2012: A Year In SnakePit

It was the best of times... It was the worst of times... Okay, 2012 might have been rather more of the latter in terms of the Diamondbacks, but how were things at the SnakePit? What were the most popular stories to cross our pages in the year which just finished?

January

Pageviews: 73,461
Busiest day: Jan 17, 3,564 pageviews
Most popular story: D-backs To Re-Sign LHP Joe Saunders, 1,383 pageviews

The unexpected return of Joe Saunders was the big news on the SnakePit, and also drove traffic on the biggest overall day of the season. A four-figure count of page views was also reached by Dan's projection for Goldy's 2012 season, (I'm pleased to say Goldschmidt's actual production, a wRC+ of 123, was well in excess of the 110 figure anticipated), and a look at our non-roster invitees for spring training had a good run during the final week..

February

Pageviews: 80,858
Busiest day: Feb 21, 4,054 pageviews
Most popular story: The 2012 Diamondbacks: Regress or Repeat?, 1,305 pageviews

Pitchers and catchers report! And you could tell, with about 25% more people coming out of hibernation to visit the 'Pit in the second half of the month. The top story did prove depressingly prophetic, and though it took a while, so did the runner-up: Could The Diamondbacks Trade Chris Young? Our round-table report card on Justin Upton rounds out February's top three pieces.

March

Pageviews: 107,340
Busiest day: Mar 27, 5,375 pageviews
Most popular story: The Ten Worst #1 Draft Picks In Baseball History, 1,389 pageviews

The Cactus League was in full swing, and just outside the top three was a piece on spring training stories to watch, headlined by concern about Stephen Drew. Another trade rumor - this one, unfounded speculation about Gerardo Parra going to Washington - was third, but CaptainCanuck's Trevor Bauer Facts Fanpost nearly pulled off an upset win, trailing the draft picks piece by only 45 views on the month.

April

Pageviews: 168,151
Busiest day: Apr 10, 7,765 pageviews
Most popular story: Diamondbacks 7, Giants 6: Easter Miracle Brings AZ Back From Dead, 1,385 pageviews

Baseball! BAAAAAASEBAAAAAALLL! And we were very glad to see it, with enthusiasm for the early contests high. The top ten stories for the month consisted of five Gameday Threads, three recaps, a farm report and the news that Daniel Hudson would hit the disabled list. However, the Diamondbacks opted to repay the enthusiasm with wins: after a brisk start, they struggled, and finished the month only one game above .500.

May

Pageviews: 142,988
Busiest day: May 21, 6,302 pageviews
Most popular story: Gameday Thread, #31: 5/8 vs. Cardinals, 3,437 pageviews

This was the only GDT to top the charts - I think it might have been the one where there was also a communal thread going on over at Viva El Birdos, but I don't hang out there so wouldn't know [we'll take the glare as read, shall we?] It's probably symptomatic that the third most-viewed piece was Is The Diamondbacks Season Over?, as the team went 11-17. In second, and well worth it, was Clefo's amazing Zork-themed recap.

June

Pageviews: 162,989
Busiest day: June 24, 9,289 pageviews
Most popular story: Arizona Diamondbacks TV broadcaster Daron Sutton not in booth for game, 2,563 pageviews

And the month saw the story break which would dominate SnakePit views in a way no-one could have predicted: the suspension and subsequent dismissal of our PBP guy. The initial news was the top story, and Clefo's recap of the (im)possible explanations, powered by the hashtag #daronsuttontheories, was also heavily read. On the field, the team had their best month, going 16-10, but Joe Saunders hit the DL, leading to the call-up of Trevor Bauer.

July

Pageviews: 190,411
Busiest day: July 31, 16,595 pageviews
Most popular story: Diamondbacks Thing of the Week: Daron Sutton Bobblehead, 5,091 pageviews

It says something about the level of public interest in the story - combined with the almost complete lack of actual facts available - that a knock-off piece about an Ebay auction was the top piece on the 'Pit. And it wasn't even close: the only other story to reach even two thousand views was... #daronsuttontheories, which repeated as runner-up, ahead of the trade of Craig Breslow. This month was an all-time high pageviews for the 'Pit, as AZ went 14-13.

