This post is a few weeks overdue; actually nearly a month but better late than never as they say! We just surpassed our 4th birthday here at The Players’ Aid. The past year has been one of growth on multiple fronts, both on the blog and on the YouTube Channel, and we couldn’t be happier with how things are going, so Thank You!
Before we start talking about anything, we both wanted to thank everyone that has been with us on this long and interesting ride. As you know, we started the blog in 2016. In fact, our first post was on April 17, 2016 and was a very short AAR on our very first attempt at playing Empire of the Sun from GMT Games. From those meager beginnings, we have posted lots and I think have improved the quality of our content. Your readership and viewing has helped keep us inspired and motivated to put out consistent content. Its been a lot of work, and does take up quite a bit of our free time, but we do enjoy it and have no plans to slow the train down. We also have been very lucky in the support that we have received from various publishers, websites (such as grognard.com) and designers as they have worked to keep us going as well. From sharing our posts on Twitter, to posting our videos and reviews on the game pages on their websites, a good portion of our views come from these sources and we appreciate that. Another source that has supported us by posting our stuff has been Consimworld. What a resource for all of us wargamers and we thank them for their support.
We also want to thank the myriad of designers who have taken time out of their busy schedules to answer our long and sometimes deep questions about their designs in our interviews. Our Designer Interviews series has been a huge success and is a big part of our weekly posts generally starting each week off with a new post. I work hard to try and stay up on the newest games and give our readers an inside look at the mechanics, design process and game play on these in design games. As I looked back on our past content, we have published nearly 200 of these interviews, which frankly is amazing. I have very rarely been told no by someone when I contact them on email to discuss their game and have been able to build quite a number of what I would call friendships with several of these designers. I will not name specific individuals, as I don’t want to inadvertently leave someone out, but thank you to you all! You are simply the best!
By the Numbers
Onto the numbers. Statistics are a good indicator of how we are doing and I personally pay a lot of attention to our daily, weekly and monthly numbers. Actually, I might say that I am addicted to looking at them and check several times (which means about 10 times) per day.
Since the blog started in April 2016, we have been viewed over 2.2 million times, which frankly blows my mind. These views have come from an astounding 657,001 visitors. This means that each visitor that comes onto the blog averages 3.47 views. It is a good thing that when people do come on they spend some time viewing our current content and sometimes even dive back through our older stuff. We have really been blown away by the response that we have seen in our blog and know that it boils down to our initial goal in doing this was to give back to the gaming community by writing interesting content.
You will also notice that we have done 1,349 posts over the four year period that our blog has existed. Remember though that 2016 only included 9 months of content while 2020 only takes into account the first four months of the year. If you look at the individual years numbers though you will see that we posted a lot in 2016, 2017 and 2018 and have curbed that number of posts over the past few years. Early on, there were three of us still writing for the blog (remember Tim) and over the past few years it has just been Alexander and I. One of the reasons that our statistics have continued to rise over the past two years though is that we have gotten back to more regular content with at least 5 posts per week, sometimes as many as 7. We also have built quite a library of content and we still come up often in internet searches which brings a lot of visitors to our site.
The following graphic shows our Monthly Views since 2016 and tells a really interesting story. As you can see, our monthly views have steadily increased over the years, growing from a Monthly Average Views of just 16,153 in 2016 to over 69,325 in 2020. Now we know that this growth in 2020 is most likely attributed to the Coronavirus and quarantine but we think that those that are finding us now during the quarantine will hopefully stay with us. In fact, we have broken our high Monthly Views record each month in 2020 with the exception of April being just a tad bit lower than March. We are off to a strong start in May and in fact broke our Weekly Views record over the week of April 27th-May 3rd with a total of 20,527 views.
