Summertime is generally quiet time for us, staff take vacations, tech can focus on forward-looking projects rather than scaling infrastructure, and we all get a mental break ahead of whatever craziness the fall will bring.
But those days appear to be over, as Daily Kos continues to crush traffic records month over month.
June 2014 was our third-highest month in our history in terms of unique visitors, surpassed only by October 2012 and March 2014.
1) March's record-setting month was driven in huge part by a single viral diary. (This one, with 845,000 shares and counting.) In June, we've had no viral superstars. The growth has been steady, consistent, and organic;
2) It's summer, and historically, this is the slowest time of the year for us; and
3) June, in particular, has consistently been our slowest month of EVERY year. Yet here we are, crushing it.
Here's just how dramatic our June numbers were: in June 2013, we had 3.2 million unique visitors and 19 million pageviews. As was typical of Junes, it was the slowest month of 2013. June 2014? We had 6.4 million unique visitors and 37 million pageviews, literally doubling year over year.
The obvious follow-up question is, why? Jump below the fold to find out the answer, and as an added bonus, for some comparisons to right-wing sites.
1) Email action list. We send a "share" email with our best performing stories of the day to the most active members of our action list (which now numbers almost 1.4 million). This tactic has proven wildly successful.
2) Facebook. Yup, many of you still hate on Facebook, but it's a huge part of our ability to spread the Daily Kos message to a broader audience. A Facebook rep pulled me aside at a conference and told me the company was studying Daily Kos' engagement on Facebook, as it was higher than anything they were used to seeing. And it's true—we are approaching the number of mentions Upworthy gets, yet have only 1/11th the number of likes. Facebook may have stolen some of our commenting engagement, but they're driving a massive amount of traffic—and high-quality traffic—back to us.
3) Base excitement. I've always used Daily Kos traffic as an indicator of base excitement leading into an election, and if past performance is indicative of future results (not guaranteed), then we're looking at a massively engaged base electorate heading into 2014. It's nothing like 2010. That year, Daily Kos engagement fell off a cliff, our electorate was demoralized and apathetic. We're not seeing that this year, and site traffic reflects that.
So that's why we think June rocked it, but June isn't our only success. Every month in 2014 has been our best month ever, by a significant margin. Our January beat all other Januaries, same for February and so on. This bodes well for Daily Kos as an organization, and it bodes well for us Democrats this fall.
In 2010, 39 million people voted for Democrats, 45 million for Republicans. It killed us. Daily Kos traffic in June 2010? 1.9 million uniques.
We're now at over three times that amount. Six million+ steady monthly Daily Kos visitors—the super-activists in our party—gets us a lot closer to holding the Senate and a House majority.
Update: Compare that Daily Kos chart to, say, Red State:
National Review is stalled out:
One other observation, pretty soon, half of Daily Kos traffic will be mobile, that dark blue band. But look how little of conservative site traffic is mobile. That means they're not getting young and brown people. So their site traffic matches their electoral demographics—shrinking, aging, white.