Who Are You? CB Reader Survey Data
I often get asked about the site, who reads it, how things have changed over the five years since it launched, etc. So, since we always ask you for survey data (which we don’t see — except for the one time we specifically asked for demographic data), and because we talk about ratings in just about every other medium, I figured we’d share what we know about our audience – you – and some stats.
How many people read the site?
There are three charts here– Unique (number of individuals), Visits (number of times those people come to the site), and Page Views (number of pages viewed during those visits– typically what advertising is based off of). All of these charts are broken down by quarter starting with the first quarter of 2010.
You’ll probably notice those two spikes, in the third quarter of 2013 and the first quarter of 2014. The one in 2013 came from the Riley Cooper story. The one in 2014, I think, came from all the shares on this ridiculous #AskNeal post. Typically, unique visitors spike when there’s a story that reaches outside our usual audience, as obviously those did. It doesn’t impact overall visits and page views as much, but just brings new, one-time readers to the site. It’s great when it happens, but it’s usually a short-term thing and doesn’t have much impact on advertising revenue. In fact, I usually back out these spikes when quoting visitor data to advertisers (a newspaper, conversely, would double it and invent some metric to dupe advertisers into thinking these spikes indicate exponential growth).
This is more stable, and consistent. Despite the lull Philly sports are in, our now-steady readers are checking in more frequently.
The lull in 2012 stands out to me. It’s also the year I bought a house, went on a long vacation to Europe, got a dog, and got engaged. All the stuff I thought was distracting me from the site… well, yep it was. Things turned around in the second quarter of 2013, when we upgraded design and switched to WordPress, which improved the overall experience of the site.
Who reads the site?
Simply put: You’re probably a 28-year-old male, reading this at your desk in your 9-5 job, where you make about $70k per year. You also like long walks on the beach and watch a lot of Netflix.
Our audience is not as young as most people think it is. There are fewer college kids and more guys in their late 20s and early 30s. There are just about as many readers in their late 30s as there are in their early 20s. And there are more readers in their 40s than there are college-aged kids. To say we crush it in the most desirable advertising demo on the planet would be an understatement. The male-female breakdown is about 80-20.
Mike Missanelli once knocked our readers, referring to them as “juvenile” and “20-year-old douchebags” and “ingrates.” So, he’d probably be pretty surprised to learn that around 80% of our readers make over $50k per year, 50% make over $75k, and 30% make over $100k. I don’t know the income demographics of 97.5’s listeners, but I can all but guarantee you that the average income of CB readers is higher than sports talk radio listeners.
This, to me, is most interesting.
Visits by device
As you see, sometime around the middle of 2012 mobile visits started taking over. We went from 73% desktop visitors in the second quarter of 2012 to 43% in the second quarter of 2015. That’s probably not shocking, but given that our audience is largely people sitting at work, I’m surprised how quickly this happened. Tablet usage peaked in early 2013 and has stayed around 8%-10%. Last quarter, 48% of visitors were on a phone. The vast majority of mobile visits, phone and tablet, are on iOS devices. Like, overwhelmingly so.
Ergo, I’m well aware that we need to focus even more heavily on mobile. The site is responsive and, I think, looks great on mobile and tablets. But, it’s just a different version of the desktop site, which means mostly all the same ads load, along with all the same images, all the same videos, and all the same, heavy code. It looks great, but, yeah, sometimes can be slow to load, especially on a cellular connection.
Why not make an app? We put together a simplistic Android one a few years ago but didn’t maintain it. I’ve toyed with the idea, and I’m certainly not against putting out $5k to build a really good one. The problem is, a good chunk of revenue comes from advertising networks, whose ads currently show up on mobile. With an app, we’d be limited in the amount of ad space and, worse, the rates those ads pay.
There are two problems with mobile:
1) Mobile advertising lags significantly behind mobile usage
2) Mobile web pages load more slowly
The whole industry is dealing with this. Apple and Facebook, to name a few, are trying to solve the problem(s) by launching native stories – through Apple News (in iOS 9) and Facebook’s Instant Articles (being tested by just a few large publishers) – that will allow publishers to publish stories directly to their platforms and insert (presumably higher-paying) ads. We’ll be up and running in Apple News (CB looks great in the beta version already!), but how many people will use those platforms and how much they can be monetized remains to be seen. And there’s also the issue of a few large companies controlling content, which probably sounds more nefarious than it will be in practice. Still, I’m well aware that the long-term solution probably isn’t a mobile page. Hell, it might take shape in many different forms– an app, Facebook, Apple, and other yet-to-be-seen platforms.
Percentage of device
This is just a different way of looking at it, removing total visits. Mobile seemed to be flattening early this year, but it gained five points in the second quarter.
So that’s you. You’re a 28-year-old guy reading this at his office and then maybe checking it later on your iPhone as you head home to your nice urban apartment or new house that you recently bought with your wife or fiancée (congrats!).
I can only assume potential advertisers are drooling by this point, yes?