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User-Centered Approach Yields Big Growth in Online Audience

In the past year, audience growth on St. Louis Public Radio’s digital platforms has been tremendous. Comparing this January to last, our number of unique visitors to the site has increased by 90 percent. Additionally, the number of people listening to our online streams has more than doubled. For all of our streams combined during January 2012, we had a cumulative audience of 29,892 unique listeners. In January 2011 we had 11,855 unique listeners, a 152 percent increase.

We attribute the launch of our mobile apps to some of that increase. The apps are currently available for iPhone, iPad, and Android devices, with plans for Kindle and possibly Nook. To date, across all platforms the mobile apps have received 5,287 downloads.

Social media drives traffic to the site as well, though not as often as one might think. The number of referrals from Facebook and Twitter together during January was 4,852, with individuals visiting multiple times counted for each visit.

So with 39,859 more unique visitors to our site this January compared to last, we have to attribute much of our success to our increased focus on frequent online news updates. The current website was launched in December of 2010, with a dramatic shift in strategy. The newer design puts our visitors’ needs first in that its main function is to deliver content—not content promoting the station, but our award-winning regional news coverage and programming. Since the change to the website, for the first time we saw our news stories among the top-ten most-viewed pages on the site. As a news organization with a mission to be a trusted source of information, this is right where they should be.

Our “Listen Live” page has been our most popular page probably since the earliest days of kwmu.org. There’s no doubt that the introduction of Classical KWMU-3 and the ability to listen to classical music on our site 24 hours a day, 7 days a week has attracted many more listeners, accounting for much of our year-over-year increase in traffic. The Saturday live broadcasts of the St. Louis Symphony are also popular, attracting listeners from around the globe.

In the next few weeks, we’ll be seeking feedback about the site via an online survey. Using this data, we will continue to evolve the site to meet listener needs. Please participate when you get the chance so that we may be of better service. Thanks for being a fan of www.stlpublicradio.org!

As the Director of Marketing & Digital Media for St. Louis Public Radio, Madalyn Painter works to move audiences to deeper levels of loyalty to our service to the community. She and her team provide targeted marketing, business intelligence, and visual design and support the station’s digital products and strategy.