At the end of each year, I run a fairly comprehensive set of analytics to see how people get to Learn Tabletop RPGs, what they do when they’re visiting, and what they are purchasing via affiliate links to DriveThru RPG and Amazon. The 2015 analytics reveal some interesting information that is helping me plan for 2016 updates.
Traffic is Up
LTRPG went live in January of 2013, and by the end of the year just under 10,000 people had visited the site 14,000 times and generated over 36,000 page views. As I continued to restructure the site and add content in 2014, traffic increased to 57,000 visitors generating 78,000 visits and 173,000 page views. The trend held true in 2015, with 103,000 visitors showing up 142,000 times and producing 451,000 page views. Visitors also spent more time on the site per visit, which is another positive indicator.
Search and Ye Shall Find
Google organic search has long been the biggest referrer, and in 2015 it accounted for 63% of all visits. I haven’t devoted more than a sliver of attention to marketing on Facebook and Twitter, and it shows – Facebook accounted for 6% of visits, and less than 1% came via Twitter. I’ve put slightly more effort into Google+, but it brought in less than 1% of all visits. Tabletop RPG Bulletin, my regularly-updated tumblr, also drove less than 1% of all visits. The good folks at the RPG subreddit accounted for 3.5% of all visits.
Show Me the Games
People come to this site to learn how to play tabletop RPGs. But a lot more come here to check out the 52 Games that comprise the Games to Play pages. In fact, the games pages collectively account for 3/4 of all page views. This isn’t anything new, as the games pages dominated traffic in 2014 as well.
Big Games and Little Games
Of the games pages, D&D isn’t the biggest draw – not by a long shot. Coverage of D&D 5 is so pervasive it’s even penetrated the mainstream media, so there are plenty of other places to go to get info about the game. The Eclipse Phase page is the most visted, which is understandable. It contains far more information than the other game pages – including a campaign writeup, custom character sheets, and story seeds for EP gamemasters.
Give Me A Microscope
Interestingly, there isn’t much correlation between game page visits and affiliate sales. What people look at and what they buy are not tightly coupled. Twenty game pages garnered more traffic than the Dungeons & Dragons page, but the 5th edition boxed set, core books, and other goodies generated more affiliate sales at Amazon than any other game, save one.
Taken as a whole, FFG’s Star Wars games generated the most sales, accounting for 11% of the Amazon total. This isn’t too much of a surprise, given the steady tempo of releases from FFG, the increasing interest in Star Wars as The Force Awakens approached, and the fact that my actual play review of Edge of the Empire generated even more page views than the Star Wars game page.
Get past these unsurprising successes, however, and there are some marvellous underdog victories. Microscope, the game in which players collaborate to create the history of a shared world, was a hit in both print (Amazon) and PDF (DriveThru RPG) versions. Hero Kids, the introductory fantasy game designed for parents who want to introduce their kids to RPGs, dominated the DriveThru RPG report. Other indie games also did well – Dread and Flatpack: Fix the Future accounted for more DriveThru RPG purchases than the core books for Numenera and Shadowrun.
The strong showing by indie games leads me to believe veteran gamers are using the site as a source for games that are off the beaten path. As for Hero Kids – as a parent I can testify that there’s real demand for a product that will help adult gamers introduce their children to the hobby.
Amazon and DriveThru RPG
DriveThru RPG and Amazon generated almost exactly equal affiliate revenue. Amazon affiliate income is generated across the site by all purchases initiated via affiliate link entry, so some of that Amazon revenue derives from the sales of Asus laptops and polyisoprene condoms (hey, better safe than sorry). This means DriveThru RPG actually accounted for more sales of RPG products than Amazon.
I have more ideas for the site than time to implement them, but plans are afoot and I expect to roll out more improvements this year. Thanks for visiting Learn Tabletop RPGs, and may 2016 be a splendid year for you and yours!