The First 60 Days of Building Wandering Aimfully, By The Numbers
It's important to look at analytics and learn from them, but equally important to avoid getting caught up in the vanity of metrics.
This post is as much about peeling back the curtain as it is to drop a virtual pin on our Wandering Aimfully build roadmap. Transparency and honesty are two of our core values, so we're excited to share how things have gone from a data perspective since we started this journey just over 60 days ago.
We're going to share metrics from what we believe are the most important sources of data for our business:
- Website traffic
- YouTube analytics
- Instagram stats (our only real form of social media)
- Revenue numbers
One of the main reasons we decided to share our journey of creating and launching Wandering Aimfully was to show you that everyone starts from zero.
We also want to show you that it's okay to have slow growth when you're starting a new project, even if you're experienced and have built other businesses.
Without further ado, let's jump into the numbers...
First up: Traffic to this under construction website
The total number of actual human beings that have visited this Wandering Aimfully under construction site is 5,248 (average of 87 people per day). To us, having 5,000+ unique individuals check out what we're building is pretty rad!
I'm always interested in the "Content" data, because it tells me which pages on our site are the most popular (and later on down the road, which ones are gaining in popularity).
It's no surprise to us that our homepage and our "What the heck is this" post are the top two visited. But, it was surprising that our Logo Process post was the third most visited. It seems people really like reading about branding and the logo creation process.
Where oh where do all the people come from? This little screenshot answers that question based on pageviews (while we have only had 5,000+ people visit our site, those people have visited multiple pages).
Less than 20% of our total traffic has come from sites linking to us or people finding us via search, while around 13% of our traffic has come from people sharing this site on social media*. The remaining 77% of traffic is direct, which can mostly be attributed to links in our emails (or links in other people's emails).
*We're including a view of our social media traffic because it's always interesting to see how this breaks down.
I was a bit surprised that the majority of our social media traffic was from Twitter, but clicking one step in further (not pictured) I saw that it's almost all from me sharing links to Wandering Aimfully to my existing followers.
We've spent zero time posting on Facebook or Pinterest, so it's fun to see some folks are sharing stuff for us on those sites.
OVERALL THOUGHTS ON TRAFFIC
If you were thinking to yourself, I wonder if Jason and Caroline are happy or not happy with this amount of traffic? Our answer would be: We're ambivalent. 😋
As long as we're getting SOME traffic and the folks we're attracting seem to be genuinely interested in what we're doing here, that's all that matters to us. Sure, we'd probably feel differently if we had only 500 visitors in 60 days as opposed to 5,000, but I can tell you with 100% truth that I am not upset that we didn't have 50,000 visitors.
What will be really interesting is to look at our traffic data once we move our existing sites over and point all traffic to Wandering Aimfully. That's when things will start to get fun!
PS - We use GoSquared for the traffic charts and data. We are allergic to Google Analytics.
Next: Let's look at our YouTube subscribers, views, watch time, and demographics
If you haven't heard, I had a Google Chrome extension created that blocked my ability to see subscriber count and video views (check it out here), so this data is absolutely new to me. 😅
We've amassed a whopping 337 subscribers since we kicked off the Wandering Aimfully YouTube channel two months ago. That breaks down to 5-ish new subscribers per day. Sure, we aren't on pace to catch Casey Neistat* any time soon, but we know better than to get caught up in trying to grow numbers like this.
My first YouTube channel for my previous business (IWearYourShirt) is still up and active. While I never chased getting more subscribers for that channel (because believe it or not the subscriber metric wasn't a big deal in 2009-2013 on YouTube) I do remember chasing views on videos. That was a never-ending mental battle, and one I refuse to get caught up in with our Wandering Aimfully channel. Hey, look at me learning from my mistakes!
Also, we've only lost 15 subscribers, so that's neat.
*It would only take 5,227 years for us to catch up to Casey Neistat's current amount of subscribers if we stayed at 5 new subscribers per day. (Which we don't care at all to do, it's just fun to do that math.)
We've uploaded 19 videos to our channel (as of writing this post) and those videos have been viewed 6,000+ times. That's an average of 330 views per video, which is honestly a fantastic start. We know this number will grow, as will subscribers, once we start pushing our the weekly YouTube segments we have planned in the coming months.
But again, we aren't focused on growth or worrying about how many views/subscribers we have. I plan on leaving my no subs/views Chrome extension on forever.
This is actually a completely new metric for me. Back when I was filming daily YouTube videos from 2009-2013, "watch time" wasn't really a thing. It's cool to know that people have watched our faces for over 940 hours already. COOL!
I'm excited that we have this screenshot, because it will be so fun to compare this one to the same one in 3 months, 6 months, and 1 year from now. Will we be able to keep up the amazing ratio of Likes to Dislikes?? Something tells me we will not. 😆
It's about 20 Likes per video, but even better than that (in my mind) is the average of 5 comments per video. One of our huge goals with Wandering Aimfully is to build a movement that folks can get behind and feel a part of. To me, YouTube comments will be one of the clear indicators if we're accomplishing that goal or not (as long as they're the right YouTube comments, obviously).
This was a fun one to discover! Our YouTube channel skews toward female viewership (I credit Caroline's great hair and lip color) and 42% of our audience is from outside the U.S. Don't get us wrong, we love our American viewers, but we also really appreciate that our message and vibe can resonate with people around the world!
OVERALL THOUGHTS ON YOUTUBE
YouTube is going to be an interesting beast for us. There's no doubt we'll be spending the majority of our creative time on the content we'll be putting on our YouTube channel (or at least I will, with how many hours it takes to edit videos). Right now, YouTube is somewhat an afterthought, but I'm hoping we can keep our expectations low and our standards high even when YouTube is one of our main priorities.
