The Request (dated 13 April 2018) * later clarified on 16 April 2018

Could you please assist me with the following Freedom of Information request.  I have not located this data in your disclosure log, however please advise if the data has already been made public.
 
Request
Could you please send me a spreadsheet containing aggregated traffic data to the www.britishcouncil.org websites.
 
Metrics
•         Number of monthly visits (must have)
•         Number of unique visits every month (nice to have)
•         Average visit duration (nice to have)
•         Bounce rate (nice to have)
•         Average number of web pages per visit (nice to have)
 
Timescale
•         last 2 years
(minimum latest 3 months)
 
Frequency
•         Monthly
 
Purpose
•         I am assessing the accuracy of data provided by companies that estimate website traffic.  I therefore need ‘actual’ traffic data to compare with the forecasts produced by these companies.
 
Thank you very much for your assistance with this request.
 
* I would like to see monthly data.  The reason is that we’re testing the accuracy of the monthly data released by companies who estimate website traffic (see image below).  I need a broad sample of websites to provide ‘the truth’, against which we can compare their data.
 
I want to see aggregated traffic data for all the pages underneath the ‘www.britishcouncil.org/’ homepage.  That is what the 3rd parties estimate, so I’d want to see ‘the truth’ to check their estimates.
 
That being said, I note that the British Council maintains separate websites per country.  For example:
www.britishcouncil.in                    (India)
www.britishcouncil.cn                   (China)
www.britishcouncil.us                   (USA)
 
I am conscious of not wanting to request too much information, and would rather reduce the size of request than have it cancelled because I asked for too much.  However, would it also be possible for you to send me historical traffic data for the (say) 3 most popular websites www.britishcouncil.xx
 
To limit the cost/time of answering this request, the data could be limited to just the ‘need to have’ metric of number of monthly visits.
 
 

Our Response (dated 11 May 2018)

Dear Ian
 
Thank you for your request for information concerning aggregated traffic data for British Council websites. Your request has been handled under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2000 and has been passed to me for reply.
 
For your ease of reference I have restated your request below in bold and have provided our response beneath.
 
Could you please send me a spreadsheet containing aggregated traffic data to the www.britishcouncil.org websites?
 
Metrics
•         Number of monthly visits (must have)
•         Number of unique visits every month (nice to have)
•         Average visit duration (nice to have)
•         Bounce rate (nice to have)
•         Average number of web pages per visit (nice to have)
 
Timescale
•         last 2 years
(minimum latest 3 months)
 
Frequency
•         Monthly
 
I want to see aggregated traffic data for all the pages underneath the ‘www.britishcouncil.org/’ homepage.  That is what the 3rd parties estimate, so I’d want to see ‘the truth’ to check their estimates.
 
That being said, I note that the British Council maintains separate websites per country.  For example:
 
www.britishcouncil.in                    (India)
www.britishcouncil.cn                   (China)
www.britishcouncil.us                   (USA)
 
I am conscious of not wanting to request too much information, and would rather reduce the size of request than have it cancelled because I asked for too much.  However, would it also be possible for you to send me historical traffic data for the (say) 3 most popular websites www.britishcouncil.xx
 
To limit the cost/time of answering this request, the data could be limited to just the ‘need to have’ metric of number of monthly visits.
 
Please find below the number of unique visitors to our top three sites and top three country sites for the first three months of this year. 
 
URL
January 2018 February 2018
March 2018
www.britishcouncil.org 251,390 241,257 331,726
https://study-uk.britishcouncil.org/  218,369 188,522 317,144
https://www.britishcouncil.org/voices-magazine 249,210 247,416 262,656
www.britishcouncil.cn 220,752 246,462 443,075
www.britishcouncil.in 392,919 439,331 425,616
www.britishcouncil.or.th 220,979 191,395 229,037
I hope the information provided has been useful. 
 
If you are dissatisfied with the handling of your request, you have the right to ask for an internal review. Internal review requests should be submitted within two months of the date of receipt of the response to your original letter and should be addressed to: 
 
Information Governance Advisor (Disclosures)
Information Governance and Risk Management 
British Council
Bridgewater House
58 Whitworth Street
Manchester
M1 6BB 
 
 
If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have a right to appeal to the Information Commissioner for a decision at: 
 
The Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
 
Phone: 0303 123 1113 
 
 
Yours sincerely