A Look Back on 2018 for NOTS (and me)

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Here at Nerd on the Street, we save most of our retrospection for the summertime, when we celebrate the anniversary of our company. However, for those who are interested, I wanted to take a look back at some of our statistics from 2018.

YouTube Analytics

First and foremost, we have our YouTube analytics. Google collects these for us whether we want them to or not.

Tech channel:
  • Views: 538,270
  • Likes: 5,152
  • Dislikes: 567
  • Comments: 1,129
  • Subscribers gained: 2,413
  • Total subscribers: 8,051
This was undoubtedly a good year for the tech channel. Our top three videos this year were: All three of these videos were created in 2018. The rest of the Top 10 list were videos created before 2018 started. Our stats are definitely still relying on our large spread of older content, but I'm glad I was able to make a few home-run videos throughout the year.

Creative & gaming channels:

Our creative channel didn't do very well, which was to be expected, since we didn't premiere Displaced: Season 3 and we posted very little other content. We gained 13 subscribers, and our top two videos were "Episode 1 - Displaced" and the "Where is Displaced?" video talking about Season 3's progress.

The gaming channel fared better (but just barely), with 21 subscribers gained and about 5,000 views total. Most of those views came from our old "How to Win Blackjack (Martingale Technique)" video, although #5 on the list was Part 2 of our Extra Life 2018 archive (more on that in a bit.)

NOTS Analytics

For the NOTS website, we use Matomo (formerly known as Piwik) for self-hosted analytics. Matomo is theoretically more accurate than the built-in statistics of our CMS (Composr), although it's prone to lose some data from people using ad blockers or JavaScript blockers, or who have cookies disabled. Even though it's less accurate than Google Analytics, we still prefer Matomo because it respects the privacy and freedom of our fans.

Here's what Matomo logged for nerdonthestreet.com in 2018:
  • 6,842 unique visitors
  • 17,850 pageviews
  • 145 downloads (e.g. podcasts or hotlinked files we provide)
  • 548 outlink clicks (e.g. the links to FLOSS projects we provide in our video descriptions)
It's important to understand that these statistics are lower than the real numbers. As a great example of this, Piwik says we had exactly 2 searches throughout all of 2018, while the search function on our website is one that I use regularly myself. Composr's built-in statistics regularly report several thousand hits per week, breaking 100,000 hits per month in some cases throughout the year. These numbers are probably inflated due to Composr not knowing how to filter out bots and handle other things Matomo is built for, but they also include visitors who may have been using ad blockers or other privacy-related plugins. The true numbers are probably somewhere in between what Matomo and Composr report.

One interesting thing Matomo tells me is that our website was visited more during Extra Life 2018 than any other time. We had 594 pageviews on Saturday, November 3rd and 206 pageviews on Sunday, November 4th. I love seeing people use our website, and this is how I know Extra Life is a great opportunity for growing NOTS in addition to the charity aspect.

Extra Life Numbers

While we're on the subject, I'd like to take a moment to talk about Extra Life this year. (For readers unaware, it's a charity telethon we put on for the St. Louis Children's Hospital.) In addition to the pageview numbers above, we can also see how many people we're reaching through Extra Life thanks to YOURLS, the software that runs our nots.co link shortening service. Most of the time, we can't control how viewers access our videos or website, because we post our content in many different places. However, for Extra Life, we specifically drive live.nots.co as the chatroom location and, in particular, extralife.nots.co as the donation location. It's expected that everyone who donates to our Extra Life page gets there through nots.co, because we're buried deep on the Extra Life website and the extra-life.org participant URL they provide us is much harder to remember.

YOURLS reports that extralife.nots.co was visited 172 times on November 3rd and 56 times on November 4th. That's a big increase from the 44+16 hits from 2017, 29+36 hits from 2016, and the measly 18+15 hits in 2015 during our first Extra Life stream. Statistics for live.nots.co are similar: we had 140+70 hits during November 3rd and 4th of 2018, compared to 77+103 in 2017, 36+79 in 2016, and 45+13 in 2015. It seems like our livestream link had a slightly smaller increase this year compared to the Extra Life link, suggesting some of our prospective donators this year were either watching somewhere other than our website or weren't watching the stream at all (or, conversely, that 2017 was a year with lots of viewers who had no intention to donate.)

During the telethon, we received $1,660 total in donations for the St. Louis Children's Hospital, spread across 36 donations. The largest donation we received was only $100, which is great, because it means that smaller donations made the difference this year. The average donation size was $46.11, and we were ranked at 735/48102 on Extra Life's global leaderboards for the year. Our total was 704% higher than the average Extra Life participant.

To date, we've raised $3,384 total throughout our 4 years of doing Extra Life, with 67 donations received. I've already got us registered for Extra Life 2019, so we'll definitely be participating again this year.

2018 for Me

This is the part of the blog post where I'm speaking as Jacob Kauffmann. This year wasn't a bad one for me, but it wasn't great either. In short, I could summarize the year as "stagnant." I continued going to school at the same place I already was. I continued working the job I already had. Glaringly, I continued working on Displaced: Season 3, which went into full production in November 2017 and has not yet aired a single episode.

Despite the standstills, there were a few things that happened this year that I can't ignore. Thanks in part to my boredom/loneliness, I went digging through the Mikecast Experience's archives and discovered Katawa Shoujo, an amazing visual novel that I ended up putting a lot of time and thought into. In addition to introducing me to a new video game genre, that also opened up the door for me to speak with a number of people online over voice chat (one result of this was a few new episodes of the NOTS Podcast; another result has yet to be announced.) I traveled to New York City for the first time, where I learned a little bit about the world and a little bit about myself. I had a nice week's semi-vacation while housesitting for some relatives here in St. Louis, and a weekend trip to Austin, TX for RTX with my dad; around that time, I said goodbye to Rooster Teeth and hello to Mega64 with my viewership and fandom. I made an effort to get out and be social a little more, part of which included the Meetup app and the St. Louis YouTubers group I attempted to create. 2018 was not an uneventful year, although I'm still left with the feeling that I'm standing in the same place as I started.

On a more formal note, I did graduate from college with a 4.0 GPA, and was hired onto my first full-time job later the same day. (I'll be starting that job about a week from now. One thing that's certain is that I'll be keeping the job for a while. What's uncertain is how it will affect NOTS and the other parts of my daily life.) Other events this year included getting a 4K display from BenQ to review, building my AMD desktop (which has caused trouble at times, but is still a capable machine), and getting 6 new Nerd Club members.

Speaking of the Nerd Club, I made it a personal goal of mine to get 12 new members in 2018. I was thrilled with the 6 consecutive months of new members, but the energy just didn't last through the second half of the year; once again, we stagnated. I do want to say a huge thank-you to all of the Nerd Club members who are currently supporting me, as well as the ones who joined for a while and then stopped. Every dollar counts, at NOTS as much as anywhere else. Going forward, I'm being careful not to push too hard on the Patreon campaigning in videos, but I'm also trying to give it a mention at least once in every video, which might be helpful down the line considering how many of my views come from years-old content.

Conclusion

Whether you've stuck through the entire post with me or you just skimmed through the numbers, thanks for checking out my little look back here. There will be much more talk about the past and future at the annual livestream this summer, especially because I'll know how my day job is working out by that point. To everyone who's watching, sharing, chatting, and supporting, thanks for being here. I'll see you in 2019.

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