The vast majority of us in the blogosphere have one view to what is happening on the interwebs. We see the traffic that comes to our blog and we see where it goes. The rest is pure speculation. When I see a large quantity of traffic come from The Free RPG Blog, I can only guess what the total readership of the site is.
Rob Lang was kind enough to peal back the curtain a bit and give me a view from the other side of his post that did a lot to promote the Kickstarter. At this point moving into the second tier of data so at first it may seem that this has less to do with the Kickstarter itself but there are a few lessons to glean here. I can’t say if this interaction is totally typical but it’s one more piece of the puzzle.
Blog Reviews Are Your Friend
Review blogs are really important to drawing in new eyeballs to a project. When most people hear about an RPG, they want to know if it’s any good before they download it and have to spend the time reading it themselves. Because of this reviews have a very wide appeal and therefore their blogs will have a wider general readership.
Rob said it was okay to share the data he forwarded to me. There’s a lot of it but I’m going to focus on some specific figures.
theartifact.net got 154 hits from The Free RPG Blog in the last month according to my data.
Rob’s post announcing the Kickstarter got 161 unique page views.
This means that 95% of the people that viewed Rob’s post took a look at the web page here. Rob’s a pretty good salesman. Actually, it is possible that some people clicked through more than once and it’s also likely that Rob tested out the links himself when he was writing the post so let’s say there was a 90% click through rate. If we imagine that this is typical of a positive review or endorsement then it looks very good for the reviewed game.
But that’s not the whole story. Rob gets more traffic a month than the 161 that looked at the endorsement. He has a lot of how to posts that people read. If I’m reading this right, The Free RPG Blog sees 6400 unique page views a month. The Artifact got a whopping 2.51% of those. Now that’s a really interesting metric to think about. I’ve heard of some reasonably large names in the RPG blogosphere saying that they get 1000+ page views a day. If somehow you were to get a good review, even on a blog that size, you might only get 750 page views for that month from that post. Obviously that’s nothing to sneeze at, I’d take it any day. The point is, it revises my earlier estimate of 10% of hits much lower.
I don’t think these numbers are unique to this particular Kickstarter and any lack of salesmanship on my part. I can say that because the data we looked at earlier said that 90% of the people that looked at the endorsement clicked through. The rest of the visitors were reading The Free RPG Blog simply for different reasons. This is really important for trying to gauge how much exposure is enough.
Rob also gave me his feedburner stats, which if I’m reading right paint an interesting picture. Rob has roughly a thousand subscribers to his RSS feed. The day that the endorsement post went up, 400 of the subscribers clicked on the post but only 96 viewed the web page post from the feed. That means that roughly 10% of the RSS readers saw the post and did something with it. Did the other 300 convert into views some other way, say by clicking on a link directly in their google feed? It doesn’t seem that way I got 23 page views from Google reader last month. There are a few other aggregator sites but they’re one or two hits apiece.
So the majority of the click throughs are from the site’s regular RSS feed but only 10% of the regular readers were interested. Sixty five of the other unique page views were from other sources. This is another way of gauging the impact that an endorsement will give. If we said that as a rule of thumb, a site might deliver 10% of it’s RSS feed plus another 60% of that number (96+65=161) we get a reasonable value of 16%. This isn’t 16% of the RSS feed that are viewing the page, it would be 10% of them viewing the page and 60% of that number from other sources. Anyway just remember 16% of RSS is the likely delivery rate of a blog.
Now it’s unlikely that a game looking for a review is going to be in a position to demand this kind of data from a reviewer. If there was some way of reliably gauging that in a potential reviewer it would be very handy but unfortunately that might take some guesswork.