Vaping With Julia – Popularity Takes Time
Why A 5-Month Old Review Is Still #1
People that work in the vaping industrial complex™, including people that write or produce videos for vape gear and eliquid, have a very different take on things than people who know practically nothing about the vaping industrial complex™. Unfortunately, after a period of time, our thoughts and opinions on the subject of vaping become focused on what we like, not what new vapers want or need when just starting out. Everyone’s job becomes more difficult because of these perspectives, so today I would like to do write about new and popular reviews of said devices, and the, at times, huge difference between them.
One of the biggest priorities for everyone that works for Spinfuel® is to know exactly which of our reviews and opinion pieces are being read and by how many. These numbers tell us a lot about our readers, but even more about our own content. We may have more ‘raw’ numbers of visitors than nearly any other online publication, but are we reaching the most people we can? If we are not, then do we need to do to strengthen that? Do we a course-correct, or do we emphasis the types of articles that our current readers access? Do we do nothing? This is what plagues us on a daily basis. Knowing the numbers of the content being accessed also tells us if our original mission statement is on track. Do we alter the mission statement, or alter the content to move back toward the mission statement? Or, once again, do nothing?
The two most read articles for the past 5 months are dramatically different topics. The most often read piece is a review, the 5-month old Joyetech eVic-VT review. Close behind that review is a tutorial piece called “The Art of the Drip” (which still holds the title of the most read article in Spinfuel). I’m talking large numbers here, collectively in the tens of thousands.
The eVic-VT review is by far the most popular review in Spinfuel. I don’t mean in total numbers, although it is, I mean ‘daily’. Every day more visitors read the eVic-VT review than any other article, and we have more than 4800 articles now. Hundreds of people every day come here, either by searching for an eVic-VT review, or by popping in through some other search term or landing page, and make their way to the eVic-VT review.
It makes me wonder, ‘Are you surprised?’ I know I am, but are you, our readers? This morning the Spinfuel Daily Report, generated by Dave and sent to management every morning before 7AM, the eVic-VT was still the most accessed page, except of course for our homepage. It will be that way tomorrow, and the day after, and after that, until another piece of vape gear garners the attention of the vaping public.
The eVic-VT, not the newer eVic-VTC Mini, remains our most accessed review because the interest in this piece of vape gear is huge. But, the thing is, the eVic-VT is not that popular among people I know, and certainly not the most ‘sold’ item among the handful of vendors I speak to every day. So where is this coming from?
The Real Vaping Public
I might be completely wrong, but I believe that my opening paragraphs above pretty much nails the reason why the eVic-VT is read more often than any other review. We, as in the people that work in the industry, are no longer focused on the eVic-VT because there have been maybe 25 or more box mods that have come out since the initial eVic-VT. This nice piece of gear sits on our vape gear shelves along with a hundred others, but we’ve moved on. Today I am focused on the ProVari™ Radius, last week it was something else, the week before that, still another piece of gear. There is so much vape gear to talk about and write about that we can’t think about the eVic-VT anymore.
But the public can.
When the Joyetech eVic-VT was released it sold extremely well. Huge numbers of them moved off vendor shelves, helped by print reviews and video reviews. It is my opinion that the current owners of the device are still using them, talking about them to their friends and family, and people that are interested in vaping, or who are new to vaping, or vapers that do not define their lives around vaping, are looking to read up on the device as their next box mod, or their entry mod into the world of vaping. Whatever it is, we may not be thinking about the eVic-VT, but thousands of people are.
For those of you that care very little about how websites are indexed by Google and how search terms work to show results of the terms you input into Google, I will keep this very brief. But it is important.
There is a lot of competition on the internet for vaping publications and YouTube vaping videos. Staying the “most read online vaping publication” is a full-time job.
Using Keywords and ‘meta’ descriptions for each and every article published in Spinfuel, to attract good Google page ranking is a science and an art form. I won’t even begin to describe it because it’s not something I work on, it’s in somebody else’s job description and over my head. But I do know there are basically two approaches to use for our industry.
The website owner, whether it is a site like Spinfuel or a vendor (reseller), you can key off product names or general vaping terms when using a “focus keyword”, as well as a very difficult, carefully worded meta-description that weighs both product terms and general vaping terms and leans one way or the other, depending on the content of the article. I’m not entirely sure which approach we use, though I guess whichever one is being used is being used well. Or is it?
I include this bit about Google because it tells us that the search terms that lead this large number of people, daily, to the eVic-VT review are actually searching for that device more so than the newer devices we’ve already reviewed. Why? Because the way we have used keywords and meta descriptions have not changed in a long time. So, if people were searching for reviews for newer vape gear, the Kanger Subox, the WISMEC Presa, the Subox Nano, the eLeaf iStick TC40W or eLeaf iStick TC60W, as often as they are the eVic-VT the number of times these reviews are accessed would be higher than the older eVic-VT. Remember, I’m saying that each day more people read the eVic-VT review than any other review in Spinfuel.
Every product review we write is indexed and promoted exactly the same way, and exactly as often.
At the top and bottom of every article in Spinfuel, including reviews, we offer a string of icons for readers to share that article; on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, Pinterest, and Linkedin. These are vital to spreading the word about the review and if you are not using them I urge you to do so in order that more people can find that review.