I'm excited to have these benchmark data points to look back on in a few months, especially once we get our monthly memberships up and selling. I could see YouTube being one of our biggest lead generators for paying memberships if we play our cards right.
Instagram is our most important social platform, since we aren't creating Facebook or Twitter accounts
Yeah yeah, this little summary isn't the sexiest of charts, but it does the job!
I know, for a fact, when I started my personal Instagram account a few years ago I was not seeing an average of 44 likes per post in the first two months. Heck, it took a couple years for that to happen.
All credit on Instagram goes to Caroline. She's been living, eating, and breathing Instagram for the past few years and it definitely shows. The Wandering Aimfully IG account has been (and will be) her creative-baby and focus. It'll be interesting to see how it evolves over time.
An interesting way to see the likes per day laid out. I think when we have more posts, this could be a great graph to look at to find our peak posting times, for our audience, as well as the types of content that seem to get the most interaction.
Or we may never look at this type of thing again and just focus on what we can control: Creating consistent authentic content. 🤷🏻♂️
I tossed this in because it was fun to find out which 3 posts where the most popular. I wasn't surprised by the first two posts being our most popular, but I was really surprised by the wireframes being so popular. A lot of times images like that on IG don't get many interactions and that one did really well.
I wanted the juxtaposition against our Top 3 posts, so we're sharing our worst 3.
No surprise at all that it was the clever 3-card image that Caroline whipped up for the very beginning of our IG posts.
OVERALL THOUGHTS ON INSTAGRAM
Because we aren't going to use Facebook or Twitter for Wandering Aimfully, Instagram will be the sole place we pour our social attention (and by we, I mean Caroline). We both love and use IG daily, so we want to be spending time and creative resources on a platform that we like.
We've had a few conversations about the ROI of using social media at all, but I've come around to agreeing with Caroline that Instagram is a great way to deepen the connection with our audience. Unless something crazy happens, we expect a nice slow, steady growth of followers. We're totally down for that and not worried at all about hitting any major follower milestones.
And the metric that all of these things should be helping increase: Revenue!
Now we're getting into the GOOOOD stuff! Not to say that money is the most important thing, but it is the life-blood that allows us to do everything we want with Wandering Aimfully (like: film videos on YouTube, create posts on IG, etc).
A big thank you to Josh over at Baremetrics for hooking us up with an account to play around with. We will be sharing a public revenue dashboard for Wandering Aimfully in a few weeks. As you've heard us talk about a few times (hopefully), we want to continue to share our journey to our "enough" number of 300 active paying members.
And as a reminder, we've only done our pre-order launch up until this point. We'll be opening the doors once a month when we've officially launched, looking to add 30 members (only) per month.
We sold 15 pre-order spots and you can see what that monthly recurring revenue (MRR) actually looks like after fees. The Net Revenue is our total revenue, since one of our pre-order customers purchased an Annual Plan.
Our average revenue per user (ARPU) should stay fairly consistent over the life of Wandering Aimfully. That is, unless we raise the price of the monthly membership. For now, I doubt we'll see ARPU change much at all.
Annual run rate is kind of cool because that shows us how much money we can expect to make from our current paying members in the next 12 months (if we didn't get a single additional member and no one canceled).
Sorry for the crappy naming convention here. The first plan, with 10 active customers, is members who've paid using a credit card. The second plan, with 4 active customers, is members who've paid via PayPal. And then we have our (awesome) single Annual member (Hi Martha! 👋).
We're still on the fence about keeping PayPal as an option to pay. There are some less-than-wonderful manual steps we have to take when folks sign up and pay using PayPal (plus, the conversation of what happens if PayPal payments fail - failed credit card payments are WAY easier to deal with). We're having a meeting on this soon.
Now, here's another thing that's REALLY fun! Baremetrics lets you do some cool revenue forecasting. I didn't touch any of the settings on the following MRR forecast; it's entirely based on our pre-order buyer numbers:
If we continue to get 15 new paying members per month, and 5% of existing members cancel, we can expect to grow from $1,483 MRR to $14,434 MRR in 12 months.
Annnnd, I thought it would be fun to change the forecasted MRR to our actual goal (30 new members per month). I also increased the churn to 7%, just to see how it affected things.
With these variables, we'd get to $25,538 MMR in 12 months. While my hope is that our growth will be this linear, we have no idea if it's realistic or not. Only time will tell.
I think the one thing we have going for us with our Wandering Aimfully revenue goals is that we're capping the amount of members that can join each month (30) AND the total number of members we want to have actively paying us (300).
OVERALL THOUGHTS ON REVENUE METRICS
As fun as it is to play around with the forecasting and whatnot, we really won't know what our revenue will look like until we start doing our monthly open and closed launches.
Nonetheless, it's great to have these baseline metrics and to have a tool like Baremetrics that can quickly and easily display this data for us. We'll be sharing our revenue journey publicly in the coming weeks, so if that's interesting to you (along with everything we're doing to meet our revenue goals), keep an eye out for that!
Listen, metrics are an interesting beast. It takes a delicate balance to use metrics as a tool to work toward your business goals without getting caught up in the chase. For us that means paying just enough attention to make sure we're putting our creative energy into places where we're seeing a return in engagement or revenue, and ignoring them just enough so that we don't get obsessed with seeing those numbers grow for no other reason than it feels good. Our relationship with stats may change over time, but rest assured we'll keep you updated on which numbers are helping us on this journey to a profitable new business!