Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half.Being able to identify and highlight what makes the difference when you're trying to do anything really pays off long term.
One of the very famous management 'laws' is the Pareto Principle - otherwise known as the 80/20 rule. This relates to the notion that most things in life are not distributed evenly.
Knowing what really makes a differenceThe Pareto Principle suggest that 20% of the online galleries will sell 80% of the art - but is that true. Take a look at the statistics below and note the differences in site traffic. I'd ask you to note that this blog actually gets more visitors than some of the sites listed!
The balance between inputs and outputs is rarely proportional. If you want to maximise revenue, it pays to look at the 20% of what you produce that brings in 80% of the revenue.(The Pareto principle).
Statistical analysis of the traffic generated by websites providing online galleries
The following statistics are from compete.com.
- The Unique Visitors metric only counts a person once no matter how many times they visit a site in a given month. Unique Visitors are typically used to determine how popular a site is. (Note: The number of visitors to this blog are also measured as unique visitors)
- The Compete Rank is based on Unique Visitors and does not consider page views or number of visits made to the site. Rank is often used as a compliment to Unique Visitors to provide a relative metric that shows the significance of a site
The main message to take away from these statistics is the relative share of traffic that each site generates and how that is changing over the course of the past year. Numbers may be wrong but it's more likely that the general size and shape of the traffic chart is about right - in relative terms.
The main caveat to the statistics and comments shown below is that there is no way of knowing whether or not they are accurate. I do think it's a pity that such websites don't publicise their stats as per any of the more reliable sites such as Google Analytics, Quantcast or Compete.com. (Note: If any website wants to dispute the numbers please leave a link to your published traffic stats.)
There could be a major discrepancy in any of the websites' statistics. That's based on the fact that this blog's statistics on compete.com are far from real (but this could be due to this blog being a subdomain of blogspot.com).
Insofar as this can be meaningful, I'll provide you with a benchmark for the the statistics you'll see below. This blog has had well in excess of 20,000 unique visitors a month in each of the last three months.
Bear in mind also that the number of visitors at any one time are spread across all the different artists with galleries or pages or stores on the website in question. So the number seeing an individual artist or artisan will be very much lower than the traffic level quoted.
The analysis of sites below are split between:
- generalist sites - where art if just one category which generates visits
- sites dedicated to art (and crafts)
Traffic is respectable and continues on an upward trajectory from 284k in Februarty 2009 to 691k in January 2010. However this is a generalist site like eBay and only a small proportion of this will relate to art and the pages of individual artists
35% of traffic arrives via Google and 13% comes from Facebook. 65% of those leaving the site go to ebay
Note that the scale is in MILLIONS of visitors. Bear in mind that the number of visitors at any one time are spread across all the different parts of eBay and the number looking at art by individual artists will be much lower than this
eBay used to be known as an auction site but it's increasingly now known as an online store site. Traffic, apart from the Christmas hike, is essentially static.
Below is the chart for the art category on eBay. Note how the numbers of unique visitors are much lower than those visiting Etsy.
DEDICATED ART AND CRAFTS SITES
It's unclear whether the issue is recording of traffic or an absoluite decline in traffic. Either way monthly traffic is low and less than the traffic that this blog gets. 40% of the traffic arrives via Google and 40% of it returns to Google - suggesting that it might be stay a few seconds.
Compete.com has no data for this site. This generally only happens when traffic is very low.
Monthly traffic is less than this blog and has reduced from 18.7k to 13.8k
27% of visitors come from Google; 10% come from Empty Easel. Google is the destination of 37% leaving the site.
[Update: Boundless Gallery notified member artists by post in February of its intention to close in March 2010]
The traffic profile looks good - but look at the numbers.
22% arrive from Facebook and only 5% come from Google - suggesting that the marketing of this site directly or indirectly has not optimised for Google. Compete indicates that it doesn't even rank in Google. 38% leave for Google and 10% go back to Facebook.
Traffic has reduced by a third in the last 12 months.
46%comes from Google and over 12% from other websites suggesting that this website is recognised by the main seach engines in the main browser queries for sites like this.
22% leave to go to Googlewhile 11 next visit blogs.
Note that the scale is in MILLIONS of visitors. Note the steady and significant rise in the number of visitors. At a time when eBay traffic has remained static, Etsy has increased from 3.8 million to 5.5 million - and these are ALL people who are interested in arts and crafts.
Interestingly 22% of visitors come from Facebook, 11% from Google and 5% from Blogs. So if you've got an Etsy Store, have got a blog but don't yet have a presence on Facebook you might want to rethink this!
3% of visitors leave to go to paypal (sale!) 23% go back to Facebook and 12% go to Google.
Traffic is more or less static and while bigger than some it's not significant overall. 16% arrive from Google and 12% from Facebook. Similar figures return to the same destinations.
Two sites get most of the traffic - eBay and etsy. It would be very interesting to know how much of the eBay traffic is actually art oriented.
When the numbers visiting the art category on eBay are extracted, it's very clear that ETSY is in reality the premier site for having an art store. The numbers are way, way beyond those of any other gallery website selling art online - including eBay.com! It's also the only website where paypal featured as one of the top five destinations of people leaving the site!
I'd hazard a guess that most artists might hope to achieve better traffic via their own blog or a Facebook fan page when you take a look at the site traffic for ALL the artists on a gallery website.
If you want more information about any of these websites please consult my resource sites
- Online Art Galleries and Stores - Resources for Artists which has similar charts which update automatically. If you bookmark this site on your blog or website then you can check up on how the different online galleries are doing with one click.
- Selling Art Online - A Compendium - this provides a home for links to all my 'resources for artists' websites which relate to selling art online
- What's the MAIN way you sell your art? - The Results
- Selling art - online art websites, tracking marketing data and a new survey for artists!
- Selling art online - 10 benefits of a recession