My most recent blog post on wasteful meetings went gangbusters. It has been tweeted 322 times, shared on LinkedIn 909 times, and shared on Facebook over 2.5k times as of writing this post. But the real kicker was the 3,031 upvotes it got on Reddit. The post made it onto Reddit’s front page and insanity ensued. Here’s what happened.
A few days before April 20th, I started working on a new post about meeting statistics for the Attentiv Blog. My goal was to create something that was visual, to-the-point, and shareable. After I finished, I put it out on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, and it started to get shares and likes at an above-average pace. Then the post was put on the /r/DataIsBeautiful Subreddit, eventually making it to the front page and peaking out at #21.
Before/After Real-Time Analytics
For background, this is a screenshot of what Attentiv.com’s real-time visitor analytics looked like before my post went live. Having just launched out of Beta a few weeks before, we were very proud of the traffic we were driving.
In comparison, here’s what our analytics looked like during the peak of the visitor frenzy. I’m still amazed that our website was able to handle the load. The average number of concurrent visitors on the site for the day was around 2,200.
Visitors from Past Press for Comparison
Keep in mind that Attentiv’s launch story had been featured in Fast Company only two weeks before. The article was shared 1.3k times (which is higher than the average for a Fast Company article about a new software) and drove about 3,500 visitors. Here’s our visitor overview from that week.
Here’s the crazy part. As soon as you change the weekly analytics to include the viral blog post, you can’t even tell that Fast Company happened. Yes, our bounce rate was huge, and yes, the average session duration was only 10 seconds, but we weren’t expecting people to stay long for such a short blog post anyway. Plus, the visitor count was what really blew us away. All-in-all, the post drove about 280,000 unique visitors to our website. Pretty cool.
Here’s what that same spread looked like on an hour-by-hour basis. The highest number of visitors we had in one hour was 28,067, which happened when the post hit its peak Reddit rank at #21. You can see when the post hit the front page – where the visitors start to spike just after 12pm.
Backlinks – Including One from WaPo
Our search engine optimization also benefited from all of the shares and visitors. The blog post skyrocketed our backlink totals. Before the post went live, Attentiv.com had 55 referring pages. As of writing this (just a week after the post), the website now has 698 referring pages with 95% of them carrying dofollow links, including a high-power link from the Washington Post. Look at that spike on April 20!
Drive Time Radio in LA
The afternoon after the post went live, I received a call from the KABC radio station in LA. The producer said that he found the meeting data really interesting and wanted to see if I could join their evening talk show hosted by Jillian Barberie and John Phillips. Of course I said yes. He let me know they’d be calling at 5:05pm in the evening and that we’d hit their drive time crowd during their highest-rated hour. While this wasn’t a huge win in terms of adding traffic, it was a great experience. Take a listen below if you’re curious.
In summary, our visitor numbers were off the charts. The negatives were that our bounce rate was extremely high, and our average session duration was very short. Our per visitor conversion rate was also low, around 0.05%. But we were okay with that! The goal of the post was to produce quality content and drive traffic, which it did. Plus, once we controlled the conversion rate to only include visitors who looked at other parts of the website besides just the blog post, the rate went up to about 5% (which is great). The amount of traffic Reddit sees during the day is astounding, but for an Alexa rank 24 website, I guess that’s no surprise. How do you make your content more shareable? Let us know in the comments below.
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