To advance our mission and vision and support the objectives of Mathematica’s 2021 – 2024 strategy, Communications is expanding our presence and engagement in key ecosystems. New for 2021, we are executing quarterly thematic campaigns that focus on cross-cutting, timely, and strategic topics. These campaigns aim to position Mathematica as a leader on critical and emerging issues and engage evidence communities. The existence of a campaign on a particular topic does not mean that it is the only topic we will highlight for the quarter, but it does mean that we will prioritize the use of our platforms to support campaign-related content. This year, our campaigns will focus on:
- Q1: COVID-19
- Q2: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
- Q3: Digital Transformation
- Q4: Global Presence/Climate Change
Our Q1 focus on timely and relevant insights into the COVID-19 pandemic revealed the following key insights:
- Thought leadership —blog posts, podcasts, web feature pages, social media content, and video/multimedia products)—represents our most powerful tool for attracting new and engaging existing influencers in our ecosystems.
- We increase the reach and engagement of our content and advance our own inclusion efforts by lifting up the voices and perspectives of our clients, partners, and communities we seek to serve.
Pageviews and visits to Mathematica.org continue a two-year trend of year-over-year growth. In Q1 2021, there were 370K pageviews and 186K site visits, compared with 296K pageviews/136K visits in Q1 2020 and 286K pageviews/72K visits in 2019.
Thought leadership content—as represented on blog, podcast, and feature pages—continues to attract and engage new and returning site visitors. This past quarter, total blog pageviews grew 68% year-over-year (35,134 vs 20,817), with a new user increase of 135% (22,047 vs 9,351) and a returning user increase of 104% (24,211 vs 11,844). As a percentage of all site pageviews, blog posting pageviews grew from 7% in Q1 2020 to 10.3% in Q1 2021. In comparison, during the same period Publication pages—which outnumber blog postings 15 to 1—decreased as a percentage of all site pageviews from 17% to 14%.
Insights on relevant and timely policy questions positioned as tools and resources have been popular, sometimes well after initial amplification and publication dates. Learning in the Midst of a Pandemic: Four Key Education Takeaways and 19 and Me: A COVID-19 Risk Calculator remained top-viewed pages in Q1 2021, although they were published in March and May of 2020, respectively. Maintaining a 12-month streak of attracting at least 1,400 views per month, the COVID-19 Curated Data, Modeling, and Policy Resources feature has obtained 36K views since being published in March of 2020. Nearly 15% of those views occurred in the last quarter. And the recently published Interactive State Disability Maps data visualization has attracted 1,700 page views in only two weeks.
YoY Traffic Change
Quarterly page views
Top 10 viewed pages
|Mathematica | Progress Together||46,374||+22.5%|
|Career Opportunities at Mathematica||25,982||+58.8%|
|19 and Me: A COVID-19 Risk Calculator||6,944||-77.8%|
|Search Results for Mathematica Policy Research||5,517||+36.9%|
|COVID-19 Curated Data, Modeling, and Policy Resources||4,637||+12.9%|
|Summer Fellowships: Pursuing Self-Directed, Issues-Oriented Research||4,217||+98.8%|
|Learning in the Midst of a Pandemic: Four Key Education Takeaways||3,682||+62.3%|
|Focus Areas | Mathematica||3,487||+62.2%|
New vs Returning Users
The Mathematica blog featured 30 new posts during the first quarter of 2021, a 25% increase in content over the same quarter in 2020. These new posts were contributed by 37 different authors, highlighting the depth of Mathematica’s bench and leveraging our platform to feature the perspective of clients and practitioners. Blog posts focused on timely, relevant insights into the COVID-19 pandemic as part of our coordinated content campaign for Q1. The blog also provided a critical platform to discuss issues of equity and highlight Mathematica staff and the passions that drive their work. The most-viewed posts included Kiana Hardy’s experience as a leader in Mathematica’s Black Employee Resource Group and her message to her young daughter; a partnered blog contributed by Petula Brown and Iris Frye on the role that technology can play in restoring social safety nets and supporting health equity; and Randall Blair’s reflections on his lessons learned after a decade of evaluating agriculture programs in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa. Readers spent an average of more than four minutes (4:16) on blog pages, significantly more than the overall website average of 1:47. As we continue to add new content at an increased pace (currently on target for 2-4 posts per week), strengthening the connections between relevant and related content and continuing to build an audience of repeat visitors will be key to our continued growth.
Average Time on Post
Mathematica’s podcast, On the Evidence, earned 5,695 listens in the first quarter of 2021, which was about a 7 percent decrease from the same quarter in 2020, driven by fewer episodes published in the first quarter of this year. New episodes this quarter mostly focused on ways evidence is arming decision makers as they respond to the evolving public health crisis. In February, the podcast hit its two-year anniversary, which we commemorated with a reflections blog, a listener survey, and a transcript feature to give people the opportunity to read interviews if they either cannot or do not want to listen to episodes. As we aim to ensure that all of our products are fully accessible to all audiences, we now offer our podcast episodes with closed captioning on YouTube.
YoY Listens Change
Top 3 Podcasts
Mathematica social media content was distributed nearly 900,000 times in Q1 of 2021 (representing a YoY increase of 23.5%), and we’ve connected and collaborated with peers, clients, and thought leaders across platforms. Highlights include:
- In February, we produced the fifth in the series of Twitter chats that we lead about primary care in the time of COVID-19 (#PrimaryCareCovidChat). Our partners for this chat were the American College of Physicians, the American Board of Family Medicine, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, California Health Care Foundation, the Larry L. Green Center, Milbank Memorial Fund, National Association of Community Health Centers, the National Patient Advocate Foundation, Primary Care Collaborative, Primary Care Development Corporation, Philippine Nurses Association of America, Texas A&M Rural Community Health Institute, This is Our Shot, and X4Health.
