Hey, and welcome back to episode 6 of The Numbers Game! We’re finally up-to-date on the back-story, now doing regular weekly updates in our story segment. This week we’re chatting about our new podcast idea.

For our data this week we’ll be looking at another of our KPIs: email optin stats. Then, our lesson segment is all about combining our skills to be unique, and remembering to aim high!

We’re also starting up a new experiment based around the question – do popups make your audience less engaged (translation: do they piss people off?!). And finally, your homework. We’ll be asking you to take a look at your stats on Google Analytics and trying out a few different ways to improve them. Enjoy!

Story | New Podcast idea, Emailing NASA & Creating a Treatment

We’re onto our weekly format for the story section of the show, picking out any key things that have happened in the last seven days.

And what better to be working on than a new podcast? The idea – exploring both space and areas on earth where humans aren’t really welcome, like inside volcanoes or under the polar ice caps. Our plan is to take the listener on a tour of these places, as well as having interviews with people with expert knowledge.

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This has came about because of a goal we have for this year. It’s a biggie. Create a show with 10,000 listeners within 12 months.

In the last week, Matthew has been in touch with different contacts for interviews on the podcast – experts with a lot more info than we have, or that we can find on Wikipedia!

Half jokingly, he decided to get in touch with NASA (not expecting to hear anything back) but had a response the next day asking to see a treatment (a pitch) for the show.

Planning is something that people always miss, but taking the time to go away and prepare a treatment was a beneficial process. It must have helped because the officials from NASA decided to take part in the podcast!

As for the format, the unique angle being used here is a combination of teaching and audio drama – taking semi scripted elements and also bringing in interviewees to fill in the gaps.

There’s a lot of great informative documentaries out there, but we’re working in audio – let’s use our skills to try make the listener feel like they’re actually there.

We’ll update you in the next few months about how that’s getting on!

Data | Swapping to Bloom: Less Options, but More Subscribers

It’s time for another stats update.

Every week we’re checking in on our Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that tell us how the business is doing. This week, it’s the turn of email.

We talked in the last show about potentially changing away from SumoMe because of the different issues we were having, and we found an optin plugin called Bloom. We took a risk and swapped to Bloom, and while the options are perhaps more limited, the number of optins we’re seeing have been massively increased.

In one day alone we received 33 optins, with the average every day since swapping to Bloom being 16 optins.

To give you an idea of the increase, in the few months before we swapped to Bloom we were on an average of 9 or 10 optins per day. So, that’s taken us up from 10 to 16, more than a 50% increase. That’s huge!

With that, we’re now up to 3740 subscribers.

In terms of the engagement we’re seeing with subscribers, our podcast pointers newsletter is doing pretty well. In March it received a 31% open rate and a click rate of 3.2% (171 clicks in total). That’s been climbing steadily over the last few months. On average with every email we get around 15 un-subscribers.

So that’s it for our email optin stats for March 2017. Overall we’re pretty pleased with how things are going – with an increase in subscriptions and engagement.

Lessons | Don’t be Afraid to Aim Big & Be Unique by Combining Skills

The first main lesson to take away from this week’s story is simple – aim big.

If you’re starting a new interview show then people often make the point to not start with your heroes first, because the likelihood is your skills just aren’t good enough yet. Practice first. But, our NASA success showed us that sometimes the biggest fish are the quickest to respond, and the easiest to get. They’re organised, they’re willing and they know the benefits of getting involved! So, if you know you’re prepared, give it a go.

If you’re confident in your abilities in recording the interview, then aim big. You just might get that top interviewee.

The second lesson is all about combining your skills.

We could create a really good factual documentary podcast. We could also create a really good audio drama based on this.

Instead, we’ve combined these two very different skills to create something unique.

Experiment | Popup Engagement: Measuring Page Clicks, Time & Bounce Rates

We’re onto a new experiment this week, after finishing up the email optin work last time around.

This week, we wanted to test the real effect of popups on our site.

The plan is to run the normal popups for the next two weeks, appearing at a certain time and keeping pretty regular. Then, for the next two weeks, we’ll run with no popups at all on the site.

We’ll compare those two-week intervals and measure using Google Analytics to test whether popups affect how people engage with our site. The hypothesis is that if you add popups to your site then people are less engaged because they get annoyed and leave, but is that the case?

The way we’re going to measure this is by looking at new users activity in a number of different ways:

Firstly, we’ll look at the number of pages each user clicks on per session. Our current average for this is 1.44 pages.

Then, we’ll look at the time spent on the website per session. The average for this is 1.41 minutes.

We’ll also be looking at bounce rate, which is sitting at around 75% on our site.

Our rates are actually quite low compared to industry standards because a lot of our income is affiliate income – users read our articles and disappear to buy what they’ve been reading about. But, we also have a lot of long form and series based content, so we do aim to raise all of these stats.

There aren’t a lot of averages out there for people to aim for, but one view is that you should be aiming for around two pages per session, 2-3 minutes per session and a 50% bounce rate.

Finally we’ll be looking at page depth, which is how many people fall into certain ‘number of pages per visit’ buckets. Currently 80% of our viewers only look at one page on the site, 11% look at two pages and the final 9% look at more than two pages.

We’ll report back on that once we finish the experiment and hopefully give other people (and ourselves) and idea about whether or not popups are a positive tool to use!

Actions |  Finding your Stats & Improving Reader Engagement

It’s that time again – homework!

Related to the experiment that we’re starting up this week, we want you to start delving a bit more into Google Analytics to help improve your site.

So, first of all, find out your stats: your bounce rate, pages per session and time per session.

Now, do one thing today to improve your stats. For example:

  • Find your most popular post (through analytics > behaviour > site content > all pages) and add around three internal links to it. Just think of 3 other articles on your site that could be related and mention them within the content.
  • Put at least one of these links in the last paragraph, and give a really good reason why it’ll be useful as a follow-up.

Want some extra credit? Try improve your top three popular posts. It’s easier than you think, and it might just help boost those stats!

What do you think?

We love to hear from you – let us know what bits you like or what bits you don’t like, or even just some general feedback! We’d also love to hear any questions you have so that we can include them in future episodes.

Get in touch via the contact page or tweet us @thepodcasthost. Or, if you’re feeling keen, drop us a review on iTunes/Apple Podcasts by searching for The Numbers Game – it really helps to get us get the show out to more people.

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