Your Reach is More Than You Think

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I've been in the process of moving over to a new site analytics provider and when my previous couple of posts got way more traffic than I was expecting it was pretty interesting to compare the numbers between them.  I'm going to avoid naming them but you should be able to figure them out without much trouble.  Analytics provider "A" is a fairly typical one, gets blocked by most adblockers, and respects the do not track browser setting even though no personally identifiable info is being stored or tracked across sessions.  Analytics provider "B" is a lightweight alternative that doesn't get blocked by most adblockers and doesn't look at the DNT setting as far as I know.

After seeing around a 25% - 35% increase in traffic just from looking at a different analytics provider it got me thinking about all the other ways you might underestimate your reach!

Taking the analytics one step further I decided to look at the server logs and see how many more hits I was getting from the people who were able to block analytics B (or who have javascript disabled altogether).  Again I saw around a 30% increase in traffic, putting the total increase around 65% over the "naive" number!

These multiplicative effects are all over the place when you create content.  Comparing the number of upvotes the posts got on Hacker News to how many views they got is sitting around a 95x multiplier.  Comparing reputation on Stack Overflow to the number of people reached that can be found on users pages (across a wide spectrum of reputations) is around an 80x multiplier.  Comparing GitHub stars to NPM weekly downloads is a crazy 800+ multiplier.  I'd love to get more examples from other sites like social networks but they keep their viewership data under lock and key for the most part.  I bet they have some big multipliers too though.

Even past the single view or consumption of something you create, think of all the other ways you have more reach.  In audio and visual mediums there could be multiple people consuming from one hit.  How many times has it been shared in conversation?  Have you ever influenced a decision or someone else's creativity based on what you create?

The existence of the 1% rule also means that the competition for being an
R is so tiny compared to the potential audience you have when you create content and put yourself out there.

So to wrap it up, there's so many ways you have an impact beyond the likes, upvotes, pageviews, stars, and other things we like to focus on and I wholeheartedly encourage you to get out there and make the world a better place through your creations.


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