Improving the Non-Creator Experience

@carla, @erin, et al, I’m curious as to what might be in the works to improve Patreon for non-creators: i.e. patrons, followers, and random visitors. After what happened in December a lot of folks have been put off Patreon and while quite a bit has been done to improve creator experience (thank you!), there haven’t been near the improvements for non-creators.

I feel that if we improve Patreon for these people, it will help creators better recover and build and help with a bit of the damage Patreon has taken to its reputation.

Creators, please share any ideas you might have to directly improve the experience for patrons and potential patrons. We need to brainstorm ideas that will not only entice more visitors onto Patreon, but also ideas of things that will make them linger, such as better browsability.


I think i’m going to take this to my patrons with a feedback post and see what they want :slight_smile: I’ll post the findings here once they are in. :slight_smile:


That sounds like a great idea! Might be good for your non-patron followers too so you can get an idea of what might convert them.

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Totally! Making it a public post for that reason! :3


Thanks – I know the product team have some ideas up they’ve bandied about for patrons, and we’re looking at what marketing programs would be the right thing to do. Since a lot of the feedback we got during fees (and absolutely rightly so) was that creators own the relationship with their patrons, we need to focus on the in-product experiences first and then think about how we can help with additional messaging. We will be rolling out some updates to the mobile app which will enable you to do more with your patrons, but it sounds like you’re interested in all levels of that fan experience.

I’d love to see what comes up in your poll @Temrin, and will follow along with this thread to hear what y’all think would be most important.


From my perspective when I was first looking at Patreon over three years ago, it was and still is impossible to browse creators. I clicked in, couldn’t really navigate much, and left. I did not become a patron of anyone, I did not become a creator that day, and I didn’t even follow anyone. Patreon does a good job of explaining how Patreon works, but it was of no interest since I couldn’t see it in action for anyone other than a few high ranking creators.

My thought has always been once you get someone to click in the site should try to hold the person’s interest for as long as possible. The longer someone is on Patreon, the more likely they are to get an understanding of what the platform is and see value in it. A description telling them how important it is, isn’t going to do that the same way clicking on creator after creator and seeing how important it is to every individual creator site they visit.

It took me months to figure it out as there would be an artist here and there sharing their Patreon on another site. And that has always been the problem: you have to go outside of Patreon to find creators on Patreon. Not that you shouldn’t find links outside of Patreon, but once you’re in Patreon should keep you in.

Even navigating to find the top creators is difficult if you’re logged in. You shouldn’t have to click a vague dropdown to find it. It should be easily accessed in anyone’s home feed in the far right column along with “Find Creators You Love” and “Suggested Creators”. And what I’m suggesting is that it not just be the top 20 creators in each category. It’s fine that they’re featured at the top, but there is no way to find the vast majority of creators on Patreon. It would be great if under the top 20 or on a “see more” link there would be a feed of other active creators in that category.


Agreed whole heartedly.

All creators should be uplifted, not just the top. Focusing on the top doesn’t help overall and it shouldn’t be this hard to find new creators to support. :frowning:


I greatly agree with this statement! The Patreon homepage should be a showcase of Patreon’s most supported and up-and-coming creators. Feature the creators content, tell visitors about the creator and introduce them to creators they wouldn’t normally discover on their own and how Patreon is helping them make content.


Okay, @carla, some initial input from my patrons are as follows:

Better Creator Browsing:
-For me Patreon has always been lacking in browsability. There are already patrons and followers within the platform that understand the importance of patronage. It should be easier for them (and anyone really) to look through categories to find more artists they might have interest in supporting and/or following.
My feedback: 100 times yes.

Better Image File Name Handling
-When downloading a picture, the file names are random gibberish. I guess this is to keep the file names unique, but the file names are incomprehensible to the naked eye. For example, the Happy New Year image in the previous post is bCL19fMzKKPBlAo-mjicH3sLY87nWi_lKBgVVH5prsjFZQACgr0EytlKTdd_op6Y.jpg when I right click, Save As. Could the naming scheme of files be changed to something like [Patreon Name] - [Post Title] - [TimeStamp]? The happy new year picture would become “Temrin - Happy New Year! - 170103_1359.jpg” The time stamp is in case there are two posts with the same title. YYMMDD then 24 hour time after the dash.
My Feedback: This would be amazing. Then i could actually FIND creators works easier after saving and not have to go through gibberish files to find something. Especially when it is artist resources, tutorials, etc.

Better Archives
-If I am just starting to pledge to a new creator, is there a better way to download/view the creator’s past images and linked in files than going through the posts one by one? If there are a few hundred posts, this can be rather burdensome. This may be something that only should be active for pay up front creators, as something that addresses this concern may be used to vacuum up pay at the end of the month creators work and then cut and run.
My feedback: Better tools and viewing options (Maybe an option to have it more like a gallery and less like a blog.) As i’ve suggested a couple times now, i believe creators should have the option to charge a fee for people to see previous content or to be able to choose what gets setup as “viewable” to new patrons and what remains private. (One of your competitors did this and it was AWESOME.) New pledgers didn’t help create that previous content and I’d like more control over what i show people. I have grand plans for when Patreon changes things so that new pledgers can’t skim my content without paying/having a successful pledge (even if they have to wait for pay day to see private content.) But i cannot do them until i have more control and have less chance that my posts and their comments from my patrons get reposted

Better Running Totals
-A running total for the month’s pledges would be good. I thought they had that at one point? It should add up whatever monthly fixed charges, and then add in the per-post charges to be collected up to that point. Since everything gets charged on the first of the month, the pay up front and pay at the end of the month can be added together.
My Feedback: You guys did have this at one point. Home page, you could see who you pledge to and how much you are pledging. Having to dig to even see your pledges in detail is a royal pain. Can we not have that home page synopsis back? Home page still shows who you support so why not just add the total back in and have a link right there to see your pledge details. A general summary page that links to the relevant pages is so important as a landing page for both patrons and artists. Easier to navigate and can also help them realize what pages in their dash actually house the info they need. It’s not always 100% clear and having to spend a bunch of time trying to find what you need is wasteful and not user friendly.


