Morning Coffee Blog: Numbers

As a follow on from the last blog, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about where I should be focusing my efforts with O:P. Foremost as always is building for the shop. That’s my job, and the engine that drives everything else. But beyond that, I’ve taken a step back and looked over what, in the past 4 years since I’ve been doing this, has garnered the most response. For online creators there really is only one metric, and that’s the numbers. So what do the numbers say?

By a wide margin, simply posting photos on socials gets by far the biggest response. It makes sense, there’s very little effort required to click a “like” icon. Of these, Instagram is the leader by a long way.

Then the build streams are second on the list, hand-in-hand with puppet building instruction videos. Again, makes sense, people find something of value there that they can use.

After that, The Oracle show gets modest views relative to subscriber count, and this can be lumped in with the Short videos.

The podcast has hard capped and has had a downward trend for the past couple of months. I can estimate we have about 30-40 regular listeners at most, and that number is getting smaller. Growth stopped a couple of months ago.

At the very bottom of the list are the Frankie Play streams and this blog. The number of people who engage with those rarely rises into double digits.

The YouTube channel has (currently) 766 subscribers. Compare this with, say, Adam Kreutinger’s Puppet Nerd channel, which has 148 thousand. Or Ragmop and Goose which have 5.9 thousand despite their channel being a year younger than mine.

The only conclusion is the “content” is the problem. Adam of course is the venerable public face of puppet building online, and Ragmop and Goose do quick, punchy viral videos. This is what the internet wants. On the whole, it doesn’t want longer form, heavily produced work, i.e., most of what I do.

Don’t get me wrong, I always knew this was going to be the case. My style is outdated and doesn’t gel with today’s audiences. I don’t think it’s bad, by any means. I love what I do and strongly believe in it, and for me to try and pivot to doing what I think The Internet wants would feel false and like the “hello fellow kids” meme. Can’t do that.

As I move forward, it only makes sense to focus on those things that people actually want. I know there are folks who enjoy both, but the hard truth is they are work, and there isn’t much point in doing them if there’s no knock-on effect. I have a limited amount of time and energy, and I need to spend those things in places where it will have an impact.

As much as I hate to say it, the number has to go up.

I’m not making any big decisions or grand gestures yet. Still mulling things over and figuring out a good balance. But I am going to focus more on the things people clearly want. As an artist it can be a bitter pill to put something out into the world that doesn’t get the response you’d like, but I’d like to think I have the maturity to be realistic.

A professional knows that not everything will work. You can do your best and still fail. The ones who succeed are the ones who can adapt and be inventive, rather than trying the same things over again and expecting different results.

Numbers suck sometimes. You know what doesn’t suck?


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