Ahh, the Patreon dashboard; your one-stop shop for all analytics related to your page, posts and general performance on Patreon. Our data science team is constantly cranking away to bring you the best insights into how you’re doing on Patreon, but what does it all mean, really? And how do you use this behemoth amount of data to track how well you’re performing and find out where you could improve?
I’m here to break down some of the intimidation you might have from all this data and help get you started with setting data-backed goals that will bring you more patrons, higher engagement and increased earnings.
Not yet on Patreon? With Patreon, you can earn recurring revenue from your biggest fans.
Before you begin to track any performance metrics, you’re going to want to lay out what exactly it all means to you. Are you trying to bring a ton of new patrons to your page? If so, why? Are you hoping to increase your earnings? By how much? If you’re not familiar with SMART goals, welcome to the best framework for setting yourself up for achieving your goals.
SMART is a fun little acronym that will get you big results by ensuring you’re hitting each of the corresponding letters’ adjectives. What are those, you ask?
Let’s break those down as they might relate to your Patreon page:
Start by asking yourself what it is you want to accomplish. Why is it important that you accomplish this? Is anyone else involved in this goal? Make sure that you are drilling into the core here and simplifying your goal as you shed each layer.
Ex: I want to get more patrons so that I feel encouraged to create and share more of my work, and bring in enough revenue on Patreon to quit my day job.
Now that you’ve laid out a general idea of what you want to accomplish, it’s time to put some numbers to it so that you can easily track how close you are to hitting it.
Ex: I want to get 10 new patrons each month so that I feel encouraged to create and share 1 new post a week that gets at least 5 likes,**and bring in $10,000 in patronage so that I can quit my day job.
This is when you get to give yourself a serious reality check. Is your goal something that you could realistically hit? Are you aiming too high? Maybe it’s even too achievable and you could raise the bar a little? You should find a nice balance that will still challenge you to work hard but not so hard that you go crazy trying to hit it.
Here, you’ll want to ask yourself if this goal makes sense as something that you can achieve and aligns with any higher-level goals you’ve set for yourself. For example, if you’ve set a goal to quit your job, you probably aren’t trying to get a promotion at the same time. Make sure that your goals work with each other–not in competition.
How long will it be until you know that you’ve reached your goal? Unless you set specific time constraints for your goal, you will likely never hit it. Given your current trajectory, consider how long it might take for you to get where you’re aiming for. Give yourself enough wiggle room that chances of you reaching your goal are high but not so much that you end up slacking off and underperforming.
Ex: I want to get 10 new patrons each month so that I feel encouraged to create and share 1 new post a week that gets at least five likes,**and bring in $2,000 each month for at least 5 months so that I can quit my day job.
Alright–now that you know exactly what you want to achieve with Patreon, it’s time to choose some metrics that will give you the data you need to know whether or not you’re on the right track.
While it can be fun to keep a pulse on all of the data the Patreon dashboard offers, you’ll want to make sure that you are looking at the correct metrics when you’re tracking your goals.
If we go back to the earlier example of a creator who wants to get ten new patrons each month, post something new with five likes each week and bring in $2,0000/month for at least six months, here is how we’d use the Patreon dashboard to find out how we’re doing.
Goal: Ten new patrons each monthWhere to track: Pledges > Patronage and Pledge growth
The patronage section of your dashboard will break down how many paying patrons you have each month and how many dollars were processed from them in total. You’ll also be able to see how many new patrons you have each month and how much more you earned from their pledges to you.
One thing you’ll want to note is that even if you are gaining new patrons each month, it doesn’t always mean that you are making more money than you were in previous months. This is because some of your existing patrons may be deleting or decreasing their pledges to you.
From the pledge growth section in your dashboard, you’ll be able to see real-time state changes for any pledges from your patrons. This includes pledge increases, decreases, new pledges and deleted pledges.
If you take a look at the example above, you’ll see that even though this creator had 11 new patrons in the month of July, 7 existing patrons churned out. This means that the actual total of new patrons is 4.
Goal: 1 new post each week with at least 5 likesWhere to track: Posts > Overview
We recently launched a new section of the dashboard specifically around post performance. Here, you can view the engagement, views, and traffic sources of all of your posts.
Going back to your goal of publishing 1 new post each week with at least five likes, you’ll find everything you need in the recent posts section. The engagement section will show you how many views, likes, and comments your most recent posts received. You can also hop on over to the sources section to find a list of where viewers of those posts are coming from. This information is invaluable as it will tell you exactly where potential patrons are finding your work!
Goal: $2,000 each month for at least 6 monthsWhere to track: Pledges > Earnings
Your Earnings section is the holy grail of all of the data you’ll find in your dashboard. It’s where you’ll get to see exactly how much money we’re processing from your patrons each month, fee deductions and how much you’ll get to take home.
This section is broken down by month so that you can easily track whether or not you’re close to reaching that goal of $2K over six months.
Pro tip: See a dip in earnings for a specific period of time? Hop on over to the Patrons section of your dashboard and you’ll see a section called patron exit surveys. Scroll down to the dates in which you saw the dip and you may find out exactly why you lost some patrons.
Did you just break $1,000 in monthly payments on Patreon? Or post your 100th update? Maybe you just got your 50th patron? Everything you accomplish on Patreon is reason enough to celebrate, and what better way than by sharing the news with your patrons? Heck, you might even get some new patrons because of it.
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