What’s our impact? (August 2014)

You may have noticed a change in our blog in recent months: we’ve added a number of editorial, how-to, and opinion posts, in addition to “behind the scenes” Impactstory updates.

Posts on our blogs and commentary on Twitter serve two purposes for us.  First, they promote our nonprofit goals of education and awareness.  Second, they serve as “content marketing,” a great way to get awareness of Impactstory to a broader audience.

We’ve been tracking the efficacy of this new strategy for a while now, and thought we’d begin to share the numbers with you in the spirit of making Impactstory more transparent. After all, if you’re an Impactstory fan, you’re likely interested in metrics of all stripes.

Here are our numbers for August 2014.

Organic site traffic stats

  • Unique visitors to impactstory.org 3,429
  • New users 378
  • Conversion rate 11.3% (% of visitors who signed up for an Impactstory.org account)

Blog stats

  • Unique visitors 4,381
  • Pageviews 6,431
  • Clickthrough rate (% of people who visited impactstory.org from the blog) 1.6%
  • Conversion rate (% of impactstory.org visitors to blog who went on to sign up for an Impactstory.org account) 9.8%
  • Percent of new user signups 1.8%

Overall: Our blog traffic has been steadily increasing from May onward: from 3896 pageviews to 6431 pageviews per month. And the number of unique visitors to our blog has increased, too: from 2,311 a month to 4,381 per month. We published four blog posts in August, two of which could be considered “content marketing”: an interview with Impactstory Advisor, Megan O’Donnell, and our monthly Open Science and Altmetrics Roundup.

What about clickthrough and conversion rates? On the one hand, it’d be helpful to compare these rates against industry norms; on the other hand, which “industry norms” would those be? Startup norms? Non-profit norms? Academic norms? In the end, I’ve decided it’s best to just use these numbers as a benchmark and forget about comparisons.

Twitter stats

  • New followers 215
  • Increase in followers over previous month 5.11%
  • Mentions 346 (We’re tracking this to answer the question, “How engaged are our followers?”)
  • Tweet reach 3,543,827 (We’re tracking this–the number of people who potentially saw a tweet mentioning Impactstory or our blog–to understand our brand awareness)
  • Referrals to impactstory.org: 271 users
  • Signups: 32

Overall: Our Twitter follower growth rate actually went down from May, from around ~8% new followers to ~5%. I did not (and have not yet) crossed the 5,000 follower threshold: a milestone that I intended to hit around August 20th. That said, engagement was up from the previous month by ~23%, a change that reflects conscious effort.

What does it all mean?

Our August numbers were no doubt affected by our subscription announcements and the new Impactstory features. I’m interested to see how these statistics change through September, which has seen an end to the “early adopter” 30 day free trial, and the debut of all the features we deployed during the 5 Meter sprint.

Our blog receives more unique visitors than our website, at this point, so increasing the number of blog-referred signups is a priority.

We could also stand to improve our conversion rates from organic website traffic, too. Our rates are lower than average when compared to other non-profits, publishing-related organizations, and IT.

Looking ahead

Given our findings from this month’s stats, here are our goals for September (already half-over, I know) and October:

  • Website: Jason and Heather will be working in the coming months to improve conversion rates by introducing new features that drive signups and subscriptions.
  • Blog: Increase unique visitors and the conversion rate for new signups–the former to continue to build brand awareness by publishing blogposts that resonate with scientists, and the latter the latter for obvious reasons. 🙂 One tactic could be to begin offering at least 1 content marketing post per week–a challenging task.
  • Twitter: Increase our growth rate for Twitter followers, pass the 5,000 follower mark, and continue to engage with our audience in ways that provide value–whether by sharing Open Science and altmetrics news and research, answering a question they have about Impactstory, or connecting them with other scientists and resources.
  • In general: Listen to (and act upon) feedback we get via social media. Continue to create useful blog content that meets the needs of practicing scientists, and to scour the web for the most interesting and relevant Open Science and Altmetrics news and research to share with our audience.


Are there statistics you’re curious about, or do you have questions about our new approach to marketing? I’m happy to answer them in the comments below. Cheers!

Updated Dec. 31 2014 to reflect more accurate calculation for conversion rates from blog traffic.

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