User Behavior Can Be Inferred From The Numbers

Thanksgiving Traffic in Atlanta

Thanksgiving Day traffic on the 400 Toll Road, north of Atlanta.

It is interesting to track the website traffic to one of my company’s websites. The domain,, is a travel site that provides a host of information about the toll roads in the United States. On any given day, by reviewing the hourly traffic, you can see when the morning rush hour begins, when the lunch hour is going or when the afternoon race home gets underway. But the Thanksgiving traffic on has always been fascinating to watch.¬†What is particularly interesting about the hour-by-hour breakdown for the turkey day event is one’s ability to draw conclusions about when people were actually eating their Thanksgiving dinners.

Our holiday traffic is always much lower than the traffic we regularly see during weekdays. It resembles the weekend traffic numbers during non-summer travel seasons; however, the figures we watch are very revealing. As the chart below may demonstrate, travelers on the road during this year’s holiday were most likely with family and friends between the hours of 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. As people headed home for the evening, the traffic spiked tremendously, especially by 9 p.m. and 10 p.m.


Google Analytics traffic chart

Dining on traffic: Thanksgiving Day traffic on reveals a sharp drop in website traffic between the hours of about 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., most likely when people were with family and friends enjoying the holiday feast.

Looking at numbers from the 2012 Thanksgiving holiday, the hour-by-hour traffic breakdown is equally revealing. One could conclude, from the numbers, more travelers were at their destinations between about 11:00 a.m. and 6 p.m. during the 2012 Thanksgiving holiday. From that year-over-year comparison, the numbers would seem to suggest the holiday gatherings were happening a little earlier in the day during 2012.

While the charts are interesting, of course, they are hardly conclusive. But it is quite fascinating to examine visitor numbers for a website and draw educated inferences about user behavior off the site.


About the Author

Danny Pryor is a media, website and content developer based in Fort Lauderdale. He produces websites, video and other digital media through his company, Rodan Media, and is the executive director of the travel website,, which he co-owns with his business partners. Danny began website development in 2000, while working with Scoop Magazine, in Fort Lauderdale. His media and broadcasting career dates to 1988, when he began working in news radio, in Las Vegas. He has two awards from the Florida Associated Press, for Best Individual Achievement and for Best Spot News, for his radio news coverage of events in Miami, during 1992.

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