A few years ago when we posted these stats there was a request for a map of viewers and viewership based on location. The WordPress (powered by JetPack) statistics are pretty good so here’s a heat map of where the views come from. Obviously the US is where the majority of views come from (just over half our total lifetime views) with the UK and Canada bringing up the second and third spots respectively. We are an English language written blog so that’s to be expected. But we have a good representation of views from other countries including France, Germany, Spain, Australia, Italy, Sweden, Greece and Poland amongst many others. I am always surprised when we get a comment or interaction with fans from other countries and when I look at this graphic I realize that we are a global blog with lots of fans in lots of countries and that makes me very happy.
Social Media/Other Platforms
One of our most important marketing efforts is our focus on various Social Media platforms with the most used platform being Twitter followed by Facebook. We share our posts from the blog on Twitter and Facebook daily and have expanded into sharing in around 6 Facebook groups including Wargamers, Solitaire Wargames, Official GMT Games Group (when our posts focus on one of GMT’s games), The Jacobin Wargamer, Wargames are for everybody! and finally THE BOARDGAME GROUP. I always worry about our near daily posts and upsetting the groups with our frequency of posting but I do spend time trying to respond to comments and questions on our posts, share my gaming pictures and read others posts and comment on them as well.
As you can see from the table to the left, I missed noting our stats for these Social Media platforms in 2019 but we have had a lot of growth in our Social Media reach with Twitter increasing each year by around 1,000+ followers and our Blog Subscribers doubling over the past 2 years. Our biggest area of growth though has been on our YouTube Channel as we now have over 7,700 subscribers. We gain about 100 per month so we should surpass 8,000 subscribers by around August.
On to our YouTube Channel. As you can see in the graphic below, we have had 1,255,904 views of our videos on YouTube. Those total views have added up to 146,000 hours of watching, which is amazing to me. Most of our videos are around 30-40 minutes so this means a lot of watching for a fair bit of time. Wargamers are a bit more committed than other gaming groups so watching through an entire video is not that weird for Grognards. My guess is we will reach 10,000 subscribers in late 2021 so please subscribe to our channel if you haven’t already.
Patreon is a new platform where you can donate monthly, or as a one time gig that helps us to keep going. We started our Patreon page about two years ago and the added revenue has allowed us to upgrade our video and audio equipment and has also allowed us to attend a few more gaming conventions than we normally could. We have also purchased our TPA banner that you see in our videos and take that with us to conventions as well so you can find us. Our next investment is going to be in a lighting rig for our videos and a few of the pricier games we cannot get review copies of. We’re a little hesitant about Patreon, it feels really weird asking for donations, but so far the donations have helped to renew our domain name and WordPress account, so thanks already. Just to be clear, we started and have done most of this of our own volition, so there’s no risk of us going away or having to shut up shop because of lack of money. We just wanted a way that’s a bit more official for you to become a part of what we do and we can more easily manage a few perks for those that do donate!
Speaking of a few of the perks of being a TPA Patron, we have created a Slack Channel that you will gain entry to where you can discuss wargames with other Patrons and where we interact as well. We answer your questions and get to hear the thoughts of a lot of different people. This has been a very interesting experiment and I am glad that we have offered it. You can also get a custom 6-sided die with our logo embossed in the 6 space if you join as a Patron at the $20 level. Take a look at the dice below.
One final thing. We now have a deal with TeeSpring who sells our t-shirts for a fairly reasonable price as well as a few other pieces of swag. We are proud of our logo (it was designed by Alexander with my input) and feel it conveys a lot about who we are and what we stand for. Here is a link to that page: https://teespring.com/stores/the-players-aid
So thank you again for all of our readers, subscribers and contributors. We couldn’t do what we do if it wasn’t for your vocal support and feedback. We still really love what we do and other than over the past 6 weeks or so have consistently gotten together weekly for a 4-6 hour gaming session. I cannot wait for the quarantine to be over so we can get back to playing as we have a lot of great games that we would like to explore and share with you.
Please let us know what you would like to see from our blog and YouTube Channel and also tell us what you enjoy about our content. Thanks and here is to hopefully another successful 2020.