My Patreon Year in Review: The Facts You Didn't Know

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In case I didn't make this clear enough, Patreon is a game changer. It has quite literally changed the way I look at content distribution and community. It's an incredible platform that enables creators like myself to continue doing what they do, without having to worry about whether next month's advertising revenue is going to pan out. Unlike advertising revenue, funds generated via crowdfunding are reliable and trustworthy — and that's huge.

Last year's performance of my Patreon campaign was simply awe-inspiring. The beginning of 2016 brought in around $2,200 in processed pledges, with the end of the year generating nearly $3,500. While my campaign didn't see a month-to-month increase consecutively, I am quite pleased to say that 2016 ended up being my best year yet.

Screenshot of my processed pledges since the beginning.

Screenshot of my processed pledges since the beginning.

While I have some big plans going into 2017, I want to take a few moments and reflect on a few interesting facts in regards to how my Patreon campaign performed last year. The following are some highlights that are not normally available to the public. However, being the transparent person that I am, I'm happy to share these with my audience.

Going into these facts, please let it be known that I am not doing this to boast about my brand in any way. I take a lot of pride in transparency, as I strongly believe my community deserves to know the details — especially the lesser known. And c'mon, who doesn't enjoy fun facts?

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Exclusive content sells.

It doesn't get any more obvious than this, but it's still worth mentioning that exclusivity sells. Big time. Once a week I make it a priority of mine to publish an exclusive vlog, one that is viewable by patrons only. And these aren't your typical vlogs that run 7–10 minutes. These are the real deal. My average exclusive vlog is over an hour long, which I think holds a lot of value.

Sharing content with patrons ahead of public release also seems to work quite well. A great example is my annual Christmas video series with the family. Don't believe me? Just look at the bar graph above. The spikes in pledge amounts for December in 2015 and 2016 were no coincidence. Provide the chance to get something early and there's guaranteed to be interest.

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Growth is important.

If your audience is growing, that means you're doing something right. My Patreon campaign saw an increase in nearly 500 new patrons throughout 2016. That's huge. And I bet it would've been more if I never gave daily vlogging a chance. It's not that I regret daily vlogging. It just took up a lot of my time, which gave me less flexibility for Patreon — hence taking away the patrons-only vlogs for four weeks.

Either way you look at it, growth is a good thing. I am going to make it a goal of mine to bring in at least 500 new patrons in the next 12 month. This is especially true with my plans that I would like to put into effect at some point. Hopefully it will be sooner rather than later.

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$5 is the sweet spot.

Initially, setting up a Patreon campaign can be tricky. If you've never created one before, it's hard to know where to begin. How much should you charge? What kind of perks should you offer? Will anyone even take an interest? These are all valid questions that you won't know the answers to until you actually try.

In the beginning, I thought charging $5 for early access to my videos would work well. And it did. But there was something missing... My Patreon campaign needed something more enticing. At some point I decided to introduce exclusive vlogs, and that is what did it for me. Pledges were suddenly coming in faster than ever, and all because of a simple reward that costs the price of a Wawa hoagie.

My Patreon campaign, of course, offers higher pledge tiers with more valuable rewards, but five bucks? That's easily the most popular tier to go with. And ironically, I just received another $5 pledge while typing this.

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Wowzers is right.

This is where sharing the raw facts gets really interesting. Combine the past 12 months of my Patreon campaign's earnings and you'll see that patrons pledged nearly $32,000 in total. If there was ever any reason to see why crowdfunding is the future for content creators, let this be it.

And just think, I had so many people discouraging me in the beginning when I decided to turn to Patreon. What if I chose to listen to those people and not move forward with my vision? I would've missed out on a truly life-changing opportunity. This actually reminds me of my favorite quote by Steve Jobs:

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” - Steve Jobs

The next time someone tries to discourage you from doing something you truly love, think of the above quote. You should never let another person tell you how to live your life.

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Community makes this possible.

Crowdfunding is based on support from the community. Without that, you've got nothing — which is why I would like to wrap up this post by acknowledging four of my patrons who also happen to be running Patreon campaigns. You can learn more about them below:

Roberto Blake is creating awesome videos that help creators.
View Patreon Campaign

Techwebcast is creating a podcast.
View Patreon Campaign

Chris Hadley is creating videos and vlogs for Tech Uploaded.
View Patreon Campaign

BrainstormAlex is creating laughable comedy.
View Patreon Campaign

Thank you.

A huge thank-you to everyone who made 2016 a huge success! Your support does not go unnoticed. I can't wait to see what 2017 brings. I've got some exciting things in the works, which you can read all about here.