I’m sure we’re all aware of the recent update and how it changed the way we see the number of patrons both for us and publicly (if you have that number public). I know a lot of people are happier with it because it now matches with the PRM report and that’s great if that’s a tool you use, other people are neutral about it, but some of us are not fans. Now, I know Patreon can’t possibly please every creator with these kinds of things as we all have different approaches and that’s fair, but I wonder if we could have a feature where we get to choose how we see those numbers? So that the people who it works for, can keep the new update numbers but the people who prefer it the other way can still see it that way?
The only reason this matters is because up until now, I’ve had a lot of goals based in number of patrons. Because of this, my supporters actively pay attention to the number of patrons I have. Some even do so daily and I know this because I run a discord server for my tier 2 patrons and they make a point to say “I see you got x number more today, yay!” Or for people not on the server, they’ll comment on my most recent posts even if it’s unrelated just to say, “I see you got more today, congrats and can’t wait for the update!”
Now that the system has been updated, I feel (and I’ve seen this in the Patreon discord server as well) that is is negatively impacting those of us that have goals based in patron number. If it doesn’t affect you, that’s awesome, I’m glad it doesn’t, but it is affecting me. I sometimes have people drop in for one or two days to read the content (writer, here) and once they’ve read the book or story they wanted to, they cancel right away. Not everyone does that, but a decent number do and I have also noticed that with the new year, some people messaged me to say “It’s my New Year’s resolution to stop spending so much on recurring monthly subscriptions so even though I love you, I’m going to wait until you’re published and cancel my membership”. So especially this month, I’ve seen a drop off in numbers, which is fine, I have plans to remedy that, but the problem is that my patrons are seeing a huge number of supporters and that’s not entirely accurate.
My goals were based in the number of consistent patrons I would have, not the ones that come and go just for specific content but don’t have an interest in being regular supporters. Now this updated number makes it seem, from my patron’s POV, that I have a lot more than I actually do and when the first of the month comes around, my drop off is going to be much more drastic and to my patrons who pay attention to that number, it’s not really going to look good to see such a huge drop, not to mention the fact I’d rather not release extra content for reaching patron goal numbers when it’s not really the number I intended it to be.
Obviously I don’t expect that number to stay consistent forever, there are fluctuating numbers for sure, but I still had a much better idea of what my next month would look like when I could see how many patrons were still active with at least 95% of them intending to go into the next month. Now I can’t really calculate that percentage unless I go through and and markdown how many deleted their pledges already and even then, my patrons are still seeing a number that isn’t going to make sense for the way I’ve oriented my goals so far and I’m struggling to find a new system to come up with that I have to introduce to them and explain why it’s not the way they’re now used to.
The patron number goal system was really working well for me because I would say “hey, we’re only 10 patrons away from extra content! Let’s get there together and spread the word!” And my patrons would step up and tell their friends to come over to Patreon and check out my stuff, and 8 out of 10 of those new people would actually stay on for the following months.
Basically, I think it would be beneficial if we had the option to choose which number we want to view, the number of patrons the way it used to be or the one after the update.