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State Tourism Website Traffic Analysis | Q3 2019


Methodology

The third of our quarterly state tourism website traffic analysis for the 50 official state tourism offices was published today.  The analysis was conducted by the TwoSix Digital team to benchmark and rank traffic to each tourism organization’s website. The analysis graded each state by total traffic, average monthly visits, the share of mobile vs. desktop and engagement factors like pages per visit, average visit duration and bounce rate.   We continued this month to track inbound and outbound links, which gives us some perspective on where the visitors are coming from and where they are going after interacting with state tourism websites. 

Michigan Takes the Lead

The website volume traffic leader has changed for the third consecutive quarter.  The third quarter was led by Michigan, with an average monthly total of 849,506, followed by Colorado, Wisconsin, Florida, and California. In this quarter only 28% of the state tourism websites showed an increase in traffic over Q2.  This indicates that a majority of the states ramp up their promotion and receive the most traffic during the traditional summer travel planning season.  The average number of visits to all state tourism website was 716,294.   

Mobile Traffic

Mobile traffic decreased by 11% from Q2 to 64%.  There is no clear indication of why it has dipped, but the overall average for the last three quarters is 72%, which is in line with other industry data.  We can confidently say that most sites are well over 70% in terms of mobile usage.  And, it is a clear reminder to all tourism organizations that mobile optimization is still one of the most important parts of any online promotional campaign. 

Pages Per Session

The state of Tennessee leads in pages consumed per session with just over 4, followed by Oklahoma, Delaware, Ohio, and Virginia – which are all hovering around the 3.5 pages per session range.  Oklahoma leads the pack with an average time on site of 3:01 followed by West Virginia, Delaware, South Dakota, and Wisconsin

Website Engagement

In terms of overall engagement, Delaware is at the top of the list followed by Alaska, Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Tennessee.  This ranking was calculated by using a weighted scale based on the number of page visits, time on site and bounce rate. We then calculated the overall engagement rate on a scale from 1-10 and ranked the states from 1 to 50.

Incoming and Outgoing Sites

We continued to track the top incoming and outgoing websites in Q3.  The leader for the top incoming site was Google at 70%, down slightly from 74% in Q2.  This again solidifies much of the published data that shows a majority of travel planning begins with a search.  The second most common referred traffic source for state tourism offices was TripAdvisor at a distant 12%.

The top two outgoing sites were Facebook and the National Park Service. Facebook was responsible for 40% of the downstream traffic – an increase of 8% over Q2 – and the National Park Service at 20%.  

Alaska and California lead the way with eight of their outgoing traffic links reaching travel, tourism and hospitality sites while Florida, Georgia, Hawaii and Michigan following with seven each. 

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State Tourism Website Traffic Analysis Infographic | Q3 2019

Why Your Website Needs to Be Faster

Mobile web traffic
Why your website needs to be faster

We expect rapid results in our everyday lives. Nowadays, we have practically unlimited amounts of information at our fingertips. Consequently, if your site doesn’t load fast enough on mobile, users will go somewhere else. It’s that simple. But how fast, is “fast enough”? Read on to learn why your website needs to be faster:

What Load Time Looks Like

We slowed down our website’s load time to give a sense of how long 10 seconds is on the internet. If you were scrolling on Facebook and clicked a link, how long would you wait for it to load?

Case Studies on Site Speed

It’s impossible to be engaged by content that you can’t see.

Why It Matters

Why Your Website Needs to Be Faster
Benchmarks for Mobile Page Speed
Source: think with Google

At TwoSix Digital, we see tourism websites with at least 50% of web visits coming from mobile and, typically, it accounts for about 60-70% of traffic. This number is growing every year. This is why it’s imperative to ensure that your website is quick enough to keep users interested.

Above, you can watch that same video with drop-off statistics based on load times.

How to Test Your Site

how to test how fast your website is on mobile

Each web page on your website is different. Each has its own pictures, information, and features. A great way to see the load times of pages on your website is with Google Analytics’ site speed tool. Google also offers an easy “Test My Site” tool that analyzes different URLs and reports on mobile speed. If you want to see exactly where your page is slowing down, then check out WebPageTest,.

How Fast Should Your Website Be?

If a slow mobile experience drives customers away, a fast mobile experience can help attract and keep them.

think with Google

We recommend keeping your page load times to under 3 seconds, and try to have at least one thing visible on your screen, such as a menu or image within the 1st second.

How Do I Make My Website Faster?

why your website needs to be faster use lazy loading
An example of “Lazy Loading“, when images appear blurry at first.

The first step is to contact your developer and tell them your benchmarks – specifically for mobile. While desktop speed is important, mobile site speed is paramount. Compressing images and text, along with employing a technique called “lazy loading“, are good places to start. If you want to go a bit more in depth, check out these recommendations.


Today, site speed is one of the important aspects of a website, and comes into play before content is ever seen. Consequently, it will always affect how effective your digital marketing will be, and should be considered a priority. If you’re looking for new ways to stay updated on destination marketing, be sure to subscribe to our e-newsletter or follow us across social media at the links below! 

5 Basics of Google Analytics

If you constantly find your self wondering how to use Google Analytics (CA), you are not alone. Although Google Analytics has been around for several years now, there are still many marketers that feel overwhelmed even just opening the platform. It is a key tool in learning more about your website and audience and how you can ultimately reach your marketing goals.

In this blog we are going to go over the 5 basic measurements that will give you key insights to the overall effectiveness of your website.

To get started, go to www.google.com/analytics/ and sign in. Once you sign in, click the “audience” drop down menu on the far left and then click “overview.”

WHAT: “Total number of Sessions within the date range. A session is the period time a user is actively engaged with your website, app, etc. All usage data (Screen Views, Events, Ecommerce, etc.) is associated with a session.”

HOW: Audience > Overview

WHY: The number of website visitors is a great indicator to the effectiveness of a CVB. It’s important to not only know how many people visit your website, but to also compare it year-over-year.


WHAT: “Pageviews is the total number of pages viewed. Repeated views of a single page are counted.”

HOW: Audience > Overview

WHY: This number provides a grand total of the number of pages that were viewed on your website within a certain time frame. This can be a much more impressive number to share, and can highlight an effective website for inspiration.


WHAT: How long people spend on your website.

HOW: Audience > Overview

WHY: The longer people stay on your site, the more likely they are to convert. If you are seeing session durations under 90 seconds, it’s time to make your site more engaging. 


WHAT: The average number of pages people visit on your website.

HOW: Audience > Overview

WHY: This metric helps determine if your website inspires people to click around, or leave from the homepage. We like to see websites with 3+ pages per session.


WHAT: Percentage of people who “bounce out” of your website.

HOW: Audience > Overview

WHY: High bounce rates can indicate a couple things:

1) Your content does not match the promise of what they hoped to find.

2) Your page took too long to load.

3) The content was unappealing (bad imagery, useless information, too much information, etc.)

4) The content was so useful that people did not linger on the page because they found what they needed. Keep these things in mind when evaluating a page with high bounce rates!

Note: Average session duration, pages per session and bounce rate: These metrics are also tracked for individual pages on your website. The majority of this data can be found on the left side bar under Behavior > Site Content.



Now that you’ve learned these basics of Google Analytics, continue your learning at the links below:

For more hot tips on digital marketing and tourism, be sure to subscribe to our e-newsletter and follow us across social media at the links below!