Today, I wanted to take some time to share some stats on the growth of ManyStories.com during April, 2020. I don't know yet if I'll continue to share these stats monthly, but I will do so at least occasionally.
In this report, we will cover the following metrics: unique story impressions, unique story page views (redirects to the original story link), reading time, followers, social shares, and referral traffic from social shares. Throughout this report, keep in mind that ManyStories is still in beta with a waitlist for writers who want to share their stories with our community.
The goal of ManyStories is to help writers reach and engage their audience regardless of where they choose to publish their stories. If we achieve our goals, all writers on this platform will have an equal chance at reaching a larger audience and building a home base for their content and their readers.
Waitlist admissions and rejections
In April, we accepted 125 new writers into our community. Unfortunately, we had to reject 46 other writers from our waitlist in the interest of quality control. Writers who were rejected were often those with poor grammar, improper use of capitalization, and spammers -- think non-academic or opportunistic cryptocurrency pushers and technical development shops; cryptocurrency content is welcome, but not from spammers.
There were some large scale, popular company blogs that we decided to defer for now because we are not ready to service their needs; we will eventually welcome this group with open arms down the road when we've figured out how to make them fit well into the culture we're trying to build on this platform. At this moment, we're hyper focussed on servicing the need of independent digital writers.
We're increasing the number of writers we review from our waitlist each month. We've already welcomed 72 more writers in the first week of May.
These numbers don't represent the full volume of writers on our waitlist because we are choosing to review waitlist entrants slowly and on no particular schedule. This means there will continue to be a significant amount of surplus writers in our waitlist that we don't get around to reviewing each month. Because we're reviewing largely on a first come first served basic, we will get around to reviewing each entrant. Thanks for your patience. If you are approved, you'll receive a welcome email with instructions on how to proceed.
There were about 200 less stories shared in April than in March. Despite this, the rest of the metrics in this report demonstrate the continued growth of engagement on ManyStories.
Unique story impressions
April was a record breaking month for ManyStories across the board. It all starts with the number of unique impressions on stories:
As you can see in that graph, the number of unique impressions on stories across ManyStories and the rest of the Penname platform, where we cross-promote featured stories, grew by 25% from ~104K in March to ~130K in April. This is the top of our funnel. The growth in unique impressions we on stories directly and indirectly impacts the growth of the rest of our metrics.
Unique Story page views / redirects
One of statistical bottom lines is story page views / redirects. In April, the number of story page views, 16,775 grew by 53% over March, 10,953.
We started tracking the amount of time readers spend reading stories on ManyStories in March. The time spent actively reading stories grew by 53% from 40.25 hours in March to 61.7 hours in April. We don't include idle time on a page in this stat, which is a good thing.
More readers continued to follow more writers.
We experienced some spam activity, so ~710 of the follow relations in April were affected; they mostly created accounts in a ring to follow one another. We will eventually deal with such spam activities; at this time, it's not worth the effort.
Here's a look at the 99 top followed writers:
The top 99 writers in this category have at least 55 followers. The top 24 writers have at least 100 followers. The top five writers have at least 200 followers.
We didn't make the social sharing of stories a very prominent feature in the past. As of April, that has changed. We added a large "Share" button to the story page to encourage readers to share what they're reading:
That button has increased the number of social shares of stories by ~98% from 179 in March to 354 in April. The vast majority of social shares are to Twitter followed by Tumblr, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Reddit in that order.
Unique referral traffic from shared short links
From readers sharing the short links of stories on social networks and across the broader internet, we're able to track the amount of referral traffic coming directly from members of our community sharing stories with their network. We are able to see at a glance which stories are shared the most and which receive the most traffic from those shares.
After adding that new "Share" button to the story page, April experienced the third most referral traffic from social shares that we've seen since we started tracking this metric in August of 2018. The top two were June and July 2019 with 11k and 9k respectively. With 8,498 incoming story page views from social shares, April saw a 21% increase over March in this department.
We're just getting started. The stats that matter are moving in the right direction. Readers are getting more value from reading more stories from a diverse collection of writers, which continues to grow as we approve more writers from our waitlist.
We have many ideas on how to get to our next milestone of 25,000 monthly story page views, but we're all in this together. If you have any ideas you think would help us all reach a larger engaged audience, please share in the comments below.
Thanks for taking the time to read through this report.