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#699116 added June 15, 2010 at 12:14pm
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Item Statistics
Icon: Upgraded Membership (Small) Item Statistics break down a rateable item's overall rating and reveal a plethora of information about your individual readers and raters. By reading and understanding these stats, you can learn more about what your readers are telling you, even if they don't send a review.

Why does your item have so many more views than ratings? Are younger readers giving your item lower ratings than older readers? Are there more men reading the piece without rating it than women? Your item's extended statistics can answer these questions and more!

Item Statistics Example
We have opened the item statistics for "Writing.Com General Discussion so that you may see them in action . Any Writing.Com member can view the statistics for this message forum through the following link:

Normally, only the item's owner can see the item's statistics. This item has been specifically set up for site wide community example purposes. You might want to load the statistics page linked above before continuing further. This will allow you to follow along while reading through the rest of the information below.

If you are an Upgraded Member or above, you can also access Item Statistics for one of your own items by clicking the Statistics link from the Item Tools line in your private portfolio or Stats from the "Your Item" line found within the header of any of your items.

Statistics Overview
The Statistics Overview is the first section found on the Stats page. It provides general, overview information that is vital to understanding the item's readership.

Total Views For This Item: This is the total number of times the item has been viewed. This same number is displayed in your portfolio and at the top of your item.

Total Views This Month: This is the total number of views the item has received in the current month.

Total Views Today: This is the total number of views the item has received today.

Stats Since _date_: Everything else on this page (with the exception of the ratings breakdown) is reflected from this specified date. Periodically we change this date, as the data logged is extremely immense to store. Ratings are kept for as long as the giving member's account exists.

Total Writing.Com Member Views: Of the views this item has received since the specified date, this is the number of views from Writing.Com members only. This is an important number to remember when comparing the number of ratings an item has received to the number of views it has received. This number will increase every time a member views the item, whether once, twice, three times or more. Remember, only Writing.Com members can rate items.

Unique Writing.Com Members: This is the number of individual Writing.Com members who viewed the item and each member only counts for one view not several. For example, The StoryMistress , Joy and Jeff are three unique Writing.Com members. If The StoryMistress viewed your item four times, your Member Views stat number would increase by four while your Unique Members statistic would only show one for her.

Average Views Per Member: This is the average number of how many times each individual Writing.Com member has viewed this item. Short poetry (able to be read in one sitting) might average between 1 and 2 views, while a longer novel (read over a period of time) might average 9 to 10 views. Long static items, Books (especially blogs and daily journals) and Message Forums with a solid base of active members will average 10 or more. If an item has a lot of views with a low number of ratings, check to see what the Average Views Per Members has to say about 'why' - if the average is high, remember each member can only rate the item one time even though they may be viewing it daily! Also after rating an item, a Writing.Com member is brought back to the item again with the rating attached. This means that each time a member rates an item, it automatically counts as two views in your statistics!

Total Non-Member Views: This is the number of views generated by non-member guests since the date specified. Remember, these views could not have generated ratings since non-members can not rate items.

Statistics Details
Click the (Click For Statistic Details) link found in the Statistics Overview header. This page includes Daily Views For The Last 31 Days and Views By Hour. Both of these sections can be used to judge the effectiveness of an item's promotion.

The Daily Views and By Hour sections provide information that will show you how well your promotional tactics are really working. Start with one marketing method and stick to it for a week, then change it to another method for another week. Compare the results with the data in these detailed sections. Tweak your marketing methods over a period of time to accomplish the most efficient and highest rate of reader traffic to your items!

Item Rating Breakdown
Click [Back to Stat Summary] and return to the main statistics page again. From this page, the Item Rating Breakdown takes all of the ratings your item has received, breaks them into individual groups and displays the number of ratings in each group. Ratings are important because, unlike reviews, they display at a glance the overall picture of the readers' opinions. We take the rating data from 10 to 10,000 members and display it all on one page, in a coherent fashion. Doing that with reviews would be utterly impossible! Can you imagine trying to lay out even 100 of your received reviews to get an overall opinion?

Further, ratings provide valuable demographic information about a reader that does not accompany a review. This demographic information will only be provided in group form so that we may protect each individual member's privacy. The benefits and methods for using these statistics will be discussed below.

Rating Details
Click the (Click For Rating Details) link found in the "Item Rating Breakdown" header. This Rating Details page provides a wealth of information about the ratings your item has received.

Ratings Overview
This is the first section found on the Rating Details page. In this section, you can analyze the rating information to determine how readers are responding to any changes you are making or have made to your item. Depending on the fluctuation of your ratings, you can decide whether your item changes are well received or not.

Total Ratings: This is the same information as the Item Ratings Breakdown from the main statistics page. It is displayed horizontally, rather than vertically.

Ratings This Month: This is a breakdown of the ratings your item has received in the current month.

