Who is Using the Atlas?

… a look at who is Using the Atlas

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Insights from Google Analytics

Google Analytics, a free service that provides information on the use of one’s website, can generate reports on such matters as the duration of page views and whether the user continued from their first page to another page on the site or left the site. Reports can be generated for any time period and for any page that has been accessed during that period.

Here are some highlights of a report on usage of the for the period 1 January 2019 to 27 April 2019:

  • There were 40,375 page views by 22,481 users (an average of 194 users per day) with 10% of users being “return visitors,” meaning that they had used the Atlas within the previous two years.
  • Users were located in 184 different countries, the top ten being: United States (27.1%), Canada (22.6%), United Kingdom (6.2%), India (5.4%), Philippines (3.1%), Australia (2.3%), South Africa (2.0%), Nigeria (1.7%), Netherlands (1.7%), Germany (1.3%).
  • Most users went directly to an Atlas page from an internet search, with the four most frequent “landing pages” being:
  • The duration of page views ranged from less than a second to almost half an hour with the average being 2.4 minutes.
  • Most users left the Atlas (“bounced”) immediately after viewing their landing page. Although the average bounce rate was of 83%, some pages had much lower bounce rates indicating visitors tended to click on a link to another Atlas page before bouncing from the Atlas. For example, the bounce rate for the 612 views of Programs was 49% and that for the 519 views of Beyond Policy Analysis – Book Highlights was only 36%.
  • The 22,481 users used 5,577 service providers, many of which are recognizable as universities and governments. Universities with 10 or more users included, in alphabetical order: Alabama (11), Alberta (12), Amsterdam (10), Berkeley (28), Boston College (15), British Columbia (16), Brock (13), Calgary (11), Carleton (66), Clermont (17), Chicago (18), Clemson (11), Concordia (49), College of Europe (12), Dalhousie (22), Danmarks Tekniske (14), Delft (11), Exeter (11), Guelph (52), Harvard (31), Hong Kong (13), Hong Kong Science and Technology (14), Humber College (14), Illinois (11), Indiana (15), Leeds (14), Leiden (10), Manchester (10), Massey (12), McGill (21), McMaster (26), Michigan (10), Michigan State (10), Minnesota (14), Missouri-Columbia (18), Montana (10), New York (21), Ohio (11), Ottawa (27), Oxford (11), Pennsylvania State (12), Pittsburgh (11), Queen’s (11), Reading (25), Regina (16), Ryerson (23), Saskatchewan (10), Sheridan College (26), Southern California (14), Stanford (27), Tilburg (10), Toronto (79), Utrecht (11), (Venda (42), Victoria (25), Virginia (11), Warwick (15), Washington (10), Waterloo (14), Western Ontario (30), Yale (18), York-Canada (34), and York-UK (16).
  • The government service providers that had 4 or more Atlas users included, in order of the number of users: Shared Services Canada (282), Government of Manitoba (27), Government of South Africa (24), Province of British Columbia (20), City of Toronto (16), Department of Fisheries and Oceans (16), Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (14), House of Commons (12), Department of Veterans Affairs (11), Transport Canada (11), Government of Saskatchewan (9), Privy Council Office (8), State of North Dakota (8), Solicitor General Canada (6), Government of Yukon (5), Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (5), City of Saskatoon (4), City of Vancouver (4), City of Winnipeg (4), Courts Administrative Service (4), Department of Information Technology and Telecon (4), Edmonton Public Library (4), Province of Nova Scotia (4), San Diego Unified School District (4), and Scottish Common Services Agency (4).
  • The users’ age and gender profiles are approximated in Exhibit 1, recognizing that the Google Analytics profiles are based on those users (just under half) who have disclosed their age and gender in their online profile. The age and gender profiles appear to be consistent with assumption that most Atlas users are either graduate students or graduates in the early stages of their careers. That said, about one third of users are over 34 with an age profile resembling that of university faculty members or mid-career professionals.
Exhibit 1: Screen shot of demographics report from Google Analytics
Most viewed pages

Exhibit 2, constructed from screen shots from Google Analytics, displays the most viewed pages during the period 1 January 2019 to 27 April 2019. The majority of these pages are concept entries.

Exhibit 2: Top 100 pages on the Atlas by views
Most viewed concepts

Of the 100 most viewed pages during the period 1 January 2019 to 27 April 2019 and displayed in Exhibit 2, 71 are concept entries. The 100 most viewed are organized by Atlas subject in Most Viewed Concepts. There are currently 890 concept entries on the Atlas. The distribution of page views for these entries is displayed in Exhibit 3.

Exhibit 3: Distribution of page views for the 890 concept entries in the Atlas

>100: 58

50-99: 47

20-49: 84

10-19: 81

6-9: 89

4-5: 66

2-3: 146

1: 139

0: 180

Use profile

The User Explorer feature in Google Analytics can generate data on how each user uses the site. The data are presented in anonymized form, where each user is identified as a number without locational, device, browser, or carrier identifiers. Such data can provide a sense of how the Atlas is being used.

For example, user 90427683.1548872576 was one of the 674 who came to the Atlas for 3 or more sessions in the period 1 January 2019 to 27 April 2019. This user first came to the Atlas on 30 January 2019 and then came back for 12 further sessions with a total site duration of 2 hours and 16 minutes. Exhibit 4 is a screen shot depicting this user’s most recent 8 sessions. It would appear that this user employed a particular Atlas page, Beyond Policy Analysis – Book Highlights, to identify concepts of interest and then visited the corresponding Atlas pages.

Exhibit 4: Screen shot of User Report from Google Analytics

Page created by: Ian Clark, last modified 2 May 2019.

Image: From Google Analytics, at https://analytics.google.com/analytics/web/#/report/visitors-overview/a71738929w109270283p113925000/, accessed 28 April 2019.