For a relatively new pure-play digital media company, Dispatches Europe gets a lot of traffic. When we went back at the end of 2018 to analyze that year’s data, we got confirmation we were in the right place at the right time. A lot of people – particularly Americans – are pondering their global options including the expat life.
We’re not the only ones who’ve reached this conclusion.
A recent study of data collected in 2014 – before Brexit and the election of President Donald Trump – found that about 33 percent of Americans aspire to live abroad. While Dispatches has gotten an undeniable statistical boost from Brexit and Trump, the study found that this latent interest in country shopping cuts across political and ideological lines and comes down to just wanting to explore the world, or to retire someplace affordable.
Those findings were double-confirmed by a new Gallup World Poll survey.
This is from the World Economic Forum’s summary:
Have you ever considered moving permanently to a new country? If the answer is yes, you’re far from alone. A new poll reveals that 15 percent of the global population – over 750 million people – would migrate if they could.
Despite a strong economy, 16 percent of Americans responding to the survey in 2017 told Gallup they wanted to live abroad, the highest increase recorded by the poll, according to the WEF post. The data was collected in 2017 after the Brexit vote, but European Union respondents desire to migrate has remained unchanged since 2012 at 21 percent.
As for our data related to Brexit, it’s far more compelling. As we’ve moved toward a no-deal Brexit, several Dispatches posts have broken out, getting thousands of views each day. But more on that in a minute.
Let’s look first at our best read posts for 2018. And we’d like to give President Trump a huge shout-out for making this post Numero Uno, as they say in Mexico.
“Norway reaching out to Americans fleeing Trump madness,” first posted in November 2016, got almost 700,000 page views in 2018. What happened?
Trump said this to aides last January:
“Why do we want all these people from Africa here? They’re shithole countries … We should have more people from Norway.”
That’s all it took. Suddenly, our post about a region north of Oslo reaching out to Americans of Norwegian descent got about 20,000 page views each day for weeks.
Another anomaly occurred last month after the May government cancelled a 9 December vote on its Brexit agreement in the British parliament. Boom! “The Domino Effect: “How Brexit could affect expats across Europe” blew up. First posted in the summer of 2017, readers started reposting “Domino Effect” on social media. Our traffic grew along with the anxiety over what could happen on 29 March 2019, now only 85 days away.
That’s just the beginning.
We’re essentially an expat lifestyle company, and a number of perennial favorites, such as posts about using Amazon across Europe, shopping posts and best spring-break destinations, made our Top 50.
But the biggest traffic numbers were generated by our lists of best cities or countries for expats.
Now, here’s where it gets interesting. As we moved further into 2018, overview posts about living in specific cities went from having okay traffic to suddenly generating big numbers every day. So did more micro-level analysis including Beth Hoke’s post detailing the rules for staying in Schengen long-term and Lynne Evan’s “The unvarnished truth about living in Greece”, which were No. 17 and No. 18, respectively for 2018. Twenty of the Top 50 best-read posts were “how-to expat” guides.
Also on the list are:
• Pssst … Italy’s under-the-radar Elective Residence visa lets qualified visitors stay long-term
• Retire in Europe, Pt. 1: Spain, Portugal and Andorra offer affordable, relaxed lifestyle
• Renting in Eindhoven: The best neighborhoods, towns and villages
• Global pursuit of talent: Portugal, France and Estonia up the ante with new startup visas
• Expat Essentials: Dispatches’ guide to international schools In Amsterdam
• Lily Cichanowicz: Absolutely everything you must know to get your freelance artist visa in Berlin
• Retire in Europe, Pt. 3: Bulgaria offers a high quality of life AND a low cost of living
All that’s interesting, but here’s what’s really compelling: Our biggest audience isn’t in the United Kingdom or expat hotspots such as Berlin and Amsterdam.
By far, the vast majority of our traffic – 30 percent – comes from the U.S., with New York City and San Francisco our two largest American audiences. Our No. 2 market is the UK at 13 percent of traffic and the Netherlands is No. 3 at 12 percent.
Our Top 10 cities for 2018 were:
3 New York
4 Eindhoven, our global headquarters
6 Los Angeles
10 San Francisco
When we first started refining the Dispatches concept in 2015, more than a few people, including long-term American expats, told us we were crazy. That nationalism – not globalism – was the emerging trend. And maybe it is. But nationalism won’t stop global trade and innovation from reshaping the world into winners and losers. And when it becomes apparent that a country is dead-set on cutting itself off from the world, we know via the magic of analytics that not everyone is willing to go down with the ship. For the highly skilled internationals, there are always tempting new options in exciting new places.
He who laughs last ….
About the author:
Terry Boyd is co-founder of Dispatches Media, based in Eindhoven. Boyd has been a military reporter, business reporter and an entrepreneur, founding Insider Louisville, a pure-play digital news platform, in 2010.
Boyd & Family are long-time expats and have lived in Turkey, Germany and the Netherlands.
Co-CEO of Dispatches Europe. A former military reporter, I'm a serial expat who has lived in France, Turkey, Germany and the Netherlands.