Twitter. I would have assumed twitter would go under referrals, since other social media is sourced as that. I’ll have to investigate further since I don’t understand the associations, but it is interesting that I could even have a campaign association for an open notebook.

UPDATE: I removed the section that links to the FigShare Crumley data. I thought the embed box on FigShare linked to the data, but it instead linked to the site itself. Oh well.