Just before Christmas I like to take a look at website traffic and other figures for the year and compare them with previous periods.
This year, for the first time in the site's history, page views have dropped, as has the number of visitors. However our Alexa rank has improved and revenue from adverts and affiliate referrals is up a couple of percent.
The headlines are:
- Page views down by 8.6%, visits down by 4.7%, visitors down by 2.1%
- Alexa rank 15,075, up from 18,453 at the end of 2016
- Quantcast US rank 9,136, down from 7,180 at the end of 2016
- 26,901 new members joined in 2017, about the same as in 2016
- 60,509 members logged in during 2017
- Social media followers up by over 50%
Here's how this year compares with the previous six:
The graph shows clearly that page views are down to closer to 2015 levels:
The following chart shows the most visited LEGO-related sites on the Internet, as ranked by Alexa. It's currently showing that, as was the case last year, Brickset is the third most visited LEGO-related site. LEGO.com is ranked ~2,300, BrickLink ~14,000 and Brickset ~15,100. All other LEGO sites are an order of magnitude further down the table. You can click to enlarge it.
Countries and technologies
Here's where our visitors come from, much the same percentages as last year:
|Country||Visits||% of total|
Desktop users account for 50%, tablets 13% and phones 37%, compared to 53%, 15% and 31% respectively last year. So, a lot of people are still switching from their tablets and PCs to their phones and I'm sure that trend will continue.
Windows remains the dominant operating system with 40% of visitors using it, but it continues to drop as users migrate to handheld devices. iOS comes in at 30%, followed by Android 20% and Mac 9%.
The most popular browser is Chrome with 45% of the share of traffic, followed by Safari, 30%, Firefox 9%, IE 5% and Edge 3%.
Social media and membership numbers
Our social media followers have increased this year: Facebook 29,300 likes (up from 22,000), Twitter 26,100 (up from 19,400) and Instagram 17,300 (up from 5,750)
On the website, member numbers are rising still, up from 152,000 to 175,000, an increase of 8%. That's an average of about 450 new members a week. The forum now has 19,500 members, 2,000 more than last year.
This graph shows the number of sessions per day during 2017. It's interesting to look back in the news archive to find out what caused the peaks.
- 18 February: New York Toy Fair
- 1 April: April Fools (Game of Thrones)
- 22 June: Ninjago City revealed
- 31 August: Millennium Falcon revealed
- 29 November: Downtown Diner revealed
The largest peak occurred on 16th January, which doesn't coincide with any big news, Drilling down into the numbers in Google Analytics shows a huge surge in sessions between 15:00 and 16:00 GMT and a large increase in referrals from Reddit.
So, why the drop in traffic and should we be worried?
I believe there to be two reasons. The most likely one is the increased amount of advertising on the site. For many years we displayed no advertising at all: revenue from affiliate marketing, particularly Amazon and eBay was sufficient to keep us online. Unfortunately both of these major players adjust their payout structures periodically which always results in a drop in revenue so that is no longer the case. For example, the income from eBay this year will be just 25% of that earned in 2013. Advertising has filled this shortfall and enables us to continue to run and maintain the site at no charge to anyone.
I hate adverts as much as you do but do not feel bad about displaying them here because it's so easy to opt out of seeing them, unlike some LEGO news sites that have recently been rendered almost unusable due to the high number of adverts they now carry. Nobody is forced to endure them here -- they are shown only to users who are not logged in, i.e. casual users, and never to you, our loyal users, who are more likely to support the site by using our affiliate links.
The second reason? Perhaps it's the same one that caused LEGO's profits to drop this year: interest in the brand is waning a little. The LEGO Movie may well have been partly responsible for growth in the years after its release, but the same can't really be expected for this year's movies, which have hardly set the world alight or caused a surge of interest in the brand.
Despite the drop, Brickset is still the third most visited LEGO site with no real competitors and we will continue to enhance it and innovate to ensure it remains that way.
Thank you all for visiting and making Brickset the success it is. I hope we can continue to meet your LEGO-information needs and if you have any suggestions as to what you'd like us to do differently, we are always open to hearing them, either in the comments below or via the contact form at the bottom of the page.
Happy Holidays to you all!