We don’t work for the companies that make this stuff, nor do we earn a commission when someone buys one, so our reviews are always the truth (as seen through the reviewers experience with it), and I believe you won’t find more accurate reviews anywhere else, so you should share them.
The eVic-VT review was published on May 21, 2015, 5 months ago almost to the day. It has been tweeted 19 times, shared on Facebook 33 times, and shared on Google Plus 9 times.
Now, on May 29, 2015, 8 days after the eVic-VT review, we published a review for the Kanger Subox Mini. This review was shared on Facebook 68 times, Tweeted 16 times, 9 Google Plus shares, and 2 on Pinterest. This reviewed has ranked as the 3rd most read review in the past 6 months. That’s twice as many Facebook shares, similar number of tweets, and identical Google Plus shares. Yet… just yesterday, Friday October 16th, the eVic-VT review was read by 393 people and the Kanger Subox Mini review was read by 252 people. Why?
The Top 10 Reviews in September
- eVic-VT Mini
- Kanger Subox Mini
- iStick TC40W by eLeaf
- Joyetech eGo One Mega/Mini
- Innokin Cool Fire 4
- SMOK M80 Plus
- VUSE e-Cigarette
- Herakles Subohm Tank
- iStick TC60W
This list isn’t the top 10 “article” list, it doesn’t include eliquid reviews, videos, commentaries, or feature articles like The Art of the Drip.
The newest, or rather the most recent review on that list is for the eLeaf iStick TC60W review, published less than a month ago, on September 21, 2105, and it’s #10 on the daily numbers.
When A Review Hits Critical Mass
Forget total number of “views” for these top 10 reviews, of course the older reviews will have more total views than the newer ones. Well, most of the time, unless the vape gear reviewed is a bomb with the vape community. Think about “Daily” numbers. Our newest review on the list, the iStick TC60W is being read less often, every day, than the eVic-VT and eVic-VTC Mini. Every day! Since all reviews are promoted and indexed the same way, the only conclusion that can be reached is that the “real” vaping public is more interested in a device released some 5 months ago then it is with a device released barely a month ago. Why is that?
The Core And The Interested
There is a ‘core’ readership base of vapers in the vape community that read, and watch, all the new reviews put out by many sources. Whether they want to buy or are just interested in it, they will read a review or watch a video because they are interested. The general public, the vapers that don’t buy a lot of gear, that don’t visit websites dedicated to vapers every day, that are not even aware of the newer gear yet, are not yet interested. It’s not that they don’t care, its that they don’t care enough.
I have no doubt that the iStick TC60W will reach the #1 spot of daily-read reviews in a few months, unless something drastic happens that catches the attention of ‘every’ vaper from the vaping enthusiast to the general vaper. It just takes time to reach them.
Our latest review for a piece of vape gear was yesterday’s review for the Atom Vapes Revolver. It was the 16th most read ‘review’ of the day. The day before yesterday the vape gear reviewed was the SMOK TFV4 tank. It came in yesterday at #22, which is actually quite high for a subohm tank review that is just 2 days old. As the general vaping population becomes aware of these devices though shares, searches, or word of mouth, they will gain in popularity. However, having said that, there exists a method to artificially inflate the number of views of a new review, and that is to “key” them to general vaping terms. Using focus words like “Best e-Cig”, or “safe vaping”, or “best box mod” (you get the idea), these new reviews will appear higher in the Google search results than using focus keywords for the iStick T60W review like “eLeaf”, “iStick”, “iStick TC60W”, and “60W box mods”. In other words, a publisher can try to snag someone by appealing to the general vaping search terms, or direct someone who is actually interested in that specific device. Which method seems the most honorable to you? Does that even matter?
Most online vaping destinations, including forums for vapers, rely on a percentage of regular readers (core audience) and readers that come by way of Google/Bing searches. I won’t reveal the percentages for Spinfuel, but I will say that both are needed to remain successful. Every Spinfuel reader can help Spinfuel reach more people by sharing the articles through the icon’s of social media, while we, ourselves, use pinpoint keywords and descriptions to aid a general vaper in finding specific reviews.
We try to bring new gear reviews to our core readers as soon as we can, though we won’t provide an official review until we’ve used it for a while, even though we understand that it’s popularity, its true popularity, won’t be known for a couple of months, or until the general vaping population begins to search for it, with rare exceptions. Looking at the number of times the SMOK TFV4 tank review was accessed yesterday alone, I have no doubt that this tank has captured the imagination of many, many vapers, whether they plan to buy one or are just fascinated by its triple and quad coils.
So there you have it. A peek at how long it takes for vape gear to become successful, or bombs out. A look at how the general vaping population learns about new devices, and what they are really thinking about, and how the vaping enthusiast stays on top of all the new gear. It’s complicated, messy, and a lot of fun.
I hope you found this Vaping With Julia piece as interesting to read as it was for me to write it. Living in the vaping industrial complex™ is fascinating, but in order to know what the real world of vapers are actually interested in takes some digging. When I see how it works I know instantly that we, as writers, have to work at being attuned to the public. The vast majority of vapers do not run out and buy the newest vape gear, no matter how cool they think it may be…(though some certainly do) but it’s fun to read about them. At least that’s how I see it. What about you? What do you think about all this? Sound off in the comments, and I’ll reply to each and every one.