A very small launch: analytics

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A full seven weeks has elapsed since I released Episode One of ON THE ICE, and I took a look at the website analytics collected by WordPress. I wanted to see if some cold, hard data could shed some light on what worked and what didn’t during my very small launch.

Episodes with highest number of total downloads:
1. Episode One (29, all formats)
2. Episode Two (21)
3. Episode Three (12)

This was probably the least surprising result. Episodes Four through Seven continued the predictable downward slope, with each episode getting fewer downloads than the one preceding it. That makes sense since Episode One has been available for seven weeks, Two for six weeks, and so on, while Episode Seven has only been available for one. Also, it would be pretty weird if there were, say, more downloads of Episode Six than for Episode Three.

Weeks with highest number of total downloads:
1. Week #3 10/19-10/25 (22, all formats, all episodes)
2. Week #7 11/16-11/22 (18)
3. Week #4 10/26-11/01 (12)

The numbers were not as orderly for total weekly downloads. I’m curious about why Week #3 and Week #7 were the best for episode downloads. I looked at total visits to my website on those weeks to see if there was a connection between higher volume traffic on the website and more downloads, but by that metric Week #1 would be first, Week #3 second, and Week #7 third, followed by Week #2. Nothing else jumped out as a possible explanation, so I’ll have to do more looking around to see if there were other factors that influenced the weekly download count.

File format downloads:
1. PDF (50, all episodes)
2. mobi (26)
3. epub (13)

I offered three file formats – mobi, epub, and PDF – partly because I thought picking one would be too limiting and partly to see what people would choose. After a highly informal straw poll of friends and family, I thought mobi would be the most often downloaded, but PDF showed me up. I’m going to bet the lower mobi number was due to some technical issues with getting the mobi file to load on a Kindle device versus downloading the file on multi-purpose tablet or phone with the Kindle app. I’ll need to ask around to find out if Kindle device users had problems.

The primary platforms for my limited promotional efforts were Twitter and Facebook. I made a single post on each platform with a catchy blurb and a link to the Books page on the day of the episode’s release. After Week #1, I thought I would be getting about equal referrals from both. That was not the case. Facebook referrals fell off beginning in Week #2, and Twitter consistently had two or three times as many referrals for the remainder of the releases. Final count over the seven weeks was Facebook with 28 referrals and Twitter with 69. A blowout.

The other bit of promotion I did was on my own blog. I mentioned and linked to the episode that was released in one of my posts for that week. I managed to do it for each episode except for Episode Six (I plead a super low emotional ebb that week). Unfortunately, I failed to record the number of downloads on each day to make a full comparison (daily data prior to Oct. 25 is unavailable through the WordPress analytics page). However, from the three days I can look at, there is no accompanying bump in the number of episode downloads on the days I made a blog post with a mention.

The results are preliminary and not as complete as I would like, but I did get a few things to think about in terms of what to offer and where to offer it for future projects.

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