August

Pageviews:163,831
Busiest day: Aug 1, 7,901 pageviews
Most popular story: Diamondbacks Thing of the Week: Daron Sutton Bobblehead, 2,110 pageviews

Interest seemed to wane after the trade deadline, and it became clear to even the most passionate fans that this was not going to be Arizona's year. That damn bobblehead proved to be the Titanic of the SnakePit, holding on to the top spot for a second consecutive month, ahead of our suggested replacements for Sutton and Grace, with #daronsuttontheories in third. In actual baseball, Joe Saunders was traded and the D-backs... Meh.

September

Pageviews:101,643
Busiest day: Sep 4, 4,809 pageviews
Most popular story: Replacing Daron Sutton and Mark Grace, 2,299 pageviews

The team were now playing out the string - both on the field and in the commentary booth. It says a lot that the second-most popular story was a bare-bones piece providing the line-ups for the first alumni game at Chase Field - fans were clearly more interested in the past than the present. However, 'charmer's recap of a painful 9-8 loss in San Francisco did crack the top three, though we'd probably rather forget it. The game, not the recap. :)

October

Pageviews: 77,972
Busiest day: Oct 20, 5,492 pageviews
Most popular story: Mark Grace Indicted On Felony DUI: Jail Time Beckons, 1,461 pageviews

As if losing one commentator wasn't enough, the news that Grace probably would be wearing pink boxers in due course added on to our booth's woes. The original story of his DUI arrest hadn't created many waves (coming 7th in the August standings), but with baseball all out of the way, there was little to stop it. The trade of Chris Young ran it moderately close, and Dan's analysis of third-base rounded out the podium spots.

November

Pageviews: 65,045
Busiest day: Nov 14, 3,721 pageviews
Most popular story: Official Off-Season Diamondbacks Rumor, Trade and News Thread, 3,465 pageviews

The top piece had long-term traction, getting to sit on the front page for almost the entire month. That allowed it to hold on ahead of a designated columnists piece looking at a possible Upton for Profar trade, and 'charmer's coverage of the press conference which introduced Steve Berthiaume and Bob Brenly as the new occupants of the Diamondbacks' booth.

December

Pageviews: 115,855
Busiest day: Dec 11, 13,112 pageviews
Most popular story: Who Is Didi Gregorius And Why Might He Be Coming To Arizona?, 5,249 pageviews

By many metrics, December 11 was the busiest day in SnakePit history. While July 31 had more pageviews, the day of the Bauer trade has more unique pageviews - which discounts multiple views of the same page by the same user, and there were also more visitors to the site overall. This and the other hot-stove action dominated the top stories for the month: six of the seven most popular were the various pieces analyzing the trade: Cody Ross's signing was fifth and ninth, and Brandon McCarthy's arrival occupied the other two spots in the top ten.

Top 20 stories

And here are the 20 pieces on the SnakePit which received most views over all of 2012. I've discounted generic pages like the home one, the login page, streams, and the sections for Fanposts and Fanshots. Each link is followed by the number of pageviews for the year.

