How did “Big Bible: Bigger Conversation” work over Lent 2011?

Google Analytics Stats

The site was first launched 16th August 2011, with a basic design. In January 2011, the design was updated. We would love to develop a custom built site, built around appropriate categories/paths of use.

  • We have already had over 35,000 visitors since the site launched in mid-August 2010.
    • November: 1900 visits.
    • February: 4000 visits.
    • March/April:  over 12000 visits each, (around 50% staying for over 3 minutes).
  • 24,000 visitors have been from the UK

A bit more detail?

  • Reaching 145 countries/territories in total, using 74 languages (Google provides a translation service, which would have allowed all the written elements to be translated).
  • Around 3000 people accessed the site via mobile devices, over 1200 of those on iPhones, over 600 on iPads.
  • Those who visited the site more than once spent an average of 4.44 minutes on the site, and visited 3-4 pages each visit.
  • The vast majority accessed the site in Internet Explorer (and Windows), with significant numbers in Firefox, Chrome and Safari.
  • Google analytics couldn’t determine what speed of connection most visitors had, but, interestingly, over 200 were still on dial-up.
  • The top four visited pages were all related to ‘The Big Read’, around 25,000 pageviews out of nearly 100,000.
  • Nearly 1000 people left the site to visit, with a similar number disappearing onto Amazon.

Google Search Terms

For Google (we were particularly concerned with the UK version), we had good success, largely because the site was set up a long way ahead of time, before The Big Read 2011 was ready, and could then be promoted via Twitter, Facebook and print/audio media.

  • (The) Big Bible Project =  1st and entire front page
  • #bigread2011 = 90% front page
  • BigBible = 1st
  • big bible = 1st
  • Bible reading social media = 1st
  • Lent Housegroup = 4th
  • The Big Read = 3rd (Durham, 2010), 5th (bigbible)

An upcoming target is to focus on ‘digital discipleship’.

Strongest sites sending us traffic

  • Google searches and direct links to the URL brought us nearly 50% of the traffic.
  • We were linked from the top of, bringing us around around 3000 links. The site is first for a search on ‘Tom Wright’.
  • Pray-as-you-go, who were providing daily audio material based on the book, brought us around 2000 links.
  • Twitter brought us the 5th largest amount of traffic, with Facebook following shortly behind.

YouVersion Stats

After providing the connection, YouVersion and SPCK were in discussion for quite some time. Just before Lent started, the reading plan for Lent for Everyone: Matthew appeared on YouVersion.

  • Around 5000 downloads (similar numbers to that of the other Lent courses on YouVersion)

12Baskets Stats

12Baskets published the material as a daily newsletter, directly into people’s email boxes in time for breakfast. The newsletter was originally only going to be available to those purchasing the book, but with the developments with YouVersion, just before Lent started, this was made open to all also.

  • Around 150 subscribers to the newsletter, with an open rate of about 50% daily.
  • The housegroup material was available to download directly from the site, but 12baskets also provided it in PDF format, for which we had around 80 downloads each week.

Video Views

Videos were streamed from a mix of YouTube, Vimeo and downloadable from 12baskets. Approximate numbers, and were likely to have had multiple (housegroup) viewers.

  • Welcome to the Big Read 2011: 1750 (available on the front page of
  • Video 1: Why Read Matthew for Lent: 860
  • Video 2:  How does Matthew see Jesus’ death?: 630
  • Video 3: Reading Matthew at Easter: 430
  • Week 1: God’s People: 980 (700 by end of week 1)
  • Week 2:  God’s Provision: 680
  • Week 3: God’s Promises: 630
  • Week 4: God’s Parables: 470
  • Week 5:  God’s Purpose: 470
  • Week 6: God’s Power 310 (holidays had started)
  • Week 7: God’s Perspective: 250

The Seeker series videos gained around 20 viewers each week.

Audio Stats

The reflections were available as audio in MP3 format from a mix of Soundcloud (where a couple of tracks were ‘favourited’) and 12baskets. The text was also provided, so I suspect many did what our housegroup did, and read within the group.

  • Week 1 reflection: 250
  • Week 2 reflection: 150
  • Week 3 reflection: 130
  • Week 4 reflection: 120
  • Week 5 reflection: 85
  • Week 6 reflection: 70
  • Week 7 reflection: 65

Audio only versions of Tom Wright’s videos were also provided on 12baskets, but these were only required by around 10 people each week.

SPCK Stats

SPCK was the publisher for Lent for Everyone: Luke (which sold around 14,500 last year). This year 19,500 were sold (after an initial print run of 17,000) for Lent for Everyone: Matthew. We ensured that a link to the Big Bible website and the 12Baskets newsletter were available in the front of the book, to ensure that it was clear that the two projects coincided, and this, we think, brought plenty of traffic.

Joanna Moriarty from SPCK says “Amazon sales were very strong, and the book got inside the top 200, which is unusual and impressive for a religion title.” The Kindle version also did well, although data for this is still new and so comparisons are hard!

Next year, with Lent for Everyone: Mark (the final in the trilogy, as yet unwritten), what exciting possibilities are there!

As Bex laid out in a lecture to her media studies students on Monday, social media does not stand/fall on it’s own two feet, but the power of the print medium (and the brands behind it) are still strong, so getting press coverage has been crucial, and will need to be pursued further.

Where are people coming from?

Aside from good numbers of visitors from the UK, we had visitors who actively indicated that they were joining us from Australia, South Americ, United States (as well as Will Grady undertaking a Skype housegroup with his family in the States), Canada, Sweden, Serbia, France, and SPCK had several queries from Africa.

The top 10 countries visiting in the past month (according to Google analytics) are:

  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Netherlands
  • Germany
  • France
  • Malaysia
  • New Zealand
  • Spain

We had been using Clustr maps, which was giving an indication that The Big Bible Project is truly a global project, but the numbers were not updating, so we added Revolver maps one week ago, which adds a permanent dot for each visit (and indicates where anyone else is visiting from if you’re online at the same time as anyone else).

Come back over the next few days for some more information on The Forum, Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, etc. as we work towards a meeting in June where we discuss what seemed to be working, what wasn’t, and what the possibilities are for the next year and the long term.

About bigbible

The #BigBible Project. Educating in the digital spaces, creating 'bigger Bible conversations' between #digidisciple(s). Look out for #bigread14.