The winners of the Edmonton Stories contest were announced by Mayor Stephen Mandel on Tuesday at City Hall during the lunch hour. About 50 people attended the public event, not including the large number of City employees who were present. Nearly all of the City Councillors were on hand as well, a strong show of support for the project. Congratulations to all of the contest winners and runners up!
Mayor Mandel’s speech started by highlighting some of the traffic statistics for EdmontonStories.ca. Here are some of the key numbers:
- 242 stories have been posted, 44 of which include videos
- 453 comments have been posted on 78 stories
- Users in 2159 cities from 131 countries have visited the site
- Total Visits: 113,979
- Total Unique Visits: 87,049
- Local Visits: 60,497
- Total Page Views: 348,750
Those are pretty good numbers, though they are unverified. I think the “local visits” stat is interesting – over half of all visitors to the site have come from Edmonton. That makes sense at this stage, as Edmontonians are visiting to submit and vote on stories. Over time though, I would hope for that percentage to drop.
I’d love to see more stats on the non-local visits. For instance, I’d like to know the bounce rate for non-local visits. How many non-local visitors come to the website and then promptly leave? Referral statistics would be interesting to know as well – how did they get to the website?
As Edmonton Stories moves into its second phase, recruitment and visitor attraction, non-local visits will become increasingly important. There are a solid number of stories up on the site now, but if they aren’t shared with the rest of the world, how successful can the campaign be?
The City has repeatedly stressed that Edmonton Stories is unique because it focuses on social media and online marketing as opposed to traditional marketing. Most of the social media marketing I have seen thus far has been directed at Edmontonians though, not the rest of the world. I don’t think they’re doing enough to spread the word beyond Edmonton.
For a website marketed almost entirely online, I’d expect it to have a decent number of other web pages linking to it. I tallied the number of inbound links for some Edmonton websites, using Yahoo! Site Explorer:
Obviously the City of Edmonton site has the most inbound links, no surprise there. What jumped out at me about this graph is the number of inbound links for That’s Edmonton For You. Despite launching a month later than EdmontonStories.ca, and without a large budget to promote it, that site managed to accumulate over half the number of inbound links that EdmontonStories.ca has. I would anticipate that a majority of the inbound links for That’s Edmonton For You would be from other local sites, which doesn’t bode well for how far beyond the city EdmontonStories.ca is reaching.
The budget for promoting EdmontonStories.ca isn’t insignificant either, when you consider that it’s being spent on social media and online marketing, not traditional marketing:
The total budget for 2009 is $1.4 million dollars. City Council approved $1 million, and EEDC kicked in another $400,000. According to The Journal, project staff expect to ask for another $1 million in 2010. Should they get it? I’m leaning toward no.
I wonder how much of that $268,500 earmarked for social media marketing has been spent. Based on the number of inbound links above, I’d hope very little, but given that there are only three months left in 2009, I’m not so sure. If there’s a lot to spend still, I expect to see Edmonton Stories everywhere online for the next few months.
I think Edmonton Stories is a great concept, and I’m glad to see that Edmontonians are contributing stories. The project was created to help market the city elsewhere though, and I don’t think it is accomplishing that yet.