Golden Rule of Analytics #1: traffic drops during the holidays. Those who follow news analytics know that it's a hard and fast rule that traffic peaks during election season and drops over the Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks. Why? Because the bulk of the audience to news sites is people goofing off at work.
Pageviews to npr.org from iOS devices
And all rules are meant to be broken. So, you see that non-mobile (a.k.a. desktop) traffic dropped over the break – dipping as low as 29% below the week after Thanksgiving as expected. But wait, what are those blue lines reaching up and to the right? That's right, iPhone usage grew 94% over the holidays and iPad traffic tripled during the same time. As if I needed actual statistical proof that I'm the only person left in North America without an iPad.
And this means that...? Before we shutter further development on npr.org and devote all our energies towards creating a Very Merry NPR iPad App, keep this in mind – there's scale to take into account. While a 345% growth in iPad page views represents about 350,000 more pageviews per week, a 29% drop in non-mobile traffic is more in the 5M range. On the other hand, the holiday burst in iTraffic says something really interesting about these new platforms: they're filling those moments in our lives that are (from a pure analytics perspective) unacceptably devoid of screen time. When you think about it that way, perhaps a Very Merry NPR iPad App isn't a totally insane idea.