January 2015 has been an interesting month for Open Borders: The Case, albeit a relatively laid back one.
Traffic patterns: overall summary
In November and December, we saw our highest traffic of all time. The trend began with a revival of interest in migration policy in the United States due to US President Obama’s November 2014 deferred action announcement, but continued due to interesting and timely content, and clever promotion strategies.
January, in contrast, was a relatively quiet month. A number of our posts did well, but we had no smashing hits, either on social media or on search. On days that we didn’t publish anything new, our traffic was largely search-driven. Since traffic was driven by enduring interest rather than current events, January’s traffic levels are likely a lower bound for traffic levels in the months to come.
Social media successes
No posts of ours matched the extraordinary performance of December’s social media successes. Nonetheless, we did quite well when compared year-on-year. Our top posts published this month:
- Journalist Stephan Faris: Modern border regimes are apartheid by John Lee, January 30, 2015, received 171 Facebook engagements and 20 Twitter engagements.
- My Summer in the Orchard: How I Came to Support Open Borders by Justin Merrill, January 20, 2015, received 126 Facebook engagements and 7 Twitter engagements. This is the first post in a series on the author’s personal experience with migration law. We anticipate future posts in the series being even bigger successes.
- Literally refusing to rescue drowning people: your taxpayer funds at work, putting immigrants to death by John Lee, January 9, 2015, received 49 Facebook engagement and 16 Twitter engagements.
- A rose by any other name: open borders, freedom of movement, and the right to migrate by John Lee, January 16, 2015, received 43 Facebook engagements and 15 Twitter engagements.
- Bangladesh and India: move towards open borders by Vipul Naik, January 15, 2015, received 30 Facebook engagements and 14 Twitter engagements.
We had a much lower Facebook spend than the past two months. Of the posts published this month, we only spent a small amount of money promoting Lee’s interview of Stephan Faris, Merrill’s post, and Lee’s post on drowning people.
We also had some success posting and promoting some of our older content relevant to current events. Two of our older posts that we reposted to Facebook and Twitter in light of the attack on the Charlie Hebdo office:
- Open Borders, Terrorism, and Islam by Joel Newman, May 7, 2013. The post received the bulk of its Facebook engagement in January. It currently has 7 Twitter engagements and 131 Facebook engagements.
- Free speech absolutism versus viewpoint-based immigration restrictions by Vipul Naik, October 8, 2012. This post also received the bulk of its Facebook engagement in January. It currently has 5 Twitter engagements and 52 Facebook engagements.
Our list of most visited pages that people arrive at via Google Search is fairly constant over time. Most of these are site content pages rather than blog posts. Of the blog posts, the top ones are:
- Immigration and the US Constitution by Ilya Somin, March 18, 2013.
- Why the Cuba “wet feet, dry feet” policy should continue by Vipul Naik, December 26, 2014. Published late in December, this post became a significant contributor to the site’s search traffic in January.
- Lifting the Cuban Travel Ban Is Good for U.S. by Alex Nowrasteh, October 16, 2012.
- Nepal and India: an open borders case study by Vipul Naik, March 21, 2014.
John Lee’s post Krugman and Cowen on immigration; or, rallying the economic profession around open borders, published December 12, 2014, received fresh attention when economist and blogger David Henderson blogged about it. Henderson wrote:
But the spirit of his analysis is correct. Welfare in the United States is unlikely to be a huge magnet for immigrants and what is likely to be a much stronger magnet is the chance for a much higher-paying job.
I recommend reading the whole long article. I recommend it for not only the content but also the respectful tone. Were I teaching a class in rhetoric, I would use this as a reading. Indeed, two economist friends were the ones who recommended the piece and both of them highlighted the tone.
Open Borders meetup
Site traffic: details
Pageviews for Open Border: The Case:
|Month and year||Pageview count (WordPress)||Pageview count (Google Analytics)|
*Google Analytics was dysfunctional for a few days and a few hours on other days, causing that number to be an underestimate.
WordPress traffic by day for the past few weeks:
Google Analytics traffic by day for January 2015 (note that Analytics wasn’t working for January 16 and parts of the previous and next day):
WordPress traffic by month, since September 2012 (earlier months don’t fit in the picture):
Google Analytics traffic (sessions and pageviews) by month, since March 2012:
As we can see, there was robust year-on-year growth, but a month-on-month decline, and the year-on-year growth was weaker than that for December. This is because of the unusually high traffic in December 2014 because of the topicality of migration.
We also turned on age/gender tracking on Google Analytics. Here are the results by age/gender combinations:
And here’s our distribution of traffic by geographical location:
Facebook and Twitter metrics
- Facebook likes for our Facebook page stayed fairly steady over the month, increasing from about 4120 to about 4180. We did not spend any money on page promotion, and the slow growth this month suggests diminishing returns with respect to audience outreach.
- The Open Borders Action Group expanded quite a bit, from 713 members to 867 members. Most of the new additions were passive members, though, and about half of them appear to have been added by Eric Schmidt. Controlling for that, the number of new members was similar to the number in December 2014.
- Our Twitter account @OpenBordersInfo saw its follower count increased from 1014 at the beginning of the month to 1048.
Here’s a graph of our Facebook reach and likes, comments, and shares: