The Buffer April Content Marketing Report: 729,832 Uniques, 22,291 Email Subscribers

April was a really exciting month for Buffer’s content marketing efforts. We tried some new things on both of our blogs, published a lot of content that seemed useful for people and—as always—had a lot of fun learning and experimenting. Let’s take a dive into the numbers! Marketing Report

Quick summary of the Buffer blog

In April we saw nice steady growth over March’s totals. (Full disclosure: Since April has only 30 days, I calculated the stats below from April 1 to May 1 to get a true 31-day comparison month-over-month.) We did see a big dip in conversions, which we’ll dig into a bit further down. Our biggest “hit” focused on Twitter’s new profiles and how to make the most of them. We don’t do a ton of “breaking news” style posts, so this experiment was great validation to keep going with them when we can.

April stats for the Buffer blog

  • 729,832 unique visitors (+1.7% from last month)
  • 962,389 total visits (+2.4% from last month)
  • 1,193,967 pageviews (+1.5% from last month)
  • 1,604 conversions (-17% from last month)
  • 22,291 total email subscribers (+10.1% list growth from last month
  • 20 total posts published (-1 from last month)

Below is our traffic graph from April. With the exception of one killer Tuesday on April 22, Mondays were our top day of the week. That coincides with an email experiment we’re trying on Mondays that sends one of our popular blog posts to customers who haven’t used Buffer in a while. April traffic graf

April’s 10 most popular Buffer blog posts

3 out of our overall Top 10 this month are new for April (down from 6 March originals, hmm). The posts that are new for April are marked with an asterisk. 

  1. The Ideal Length of Everything Online, According to Science
  2. 10 Simple Things You Can Do Today That Will Make You Happier, Backed By Science
  3. 17 Unique Places to Find Great Content to Share
  4. 8 Surprising New Instagram Statistics to Get the Most out of the Picture Social Network
  5. * 5 Tips to Optimize Your New Twitter Profile
  6. 8 Surprising Ways Music Benefits and Affects Our Brains
  7. * A Scientific Guide to Hashtags: How Many, Which Ones, and Where
  8. Why Facebook is Blue: The Science of Colors in Marketing
  9.  Twitter Tips for Beginners: Everything I Wish I Knew When I Started
  10. The Social Media Frequency Guide: How Often to Post

You can see how many views each of these top posts received by looking below at our Top Content page in Google Analytics. (The No. 2 result pictured here is the blog.bufferapp.com root domain, which means The Social Media Frequency Guide is technically No. 11 at 18,653 pageviews). Screen Shot 2014-05-01 at 1.59.28 PM

Top referral sources

Here is a look at the sources that brought the most blog traffic. The top three sources—Google search, Twitter, and direct traffic—account for a significant majority of visitors. Rolling together all the various sources of Facebook traffic puts it next at 61,131 total visits. Screen Shot 2014-05-01 at 2.05.20 PM

Quick summary of the Open blog

It’s been a blast ramping up our “other blog” this month. :) The Open blog began as a repository for Buffer’s transparency documents (like this report!) and now we have the privilege of broadening its reach with even more resources and viewpoints. This month alone we’ve looked inside Buffer’s customer service emails, engineering challenges, and hiring process. We also offered up some lifehacking fun and continued our quest to make Buffer ever more transparent by opening up our revenue dashboard. April stats for the Open blog

  • 43,209 unique visitors (+203% from last month)
  • 56,399 total visits (+188% from last month)
  • 79,929 pageviews (+157% from last month)
  • 23 total posts published (+14 from last month)
  • 906 email subscribers (+27% from last month)

Here’s our traffic graph from April: Screen Shot 2014-05-01 at 2.16.17 PM

April’s top five Open blog posts

Screen Shot 2014-05-01 at 2.17.45 PM

Media syndication stats

  • 21 total posts republished: (-5 from March)
  • Sources: The Next Web, Fast Company, Huffington Post, Inc., Business Insider, Social Media Today, Ragan

 

Top 5 media traffic sources for April:

1. Fast Company: 9,984 visits 2. Inc.: 6,909 visits 3. Lifehacker: 3,622 visits 4. The Next Web: 3233 visits 5. Huffington Post: 2,571 visits

Social stats

Followers

  • Twitter: 204,000 (+5% change from last month)
  • Facebook: 24,206 (+6%)
  • Google+: 103,822 (+33%)
  • LinkedIn: 2,470 (+15%)

Interactions per post

  • Twitter: 188 (-13% change from last month)
  • Facebook: 112 (+72%)
  • Google+: 60 (-30%)
  • LinkedIn: 11 (-50%)

Clicks per post

Note: This is a new metric for us this month! Looking forward to having comparison data next month!

  • Twitter: 130 clicks/post
  • Facebook: 93 clicks/post
  • Google+: 38 clicks/post
  • LinkedIn: 5 clicks/post


Thoughts and outlook

More conversations

One of the most fun things we’ve done this month is engage in many more social media conversations by asking questions like “If you could have any author write for you on your blog, who would you pick?” on Facebook and “What’s one personality trait you believe helps with success in social media?” on Twitter. As we add those posts into our Buffer, it may begin to mean fewer slots for “link share” posts that can drive traffic. We definitely don’t want to give up these great conversations, so it may be time to up our frequency a smidge to even things out. We’re also talking more with customers by hosting webinars—we co-hosted one with Twitter for Small Business in April on The Science of Creating Must-Click Content on Twitter and we have another one coming up today on The 8 Most Useful Buffer Features for a Powerful Social Media Presence! As we work closely with our first Community Champion, we’ll be trying even more new things to have more and better conversations with our awesome customers.

Lower conversions: Why?

We had a 17% decline in blog conversions on the Buffer blog this month, from 1,935 in March to 1,604 in April. Here are my two top theories as to why: • Removing the “Buffer ad” along the sidebar We replaced one of two “calls to action” on the blog with an ad for our Twitter webinar for about half the month. Although the call to action underneath each blog post remained, the sidebar “ad” was removed from April 17-April 30. Could this be the culprit? • Splitting with the Open blog If we combine the 1,604 conversions on the social media blog with the 288 conversions on the Open blog, we get 1892, which seems like a more reasonable change of -2% from March. Could it be that this month we began to split more traffic—and thus, conversions—between the two blogs? I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on this one.

Giving both blogs more identity

In April we also began the first steps of redesigning both the Buffer blog and the Open blog. Our guiding principles are to instill more of Buffer’s sense of fun, happiness and customer focus into the Buffer social media blog, while making sure the Buffer Open blog remains a place that radiates transparency first and foremost even as we add different content topics there. Stay tuned for more design changes soon! What other marketing insights would you find helpful for me to share here? Are there any questions about our blogs, our team, or our social media marketing that we can answer? Share them in the comments, I’m psyched to keep the conversation going.

  • http://natashawalks.com Natasha Walker

    I’d love to see a series of posts where Buffer team members give us a “day (or week!) in the life”! The post about Buffer Bootcamp was an awesome insight into what the onboarding process is like, and it would be great to see something similar where we could learn more about things like the challenges that one of the Engineers faces on a daily basis, or how a Happiness Hero gets themselves set up in the morning. It’s always so eye-opening and fun to get a peek at how you (Buffer team) do what you do so well!

    • Courtney Seiter

      Hi Natasha! That’s an awesome idea; I love it! We’re doing a tiny version of that on our Instagram account, http://instagram.com/buffer, where you can follow along with the #weekinthelife hashtag to learn more about each of us, one at a time. I think bringing it to the blog would be an amazing step further, too!

  • Agnes Dadura

    Wow, you guys are doing a lot, and a good lot.

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  • http://www.upliftroi.com/ Andrew Hunt

    This is an amazing & extremely refreshing post. I *love* when companies publish real data like this to provide everyone else a benchmark

    I would love to see a follow up post showing where you get most of your conversions from. That conversion rate seems awfully low – are you saying that out of 800,000 unique visitors only 1600 signed up, or that only 1600 trialed?

    Thanks for posting this!

  • http://keepkalm.com/ Kyle Alm

    I’m intrigued by your top urls. They all contain stop words.

    • Courtney Seiter

      I have to plead ignorance here, Kyle–could you elaborate? :)

      • http://keepkalm.com/ Kyle Alm

        Generic words essentially: and, the, of. The lengthen urls for indexing and (in theory) dilute the keyword relevance

        For example: /the-ideal-length-of-everything-online –> /ideal-length-everything-online
        /music-and-the-brain –> /music-brain

        It’s a bit inconclusive, but there is a good argument for leaving them in too. Primarily readability for human users.

        http://stackoverflow.com/questions/9734970/better-seo-to-remove-stop-words-from-an-articles-url-slug

        This is a top SERP for “stop words in urls” with a stop word rich url. Looks like they don’t really matter.

        • Courtney Seiter

          Oh wow, that’s so interesting! Thanks for taking the time to explain that, and I love your meta example. :)

  • http://SeanMMadden.com/ Sean M. Madden

    Great post, Courtney. I can’t possibly express what an incredible day-to-day inspiration Buffer is, with all it does so beautifully, and transparently.

    I have a question for you as well: I’ve read about how you guys A/B test your blog post titles, but would like to know whether, when you do decide to change to a particular title, you likewise change or keep the original URL?

    • http://blog.bufferapp.com Kevan

      Hi Sean! Hope you don’t mind my popping in here for Courtney. :) I think I might have a quick answer for you!

      Often, our URLs contain semantic keywords and not necessarily the words in the original headline. When we change the headline, we often don’t need to take the extra step to change the URL! (In other cases, I think we generally leave things as-is so as not mess with any SEO tracking and reports.)

      • http://CreativeThunder.co Sean M. Madden

        Thanks, Kevan. I really appreciate your above response to my inquiry. Very helpful.

  • http://www.thetolkienist.com/ Marcel Aubron-Bülles

    Seeing the stats on the “all-time favourites” really makes me reconsider on how to “republish” your own content, that is, how you can show people who haven’t seen all of your work (yet) what you have to offer …

    Thanks for the write-up, useful and interesting as ever!

    I should possibly write up a blog post about how using Buffer makes me a happier person every day :)

    • http://blog.bufferapp.com Kevan

      Great observation, Marcel! You’ve hit on a really interesting topic/debate. We did a roundup of ways to repurpose content here: http://blog.bufferapp.com/repurposing-content-guide

      Maybe one of those ideas might spark something for you? :)

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