Localized traffic reporting, fabulous living.

inside-bill-gates-house.jpgLast Thursday Station Products & Services and Amy Sample, PBS's Director of Web Analytics, presented the new version of the localized traffic report.  Below is an overview of localization.

Microsoft Founder Bill Gates' 11,500-square-foot estate rests on 5 acres, planted in native alder, maple, and Douglas fir.  It has 24 bathrooms, six kitchens, six fireplaces, a theater, a library, a reception hall, and a conference hall.

Its coolest feature, by far, is the customizable electronic pin a visitor wears upon arrival.  These pins allow the wearer to program preferred lighting and climate levels.  Wherever the user goes, their preferred settings accompany them. A visitor to the Gates residence brings his or her atmospheric preferences with them from room to room.  A PBS.org user, similarly, can become "localized".  A localized user experiences the surfacing on the PBS.org website of local branding and TV schedules, as well as links back to local schedule and support pages.  With the introduction of Project Merlin next year, more comprehensive, seamless integration of local and national content will be available on the PBS website. (For more information on Merlin, look here in SRC.)

The Localized Traffic report, available in SRC, aims to develop a deeper understanding of the current state of localization.

A user can become localized one of four ways:

1) PBS.org visitor was referred through a link containing Station-to-PBS code.

2) PBS.org visitor was automatically localized based on their IP address.  Currently, automatic localization only occurs for visitors whose IP address is located in a zip code of a non-overlap market.

3) If a user visits a station website that has a PBS TV schedule module on it a localization cookie will be automatically created that links that user with that specific station.  From then on that user will be localized to that station on PBS.org (unless changed in PBS Station Finder).

4) PBS.org visitor manually selects a station through the PBS station finder.

When Gates built his mansion in 1997, it likely didn't take too long too stock up on extra copies of Prince's Emancipation (to accommodate for increased demand, of course).  Similarly, stations can use the localized traffic statistics to help develop localization strategy.

The report lists visits, page views per visit, average time on site, percent of new visit, and bounce rate.  Find your station on the report.  Now look for other stations that serve a similar market.  Are your numbers smaller than those of a comparable station?  What are they doing differently?  Are you linking to PBS.org?  Are you including station-to-PBS code in these links?  

This report is the premier of the new localized traffic report, a starting point.  We chose these metrics because we think they present a useful snapshot of localized traffic.  If you would like to see other statistics, please let us know.  We welcome any feedback.  For more information, please e-mail station_video@pbs.org.

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