The State of Modern Rifleman: Q2 2017

It’s report card time again at Modern Rifleman! That’s right, July 1 marked the close of 2017’s second quarter for this website and that means it’s time for a quarterly checkup. Every three months, I put together these quarterly reviews to give readers a look behind the curtain of this growing web property. I also do this to help potential advertisers and business partners who might be interested in seeing how the site performs. So with all of that in mind, let’s dig in.

I won’t lie, Q2 was somewhat of a disappointment. While still a top 5 quarter for the site, the 81,851 pageviews during the period lagged well behind Q1’s 105,307. Both Q3 and Q4 of 2016 comfortably beat Q2 of 2017 and it is clear that the overall state of the firearms industry is spilling over into the work we do here. It’s well known that the market is Charmin soft for firearms and it has been for most of the year. Without SHOT Show in Q1, that quarter would likely have been far weaker as well.

Breaking the quarter down into monthly view totals tells more of the same story. April and May tallied similar pageview numbers at 28,109 views and 27,811 views respectively. June came in well behind the preceding months with just 25,931 views. Throughout the period, total views per unique visitor sat at between 1.3 and 1.5.

Market conditions notwithstanding, the spring season has traditionally been relatively slow for the site. In 2016, views dropped nearly 20% between January and April. 2017 hasn’t been so different, but March was far stronger than expected and the readership slide has persisted for an extra month or two.

During May and June, Modern Rifleman ran its first set of ads on Facebook and Instagram. At the start of Q2, Modern Rifleman’s Facebook follower total sat at 618. The quarter closed with 769. Without question, the ad buys were immensely successful. Instagram didn’t see quite so much growth, going from 1,021 to 1,057 followers. Modern Rifleman ended Q2 with 371 followers on Twitter. Facebook activity for Q2 garnered 18,438 impressions. Tweets during the period earned 8,900 impressions.

Successful advertising campaigns were some of the biggest wins in Q2

Even more than usual, firearm and gear reviews dominated Q2 for overall readership. A whopping nine out of the top ten articles were reviews of some sort and three of those were suppressor-related. This is the highest concentration of reviews in the top ten that Modern Rifleman has ever seen and I think that it speaks to not only the long-term strength of review articles, but also to the fact that things were remarkably quiet on the firearm news front. It’s also good to see that the Gemtech Integra review done by Modern Rifleman contributor, Pete M., ranked so highly. Pete joined the Modern Rifleman crew earlier this year and his work has helped to continue the sites growth into one of the best sources of silencer information on the web.

Top articles for Q2 2017

Looking forward, I am optimistic that we’re turning the corner as far as readership goes. The past week has seen higher levels of reader traffic than mid-June. Furthermore, we have several reviews in the hopper for release in the coming weeks, including pieces on the Erector, Half Nelson, and Full Nelson silencers from Q, as well as a review of SB Tactical’s new SBT5 folding brace for MP5 variants. All of these articles should land sometime this month.

As always, thank you to all of Modern Rifleman’s readers. There are thousands of you throughout the US and around the globe who make everything we do here meaningful and worthwhile. Keep checking in frequently and be sure to drop a note in the comments if you ever have any questions or would simply like to share your thoughts.

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