In January, we shared some initial data on improvements for Core Publisher stations that had moved to the responsive theme. Those improvements included better tracking, improved search performance, and increased reading. Recently, we looked at data for the set of stations that moved to responsive in February 2015. These stations saw similar improvements, including increases in story reading.
While story pageviews increased, this group of stations saw a drop in pageviews for the homepage. The new responsive theme corrects for a technical issue that caused a silent redirect through the homepage for mobile users. This page was not seen by users, but was counted in Google Analytics. The change is not a reduction in traffic, but a correction to the way the session is reflected in reporting.
Overall traffic metrics have seen some declines in the weeks after launch. Total pageviews are lower due to decreases in homepage views, and due to seasonal traffic patterns. A number of the stations included in this cohort saw large traffic spikes in early January that cause the trend to appear to be negative.
At per session level, engagement measured in pages per session have been steady. There was a slight increase at launch as users became more familiar with the new theme, but overall the number seems to have returned to pre-launch levels.
Overall, the change to responsive has been a positive one, both in user experience and in the key metrics that we follow.