- In March, we were selected for the third year in a row to be a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Social Media Ambassador for the CMS Annual Quality Conference.
- Among the many peers and partners we engaged with on social media platforms throughout Q1 were Arnold Ventures, Aspen Institute, Black Educators Initiative, CEO Action, Child Trends, Human Rights Campaign, WT Grant Foundation, Howard University, Kauffman Foundation, Kessler Foundation, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Human Rights Campaign, National Association of Elementary School Principals, New Jersey Department of Education, Rockefeller Foundation, Stanford Health Policy, USAID Global Health, and more.
- We produced two videos specifically for social media, one focused on products and services that Mathematica has developed to help decision makers respond to COVID-19 and the other highlighting work we’ve done with REL Mid-Atlantic. These videos have each been viewed more than 1,000 times.
YoY Impressions Change
Through bipartisan partnerships at the federal and state levels, our government affairs team has strengthened relationships with policymakers and their staff. As a new presidential administration and Congress began in 2021, we engaged with policymakers and government leaders on topics such as helping Medicaid beneficiaries who need personal assistance remain in their homes and communities, addressing climate change, and reopening schools. Q1 policymaker engagements included:
- Coordinated Mathematica Medicaid experts working with Senator Maggie Hassan’s (D-NH) office to help estimate the net costs of extending access to home- and community-based services (HCBS) to Medicaid beneficiaries who want these supports and are unable to receive them because of program barriers and long waiting lists. This work was directly informed development of the HCBS Access Act, draft legislation recently released for public comment.
- Provided thought leadership content targeting policymaker audiences, including a selection of key considerations for the new presidential administration and 117th Congress, opportunities for facilitating the use of data and evidence among government agencies, and a blog post focused on what the new Congress should consider for evidence-based decision making.
- Briefed the Government Accountability Office on performance measures and state implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.
Top 3 Topics
- Reopening schools
- Reintroducing the Pregnancy Assistance Fund
- Home and Community-Based Services in Medicaid
As online conferencing and virtual events have become ubiquitous during the pandemic and virtual meeting fatigue may be settling in, attendance for external webinars and forms has decreased year-over-year to ~3K attendees in Q1 2021, from over 5K in Q1 2020. As with other thought leadership products, partnering with those in our ecosystems is key to expanded reach and engagement. One of our webinars for the REL Mid-Atlantic project, hosted in collaboration with the New Jersey Department of Education and Rutgers Graduate School of Education, garnered more than 1,800 registrants.
Internally, we hosted 120 WebEx and Zoom meetings, with ~9k attendees. As expectations for more engaging event experiences have increased with both our internal and external audiences, we are incorporating engagement opportunities into our virtual webinar events features, such as online polling, breakout sessions, facilitated Q and A, and recorded video presentations.
Video messaging has become a primary mode of communication during the pandemic, as we are unable to conduct in -person meetings and trainings. In the past month alone, we’ve produced 16 training segments for clients such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and OPRE. Short, animated videos have also risen in popularity, with more than 24 requests in Q1 for this type of product.
Total Video Views
YoY Views Change
Top 3 Videos
Accountable Care Organizations
Mathematica - Progress Together
Why is Literacy so Important?
During Q1, our work was covered 68 times in a variety of national, local, and trade media as well as in high profile blogs. The lion’s share of the coverage focused on our COVID portfolio in the Health and Human Services units. For example, Politico, Chalkbeat, the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, and NJ Spotlight covered our work on COVID testing in schools. Outlets ranging from Forbes, to Fox News, to Skilled Nursing News and Boise Public Radio reported on our Connecticut nursing home research. PRWeek, a trade magazine for the public relations industry, covered our assessment of the COVID communications landscape. In other areas, a White House press release mentioned our registered apprenticeship study. Some articles ran in multiple outlets, boosting the total number of mentions to 456 for the quarter. Staff quoted in these news stories include Divya Vohra, Aparna Keshaviah, Patricia Rowan, Caroline Margiotta, Kara Zivin, Mary Kay Fox, and Andrea Wysocki.
Staff published 34 journal articles in the quarter: 17 in Health, 16 in Human Services, and 1 in International. A special issue of Nutrients explored how participation in school meal programs impact diet, body-mass index, and general health and wellbeing for school-aged students, using data from the School Nutrition and Meal Cost Study. The trade journal Food Management reported on this work and quoted Mary Kay Fox. A Health Affairs article noted that considerably more physicians joined health systems in recent years, especially in the Midwest and Northeast and in small to midsize markets.
In the first quarter of 2021, Mathematica participated in three conferences: Healthcare Palooza, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Quality Conference, and APHSA’s Third Thursday Series. Mathematica’s Rebekah Selekman presented at the Third Thursday Series, where she shared findings from an ASPE study on key strategies of father engagement across human services programming (e.g., child support, child welfare, TANF, childcare, etc.), insights from past projects centered on fatherhood, and resources for building relationships through technology during the pandemic.
Top 3 Presentations
- APHSA Third Thursday Series
- CMS Data Quality Conference
- Health Datapalooza and National Health Policy Conference
We have created on-demand dashboards in ServiceNow for editorial, production, design, digital, and library services. These reports compare trends from the current and previous quarter, as well as the current and previous year. They are still being refined, and we welcome your input on additional data that would be of interest.