I wish I could hear this a 1000x over! Thank you, shared with the product team!


I will +1000 for all of the above.
I’ve been nagging Patreon for a usable search function for almost 2 years. The fact that you can’t use the platform itself to build an audience is absurd.

This is the only website I have encountered without a fully working search and browse function. That’s my biggest gripe - there’s a community of hundreds of thousands of supporters that I have absolutely no way to tap into. Those who are supporting creators and are on Patreon already know what it’s about. How come I can’t seem to utilize those people and possibly garner more support from within the platform?

When I’m on Kickstarter searching for projects to support, I’m able to search for newest, most popular, highest backed most funded, etc. Patreon is the only crowd funding site I have encountered that is missing this function entirely, and I’ve always wondered why that is?
It’s quite obvious it’s a requested feature by both creators and Patrons. Why is it still missing?


So much this. It’s so completely self-defeating. At this point the main site cannot properly be called a community: it’s a bunch of locked cubicles. What we need is an open-plan space where everyone can move freely.


I agree that better browsing and discoverability would be beneficial to patrons and creators alike. But here’s my personal request with this - Please don’t advertise other creators’ Patreon pages to my patrons ON my page while they’re viewing my content.

I’m all for big bold “browse” buttons and a robust search function, but I need separation between my content and that of others when I’m bringing patrons or prospective patrons into Patreon from my home site. I need my personal Patreon page to have a focus on my work only, but with the option for patrons to navigate to a separate search/browse section if they so choose.

As for in-site discovery, I’d love to see browse/search work for a variety of creators instead of just the most popular or fastest growing - because honestly, a lot of times those are the same 5 creators patrons already know about. Slow-and-steady creators in the middle of their Patreon careers should be featured too.

I’d love a system where you can tag your campaign with keywords (e.g. “webcomic,” “science fiction,” “lgbt”, etc.) so patrons can find campaigns by relevance, instead of just showing whose work is the most lucrative. It might be nice to have a stream that shows the latest public posts by creators in a category too.

Also, I echo the comment on better archives or some sort of organizational system for old posts. My campaign’s been running for three years, and it isn’t easy for new patrons to find the highlights in my old content.


I agree. I had the same experience as Lochy when I first looked into Patreon as a non-creator. It’s not set-up to encourage an eco-system of exploring and finding either creators one might want to support, or similar creators to learn from. Kickstarter and PledgeMusic as examples seem to do a better job of building a searchable world. This may be intentional, or it may be an oversight, but I think it would improve user experience.


One of my main ‘niggles’ about my Patrons’ (non-creators’) experience so far is that it’s a bit of a dead end for them. They don’t seem to realise that they can interact like they can on FB/Insta/Twitter.

They need educating, and that’s fine, but it feels like so much of it is down to me/us rather than Patreon doing a bit more of that too. I’m really happy to do it but it would be great to have a helping hand from the platform itself.

I’m sure many non-creators don’t even realise there’s a smartphone app…and that, by the way, could be really sharpened up for creators and non-creators alike!

And, yes, I agree with all the comments above. It’s all too much of a closed book that could really be opened up.

The most exciting thing for me about Patreon is that you/we are rejuvenating the ancient notion of patronage.

Patreon could REALLY sing about all the great artworks over the centuries that wouldn’t exist without patrons and, in turn, showcase the amazing community on Patreon.

In short, open the doors and let them in…and turn on the lights!


Another thought:

Since publishing my latest post, I’ve had two Patrons mention to me that they see the whole post in their email notification, then click CHECK IT OUT NOW! and are a little disappointed that they’ve already seen it all!

So, how about this…?

Show the first few lines in the email notification — an excerpt — then they get to see the whole thing when they click CHECK IT OUT NOW!

That will also encourage them to comment and like…to generally engage.

By the way, in line with my earlier observation, neither Patron knew about the Patreon app. They’re off to hunt it down!



That’s a good idea. I’d also love to encourage patrons to engage, and having only part of the post reach them by email would encourage that. I recognize though that some people probably really prefer not having to click to see the post on the site. Perhaps then change the wording “Check it out” to “Respond to this” or similar?


Indeed, @joumana

…or “Share your thoughts about XXXX’s post”

…or “Tell XXXX what you think”


I agree on the “better browsing” thing. And please -I’m asking as an adult content creator- provide patrons with an option to hide/show adult creators in search.
It’s a feature any arts-related website has since 1998, maybe.


Agreed. Obviously, guests shouldn’t see adult content because they aren’t confirmed users/could be minors, but accounts should have the option to show what content they want and I guess an age verification or something if there is a worry about minors with accounts. Either way, adult content creators (or those who have only -some- adult content but still have to put their project as adult) shouldn’t be shafted this hard. We are legitimate creators as well and while I understand making sure the site complies with certain regulations and ensuring that to the best of your ability, underage people aren’t seeing this content, we should be searchable to those that want to see adult content. Not being seen to those that want to see it is extremely hurtful to our projects.