Less than 1% of our financial supporters on Patreon are viewing our posts.
Update: Patreon post counts “are limited to when someone visits a post’s URL, and do not include mobile views, views on your Patreon page, or views on someone’s home feed.” So someone has to click to view the post and not on mobile. Oy.
This is not about apathy. The data is pointing to a bigger problem, namely that our supporters are not receiving notifications, not even when we send them a private message inside Patreon.
When someone becomes a patron, we send them a message using the Messages feature in Patreon. We welcome them to the family, ask some questions and grant them access to their first perks.
Here’s a response to one of these messages. This is from one of our generous $5 a month supporters. Note the times highlighted in the red boxes. (This is one of many such instances of this.)
This person did not see our message for ten months.
Should I have noticed they hadn’t replied? Yes, but we have over 150 patrons and I often assume that people are busy or aren’t interested in being listed on our website. So I just let it be.
But, it turns out this is not the case. They hadn’t seen any of our messages.
They had not seen our $5 bonus episodes. Nor had they seen the weekly bonus content we provided every Friday over these then months.
And according to the two months of data available via the beta Posts Dashboard, less than 1% of our supporters visited any of the bonus content pages we provided in the months of November and December.
0.76% of our supporters, to be exact, visited one of our posts to receive their perks.
For anyone not familiar, you can see this data by visiting your “Posts dashboard” in Patreon.
Some of numbers in the screenshot above don’t look all that bad. One post had hundreds of views, except this isn’t the whole picture. Click on the “Viewers” tab along the top of the data.
Now if you roll over the blue lines, as I’m doing in the screenshot above, you will be see how many of the views came from a Patron. This is where the numbers get really ugly fast.
And it gets worse if we remove the paid posts. This is how we get to the 0.76% number.
Now, I want to commend Patreon for starting to make this data available. Knowing about the problem means we can take steps to fix it. But it concerns me as I’m not sure how Patreon can fix this if everyone has opted out of email notifications. But I expect this is why Patreon is working so hard on the app.
What it means for us as creators is we need to stop communicating solely via Patreon, if at all. No one is seeing what we are posting.
And I don’t believe this data includes the people who have managed to connect their private RSS feed to their podcast player. But it’s still pretty concerning considering how much time we put into providing value to our Patreon supporters with weekly posts.
Luckily, we began investing in a mailing list some months back, as I had a suspicion that something was going on, but this has still left us scrambling for how best to notify people of their perks, as the data on what perks they receive resides primarily within Patreon at the moment.
More updates to come. I’d love to know how your data looks.
Update: the stats I am pulling do not include mobile traffic, according to Patreon.
Wow, this is pretty nuts. Thanks for sharing, Sean!!! Will be curious to see how you take this learning and transform it into change, and how those changes play out in terms of listener engagement.
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