Ratings From Past 7 Days: This is a breakdown of the ratings your item has received in the past seven days.

Ratings Today: This is a breakdown of the ratings your item has received today.

The Profile With The Highest "5 Star" Percentage
This section is sometimes a little creative with its explanation, as the information it generates won't always make sense. It simply takes the group that gave your item "5 stars" most often from each demographic area and forms a sentence (often silly). Hopefully traits of your target group are found within this profile.

Ratings By Various Demographics
Writing.Com provides a total of six demographic categories: Age, Gender, Income, Education, Marital Status and What Best Describes You. By reviewing the statistics for each demographic (all available in this area), you can look for trends within your rating readership.

Are younger members rating your item lower than the adults? Are women rating your item higher than men? Are these the groups from which you expect to receive such ratings? Review this information to determine if you are successfully writing to your target group! If you received low ratings from members in groups you're not targeting, then most likely you don't need to worry about those ratings or that group.

If you received low ratings from numerous members in the groups you are targeting, you may need to rework your item to better target those readers in question. Once you know there is a problem, you can seek out specific advice in review forums within the community. Or, choose friends and associates who fit the group that you are targeting. Stress to them that you need their honest opinion to help you fix the problem you've found by analyzing your item statistics.

The Average Reader Fits This Profile
Click [Back to Stat Summary] and return to the main Item Statistics page. From this page, you'll find The Average Reader Fits This Profile. This section is also sometimes a little creative with its description, as the information it generates won't always make sense. It simply takes most readers from each demographic group and displays them together in one sentence.

This area quickly tells you whether or not your target groups are in the majority of your readership. If they are not, then you should consider rethinking the areas within the community that you promote your items. This data is collected from Writing.Com members only and does not reflect views prior to the specified date. So offsite and older item promotions are not included in this data.

Readers by Various Demographics
Once again, Writing.Com provides a total of 6 demographic categories: Age, Gender, Income, Education, Marital Status and What Best Describes You. By reviewing the statistics for each reader demographic (all available in this area), you can look for trends within your overall readership. You must understand, though, that not everyone will always like your writing or the particular type of item you've chosen. For these reasons, you might see a difference in the ratio of views to ratings of your item. If you do see a difference in this ratio, compare your reader statistics to your rating statistics to find out which demographic groups left your item without rating.

It helps to know for whom you are targeting. But if you're not sure of your target group, your demographic statistics will also help you figure out whom your writing naturally targets. This information is invaluable when seeking publication of any kind.

Top Referring URLs
A Referring URL is a web page that has linked to your item and where someone has clicked that link to visit your item. These URLs can be other pages within Writing.Com or they can be from other sites such as Google.Com, Yahoo.Com and more. The Top 10 Referring URLs section shows WHERE your readers are finding your item; it provides the web page that they clicked to get to your item.

Depending on the information provided in this section, you may find that you need to do more promotion for your item. For example, if you're only receiving visits from within Writing.Com, you may want to go to other sites to promote your Writing.Com item URLs. If you have few or no Referring URLs from Google or other search engines, you might want to be sure you have filled in the "Keywords" section of your items with good and relevant keywords so that search engines have a better chance at matching your item to search queries. For more information on how to do that for a Static Item, for example, please read "Create/Edit a Static Item. Remember: search engines such as Google and Yahoo! will only index items that are set to public access.

A Realistic Example With Analysis
Now that you've read and understand each section, let's use some of the data in a lifelike example.

Let's say you have an item with 100 views and 10 ratings. Before understanding the stats, you might have thought that for every 10 viewers, there is 1 rating. But you now know that you need to look deeper into your statistics for a more accurate assessment.

Looking at your extended statistics, you find that there were only 35 unique Writing.Com members to actually view your item. Only they could rate the item and each one could rate it only one time. This is 35 members to 10 ratings or 3 to 4 members for each rating received. Compared to the initial assessment of 10 members to 1 rating, this actual ratio is three times better and much more reasonable.

To figure out what groups are reading but not rating this item, you would now compare the demographics of readers vs. raters. An item written for women might disinterest some male readers and they, in turn, might not rate it. An item written for adults may not interest teenagers and, as such, they may leave without rating. This is the type of information you should be able to learn from your item statistics.

After comparing and analyzing your data, you can now decide whether you are on target with your readership. If not, try to figure out where the problem is within your item and find a solution. You can seek help from review forums, friends and fellow writers by asking specific questions that you've developed from your study. You could also ask people in your targeted demographic group to help you out and give advice.

Most Importantly
Above all, it's most important that you remember individual ratings are extremely subjective. Ratings are most powerful and useful when viewed in a group. Do not let individually low ratings discourage or bother you. Look for the patterns among them and make corrections, if you wish. But always remember that the item is yours and yours alone; you make the decisions!1

Recommended Reading

1  Written by Diane and The StoryMistress

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