  1. Diamondbacks Thing of the Week: Daron Sutton Bobblehead - 7,331
  2. What Happened To Daron Sutton? There Are Theories... - 7,073
  3. Replacing Daron Sutton and Mark Grace - 5,567
  4. Who Is Didi Gregorius And Why Might He Be Coming To Arizona? - 5,249
  5. Everything you wanted to know about Tommy John Surgery (but were afraid to ask) - 5,130
  6. Official Off-Season Diamondbacks Rumor, Trade and News Thread - 3,612
  7. Gameday Thread, #31: 5/8 vs. Cardinals - 3,601
  8. Diamondbacks Trade Trevor Bauer + 2 For SS Didi Gregorius - 3,531
  9. Analyzing An Upton For Andrus Trade - 3,241
  10. Arizona Diamondbacks TV broadcaster Daron Sutton not in booth for game - 3,133
  11. How Will Paul Goldschmidt Fare In Arizona's Lineup In 2012? - 2,383
  12. Craig Breslow Traded To Boston For Matt Albers and Scott Podsednik - 2,150
  13. Everything you wanted to know about labrums [but were afraid to ask] - 1,948
  14. Mark Grace Indicted On Felony DUI: Jail Time Beckons - 1,745
  15. On Fandom, And The Gregorius-Bauer Trade - 1,663
  16. The Diamondbacks' Non-Roster Invitees: A Viewer's Guide - 1,644
  17. The Ten Worst #1 Draft Picks In Baseball History - 1,642
  18. What is going on with the DBacks announcers.- 1,526
  19. Cody Ross Signs With The Diamondbacks - 1,517
  20. Facts and Tales of Trevor Bauer - 1,515

Location

I'm sure you'll be stunned to hear that, in the past 12 months, most visitors have come to the 'Pit from the United States of America, with many doing so out of our home state. I'll pause now, for a "Well, duh..." Just over 40% came from Arizona, with the rest of the top five states being California, Texas, New York and Florida. At the other end, Vermont was last with 216 visitors, 0.04% of the total - Wyoming had one more.

On a global scale, 92% of visits were from the US, but that still leaves a total of 46,280 which weren't [including those whose location could not be determined. I'm going with the Mars Rover checking in for those]. Of the overseas visitors, Canada was responsible for 23% and my home territory of the United Kingdom was next at 12%. Also cracking a thousand were (in descending order): Taiwan, Japan, France, Australia, Brazil, Germany, China, South Korea and the Netherlands. All told, there were 169 different countries represented in the stats, going all the way to 25 with a single visit, e.g. the surfer from Tajikistan who passed through on May 28.

Search terms

Here are the top 10 search terms which brought visitors through search engines to the SnakePit. I've omitted the more boring ones like "Diamondbacks blog" or "AZ SnakePit"

  1. Daron Sutton
  2. Trevor Bauer
  3. Daron Sutton fired
  4. Tyler Skaggs
  5. Mark Grace
  6. Didi Gregorius
  7. You Don't Say
  8. What happened to Darren [sic] Sutton
  9. Darren [sic] Sutton
  10. Paul Goldschmidt

#7 is about the only one which brought me up, and was almost entirely a May phenomenon, peaking with 143 visits on May 14. I an really not sure why: there was a You Don't Say meme that was popular a couple of months previously, but the relevance to any entry on the SnakePit remains...obscure.

Randomness

Overall, one thing that's interesting is the steady increase in the percentage of first-time visitors to the SnakePit. 59% of visitors were newcomers, an all-time high and up from 39% a year before. People also appear to be staying longer: while that information does seem to have been being tracked for long, the current average time of 53 minutes is up from 40 minutes in May. About 60% of pageviews this year were from people who made multiple visits to the 'Pit, with just short of 22% coming via the real hardcore 'Pitters, those who visited the site over two hundred times this year.

There was a near-even split among the three leading browsers: IE still won (23.5%), but only just ahead of Firefox (23.4%) and Safari (22.5%), with Chrome slightly further back (18.4%). Slightly more than a quarter (26%) of visitors checked in on a mobile device of some kind - a sharp increase from the one-sixth (16%) who did so in 2011. I'd expect to see that trend increase still further this year. All told, the 2012 pageviews total was 1.44 million, down 12.6% from the 1.66 million in 2012. However, the Diamondbacks' win tally - easily the main driver of traffic - dropped by a roughly-similar number (13.8%) - I'm happy with the stats overall.

Thanks for all your support, comments and contributions. Here's to a good season for both the team and the 'Pit in 2013: I think it'll be fun.

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