An analysis of traffic to federal Government sites showed a decline over the past year even though attempts were made by the government to be digital-friendly. The study comes from a leading researcher in the digital world — comScore.
The analysis shows that In July 2011 87.6 million Americans visited a government site, representing 40.7 percent of the total U.S. online population. Although today’s audience represents an 11-percent increase in visitors vs. five years ago, this number is significantly lower than the 24-percent growth in the total U.S. Internet population over the same period of time.
I find these numbers peculiar in that recent years U.S. government has taken significant steps to expand its digital presence while aligning itself more closely with the routine behaviors of its citizens. Director Gillian Heltai, comScore Senior Director, explained, “Despite current efforts to improve their online offerings, government agencies have been unable to keep pace with rapidly-changing consumer expectations and distinguish themselves through their use of technology.”
Heltai also explained that the challenge for the government is moving forward within social media and determine the best ways to creatively leverage their resources to stay ahead of the digital curve.
An analysis of visitation to top federal sites in the Government category showed growth in the industry between July 2009 and July 2010, followed by a marked decline among many sites the following year. However, as these sites continued to serve as valuable sources of primary information, visitors spent upwards of 10 minutes on average engaging with content in seven out of the top ten federal sites. All but four of the top federal sites were unable to sustain the growth in visitation they gained the previous year. As these sites begin to truly service the growing need for social media within government sites, we will see an increase of visits and users.