Google Analytics: Fireworks Display Event – Growth of Mobile

I say Fireworks night because that’s what Guy Fawkes night really means to people!

Each year fireworks are the big attraction on the Saturday nearest November 5th at the Watford Council organised event in Cassiobury Park.

Relative areas from counts of “bon” and “work” in referring keywords  – cc(0)

Looking at the search terms queried which resulted in a visit to on November 5th showed that traffic sent by fireworks related keywords outnumbered that from bonfire searches by 33-to-1.

It isn’t all Fireworks though.  The bonfire remains but gone is the Guy Fawkes judging contest, and effigies of him or “celebrities”.  Along with the main display there is also an earlier Fireworks display for small children and a stage featuring music from local musicians.

No Fireworks Firework Display

“Sounds like the worst ‘firework’ display ever” writes Mike Duce on Twitter. (yF).



For the past three years there has been a noticeable rise up to the day of the Fireworks display which has been the busiest day of the year.

Guess when the Fireworks were!

There has been massive year on year growth in the number of event related searches.  This year saw more mobile visits to the site on the day of the event than visits from all platforms to the site a year ago.

Comparing November 5th 2011 with a year earlier (November 6th 2010):

  • Desktop visits increased 125%
  • Mobile visits increased 398%

On November 5th 2011:

  • 38% of visits were from a mobile device
  • Heavy use of Apple devices saw Safari as the most used browser

Cassiobury Park 2011 Fireworks Mobile Traffic Per Hour

Mobile visits peaked in the same hour as total visits but the significantly slower falling limb on the graph below shows that people were accessing the site from their phones whilst attending the display.

Social Media

Interaction increased.  There is a one-click Twitter follow button on the homepage of the site which helped the associated account gained the greatest number of followers it has added in a single day.  Throughout the day I tweeted photo updates from the park many of which were retweeted, and there were several @mentions in the evening.

The effect on the @CassioburyPark Klout score can be seen below – very temporary though due to the decrease in tweeting levels after the event.



On the day of last year’s event on Saturday 6th November 2010 it was colder but perhaps more importantly for the past 3 years events I had been away at University so wasn’t able to nip over to the park to provide regular updates and as a result social activity last year was considerably less.

That said for both years the site featured Fireworks on its homepage and full details on the events page.

What mobile devices are people using?
Apple devices are the most popular by far with traffic from iPods exceeding the total mobile traffic served from the SymbianOS, Windows, Nokia and Samsung operating systems combined!  They other devices aren’t all phones either with iPads accounting for about 20% of all mobile traffic.
Mobile OS Nov 5th 2011 CP
The proportion of mobile visits which were made from an Apple device fell from 81% in 2010 to 73% in 2011 but this was more than offset by a 342% increase in the absolute number of iOS visits.


Keywords and Google Suggest

Continued evolution of Google Suggest and its ability to impact search queries is apparent with 3 of the top 4 search terms ending with “2011” compared to just 1 ending “2010” the previous year.

The average length of each referring search query also increased, from 2.8 in 2010 to 3.2 in 2011.


How does this compare to the rest of the year?
In every year for which Analytics has available data, there was a higher proportion of mobile visits on the day of the event than over the year as an average. This is unsurprising given there are few other times a year when there are tens of thousands of people in the park at a time.

Both the proportion of and absolute number of mobile visits are increasing year on year.   The growth in mobile traffic from 2010 to 2011 was 300%, and the proportion of visits made from a mobile device has risen rapidly from 9% in 2010 to 22% this year.

The site

There isn’t a separate mobile version of the site and truth be told I haven’t ever seen the site on a mobile phone other than my own.  I will have to try accessing it on some of the most popular devices to ensure that the site looks okay on them.

The Event

In the old days an “anything goes” approach was taken to bonfire building.  Nowadays it’s much smaller and pretty much all pallets.

Cassiobury Park Bonfire 1990s
Me standing in front of the large bonfire in 1999.

In the 1990s there was the Computacenter hot air balloon, glow sticks, sparklers, hot-dogs barbecued at various places and the crowds were held back by rolls of orange mesh fencing.  They even used to let cars park on the grass.

Nowadays the park resembles a building site by the end of the preceding week with large steel fences rather earirly erected around nothing but empty parkland in the days before the event.  The barbecues have been replaced with a semi-circle of professional catering trucks, a truck load of portable toilets are dropped off, the bonfire has moved up the hill, the fences further back and cars aren’t allowed to park near the event.

Don’t get me started on the Rainbow Festival.

Bonfire 2011

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