An Annual Update from William Higginson
Founder and Co-Admin of the Boise Christmas Lights Project
Our 2021 season has wrapped! It was another wildly successful season for us. As usual, the amount of displays we added to the map increased this year from last year. I've attributed the growth to the well-known growth in the Treasure Valley, and a notable spike in usage/traffic in 2020 likely due to COVID has carried into the 2021 season.
In addition, we saw more Christmas events come back on the calendar this year. Several Christmas events, parades, etc. were cancelled or moved to virtual-only in 2020 due to the pandemic. Seeing more things open back up has been great - I feel like it shows we are recovering and adapting to things going on around us.
Now that I was settled into my new home and job, I was able to help take back over a lot of BCL responsibilities from Shannon. I was able to handle all the back-end things, such as updating the map, updating our new website, creating driving routes, etc. Shannon was still able to be our "boots on the ground" for things we needed in-person help with. She worked very hard for the crucial 2020 season so I was more than willing to step back in to help with the workload this year.
We really kicked this new website into high gear for the 2021 season. We were able to get a site design we really liked, it's a LOT more customizable than the old one, and it's more mobile-friendly than the old one. So yeah, we like the Google Sites platform a lot more than Blogger. Since Google Sites is free, we're able to keep the monetary costs at a minimum with only a small yearly payment for the domain. We think we've found a good system here that we can stick with for a while.
We also started a new submission process. No more driving around to find and confirm displays (that's not really possible with me being 5 states and a time zone away). We let the homeowners come to us and fill out a submission form, or email us like they may have already been doing. Shannon started trending this direction last year, and I was able to keep the momentum going in 2021. The page is so well-known at this point that people know to just come to us. This helps keep the costs of this project down - both monetary and time-wise. It reduces our reliance on donations.
The Idaho Statesman, KTVB channel 7 and Idaho News 6 all ran great stories on our project this year as well. We also got shout outs on Totally Boise, and twice in the BoiseDev newsletters!
Alright fellow stats nerds - here are the final numbers for this season!
We had 156 total pins on our 2021 Christmas Lights Map:
47 Light Shows Synced to Music
93 Static Light Displays
16 Community Events/Trees
Here are some Facebook Milestones from the 2021 Season:
Hit 7,000 Likes on Facebook on Oct 14
Hit 7,500 Likes on Facebook on Oct 16 (that's over 500 likes in 48 hours - see below)
Hit 8,000 Likes on Facebook on Nov 29
Hit 8,500 Likes on Facebook on Dec 16
That spike in likes between Oct 14 and Oct 16 is due to the MASSIVE reach this single post made - I have never had a FB post reach anywhere near 58,000 people before. Thanks to Maggie O'Mara at KTVB channel 7 for the share, that definitely helped drive traffic as well. If this is what going viral is like, man, is that a rush. 😅