I’ve been tracking website analytics for clients for 11 years now. The trend has been website activity evaporated by nearly 50% in mid-June and then gently continued its downward tumble until mid-August. By that point, things leveled off and stayed that way until roughly mid-September when activity picked up again. By October, website activity had returned to the early June levels.
Something changed last summer
Website activity didn’t fall by nearly as much. It dropped 20% approaching the end of June and stayed at that “summer-elevated” level for two months. Things picked up quickly at the beginning of September, returning to June levels by the second week of that month.
That trend looks to repeat itself this summer.
Mobile has taken over from desktops
Mobile has taken over the desktop traffic this and last summer. That’s not simply because we want to be connected all the time (though we probably do).
Summers used to mean stepping away from the computers that were anchored to–or more convenient to use at–a desk. Going to the cottage, the beach, camping and taking a vacation limited access to our desktop devices and good wireless/wifi connections.
Mobile devices are now more than just computers. They’re cameras, boarding passes, GPS units and payment systems. And because roaming fees are becoming more reasonable and wifi hotspots more ubiquitous, the public takes advantage of the opportunity to haul out smartphones to share photos, stay connected over social media and update blogs.
More significantly, the public is staying on top of the news through apps and social media posts. That leads to researching issues, companies and individuals. Which means websites and social media accounts still attract a lot of interest.
What does this mean for public affairs?
Organizations, associations, interest groups and media organizations no longer get the benefit of summer downtime. The demand to keep up communication and outreach efforts never really goes away. Websites and blogs that need to remain relevant can’t necessarily enjoy a lighter publishing schedule. It also means the summer student who isn’t as familiar with the industry, its issues and the online participants may not be properly equipped to take over the blog or social media properties the way they could two years (and more) ago.
Mobile is more than just a technology that has reinvented how you present your website and manage your communications and outreach. It just became your year-round prime interface.
Remain active. Be prepared.