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Dáil centenary site cost €180,000 to build but fails to draw visitors

Public was made aware of the site via tweets from Oireachtas Twitter account.

A screenshot of the digital archive preserved on the Dáil100.ie website.
A screenshot of the digital archive preserved on the Dáil100.ie website.
Image: Dail100.ie

A GOVERNMENT WEBSITE, designed to commemorate the centenary of the first Dáil, and which cost €180,000 to develop, has had just 12,000 visitors in the first six months since it went online. 

The website Dáil100.ie, which serves as a virtual archive of the first sitting of the Dáil on 21 January 1919, was set up at the beginning of the year. Figures released to TheJournal.ie‘s investigative platform Noteworthy show 12,295 users visited the site up to 23 June this year. 

By comparison, in the first 10 days of going online, a virtual interactive tour of Dublin’s 1916-related historic sites had attracted 148,000 unique users. This site was part of the 1916-2016 celebrations.

For the Dáil100 site, the majority of those views were concentrated around related celebratory events in January and June with little traffic in March, April and May. 

image002 Analytics show small number of visitors to the centenary site in first six months of the year. Source: Oireachtas

(Need to see this image in high-res? Click here)

While figures show over 12,000 unique users on the site, this does not necessarily mean 12,000 ‘people’ visited.

Each ‘user’ represents an individual device which was used to access the site; if someone had looked at the site on their laptop and later on their smartphone, that would count as two users. 

analytics on dail100 Users to Dáil100 between Jan. to June. Source: Oireachtas

(Need to see this image in high-res? Click here)

Cost

In documents released to Noteworthy editor Ken Foxe and published on thestory.ie, it was revealed that the design cost of the website was €33,075, while the build cost was €152,478.

The website was the single most expensive component of an overall commemoration project, which totalled €930,000, including an airport VIP bill of €16,500, branded hats at over €10,000, and an accommodation bill for guests totalling €20,000. 

When asked if there was a specific marketing plan to make the public aware of the Dáil100.ie site, an Oireachtas spokesperson confirmed there was no multi-faceted plan, with potential visitors mainly targeted through the Oireachtas News Twitter account.

This account, @OireachtasNews, tweets news and information about Dáil schedules and debates, as well as events relating to the houses, including Dáil100 events. 

“With over 30,000 followers on Twitter, social media is the primary marketing channel for the Dáil100 website,” a spokesperson told TheJournal.ie

“The successful amplification of Dáil100 via social media can be seen in the relatively high percentage of international users/sessions. No specific marketing to diaspora has been undertaken.

“Most of our marketing is linked to key events taking place during the centenary year. For example, the Treasures of the Parliamentary Library was added to the Dáil100 website on 12 June.”

This year, 9,225 users were recorded as visiting the sites in Ireland, 1,039 came from the United States, and 916 in the United Kingdom. A smaller number of visitors came from a smattering of other countries. 

Some 46% of those users who visited did not venture further than one page; although, on average, visitors viewed four pages and spent more than three minutes browsing when they did arrive. 

“Cross-referencing of both visual and text primary source materials makes the website unique,” the spokesperson said. 

“The Houses of the Oireachtas intends for Dáil100 to have longevity well into the future – it will remain an output that supports students of Leaving Certificate History [...] as well as visitors with a general interest in the history of parliament in Ireland.”

- Additional reporting by Ken Foxe. Read more about Noteworthy.ie here.

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