Concrete Construction magazine readers include a wide variety of people from all sectors of the industry. While the largest group is concrete specialty contractors (about 22,500), the number of general contractors is only slightly less at 20,000. And then there are highway and heavy contractors at around 6,000, bringing the contractor total to about 48,500 readers. The remainder of our 55,000 total circulation is ready-mix producers (1,500), A/Es (1,400), distributors (650), and everyone else.

But even ore than demographics, what’s important in determining what we cover these days, especially in the newsletter, is metrics. We analyze every newsletter to determine which stories are most likely to catch your attention and motivate you to click through to the longer version of the story on the web site. Based on this, we begin to hone in on the stories you want to read.

We also analyze the traffic on our web sites and use that information to help inform the decision of what to put into the print magazine. Traditionally, we had to rely only on our gut to tell us what to print (although it was an informed gut). Now we have additional information to guide our decisions; it’s called data-driven content.

Sometimes, though, the data can tell a story that I don’t believe—or that I think is skewed. For example, Google Analytics tells me that the most popular single item on over the past month was How to Build an Affordable Concrete Home, by Joe Nasvik, from the spring 2008 issue of Residential Concrete (which we no longer publish). I don’t believe that most concrete contractors are reading that article, which means that those web site visitors are actually homeowners or potential homeowners and that there’s a reference out there on the web someplace leading people to that article or that it comes up high on a Google search (which it does). But my job is to produce information for concrete contractors and GCs who self-perform and not for homeowners, so sometimes I ignore the data and go back to relying on my gut. It’s served me well for a long time!