Re: Reader Drop Rate and Retention

#1
Thinking about reader behaviour. I'm curious as to what the average reader drop rate is. That is, you have so many reads for Chapter 1 and generally less on Chapter 2 because some people have found the story not to their taste and departed. 

So far, between here and Wattpad, I've experienced a pretty consistent 50% drop rate after the first posted piece of writing. The decline thereafter is more nuanced, maybe a 25%-50% drop over the next couple of chapters and then it generally evens out as people stick with it. 

Eg. Reads:
1000
500
450
250
240
200
190
180

Obviously, personal preference has a lot to do with the drop rate, but story quality will have an affect as well. That there is a huge drop rate proves just how important a hook is in the opening chapter. In fact, I would go so far as to say a hook should extend to the first few chapters, to reach a point where the reader feels in the habit of reading that story, or that they're already too invested to stop, and keep going. And, of course, we can see why cliffhangers are EVERYWHERE in modern writing. lol

What's your experience?

Re: Reader Drop Rate and Retention

#3

Timothy Wrote: Thinking about reader behaviour. I'm curious as to what the average reader drop rate is. That is, you have so many reads for Chapter 1 and generally less on Chapter 2 because some people have found the story not to their taste and departed. 

So far, between here and Wattpad, I've experienced a pretty consistent 50% drop rate after the first posted piece of writing. The decline thereafter is more nuanced, maybe a 25%-50% drop over the next couple of chapters and then it generally evens out as people stick with it. 

Eg. Reads:
1000
500
450
250
240
200
190
180

Obviously, personal preference has a lot to do with the drop rate, but story quality will have an affect as well. That there is a huge drop rate proves just how important a hook is in the opening chapter. In fact, I would go so far as to say a hook should extend to the first few chapters, to reach a point where the reader feels in the habit of reading that story, or that they're already too invested to stop, and keep going. And, of course, we can see why cliffhangers are EVERYWHERE in modern writing. lol

What's your experience?

When going with reader retention, there comes a point, where even with your best abilities. It will still lead to a massive amount of drops. There are a number of reasons, though typically my experience has been with impatience. However, typically readers will go for the first chapter, then decide whether to continue or not. My first book for example, from start to end, it maintained 1/10 of the readers. 

Now, this is skewed no doubt. It is very difficult to tell, which I would buy premium to see in detail. Unfortunately, I absolutely abhor PayPal, so nope. 

That rant aside, I don’t count the first chapter, mainly because, there is little value in it. Second, I start tracking the pattern. Around midway of the book is when I have a grasp at my base. Given the demograph of Royal Road, my retention rate had been far more than expected. I cannot say specifically how many are new or returning readers, for two reasons. One, need premium for that, and two. I rewrite works, as a result, the numbers go up. I have noticed more consistency with the increase, so likely it is returning readers.

Personally, I would give a book five chapters to see if it can keep my interest. If not, well, I will be on my way. 

Re: Reader Drop Rate and Retention

#4
1k users read my first chapter, totaling out some 3k views on it. Then it drops and raises from 500 to 700 (in views, 2k to 1k), and then from then on it anywhere from 3~40 users (on average 2-4 with accounts) have stopped at any given chapter. In views, for my last dozen chapters usually tailor off around 115ish per chapter.

My story on Scribblehub usually has about 10-20 views per chapter. And my story thread on Spacebattles reached 1k views recently but as for retention it can be hard to evaluate; it has only 15 readers subscribed to it to something.

Re: Reader Drop Rate and Retention

#6
Honestly, a 50% drop from 1st to 2nd chapter seems alarmingly low to me. I would either check out your writing (could need some revision) or your cover, blurb, etc. (might be that you're attracting the wrong crowd).

My reader retention rate from 1st to 2nd chapter have always been 65-70%, and I am working on big improvements to the beginning because I know that it wasn't the best. Literally, the main character just meets a dog in the pound and is about to take him for a walk. That's my "cliffhanger" hahaha.


HereBeTreasure Wrote: I rewrote my first two chapters extrensively to bump retention up from 60% to 75%

That's a big jump, especially when you consider that your old 60% retention rate views are still in there! Nice job!

The popular stories on the site having 80-90% retention rate is really good to know. Thank you for sharing that stat so that we all have something to strive for.

Re: Reader Drop Rate and Retention

#9
So, the figures for Thomas the Brawler; there was effectively a hiatus between chapter 20 and 22, with chapter 21 coming out in the middle.

These are from the premium analytics on the story, I don't know really know what anything except the number of views means.  There's a more useful graph which shows where readers stopped reading, and while mostly readers stop reading more or less where I expect them to (chapter 4, chapter 8, and chapter 20 all make sense to me as drop-off points for readers), there are a few surprises in there.  (Chapter 15?  Really?)

I think Thomas the Brawler is fairly average - not terrible, not great - and probably a decent reference point for LitRPG.


ChapterViewsUser Retention %# of Members% of Members
Ch 1. Avatar Creation 552 100% 32 16%
Ch 2. Prison 470 85.14% 37 18.5%
Ch 3. Escape 377 80.21% 22 11%
Ch 4. Healing 340 90.19% 17 8.5%
Ch 5. Grimhaven 279 82.06% 5 2.5%
Ch 6. Avatar Customization 275 98.57% 4 2%
Ch 7. Farming 279 100%  1.45% 2 1%
Ch 8. Nightfall 271 98.55% 4 2%
Ch 9. Responsibility 223 82.29% 6 3%
Ch 10. Sleeping Outdoors 231 100%  3.59% 1 0.5%
Ch 11. A Herd of Silver Fawn 238 100%  6.73% 1 0.5%
Ch 12. Indignities 220 98.65% 4 2%
Ch 13. Piketown 213 96.82% 3 1.5%
Ch 14. Paying Work 203 95.31% 3 1.5%
Ch 15. A Better Paying Job 208 100%  2.46% 1 0.5%
Ch 16. Bandits 156 76.85% 6 3%
Ch 17. Return Trip 167 100%  7.05% 1 0.5%
Ch 18. Up Again 183 100%  17.31% 4 2%
Ch 19. Prophets 198 100%  26.92% 6 3%
Ch 20. On the Road Again 194 100%  24.36% 5 2.5%
Ch 21. Return 142 91.03% 3 1.5%
Ch 22. Dungeon 120 84.51% 7 3.5%
Ch 23. Madelaine 97 80.83% 2 1%
Ch 24. Introductions 97 100% 2 1%
Ch 25. Dual 92 94.85% 1 0.5%
Ch 26. Home 87 94.57% 2 1%
Ch 27. Bad Men 84 96.55% 1 0.5%
Ch 28. Planning 71 84.52% 3 1.5%
Ch 29. A Quest 71 100% 1 0.5%
Ch 30. Rematch 54 76.06% 0 0%
Ch 31. New Heights 59 100%  9.26% 0 0%
Ch 32. Beautiful Lights 61 100%  12.96% 1 0.5%
Ch 33. Quest Complete 54 100% 2 1%
Ch 34. Market 48 88.89% 2 1%
Ch 35. Thanks 38 79.17% 1 0.5%
Ch 36. A Conversation over Tea 34 89.47% 3 1.5%
Ch 38. Anne 28 82.35% 2 1%
Ch 39. Paying Work 23 82.14% 2 1%
Ch 40. Unexpected Sleep 9 39.13% 1 0.5%


For What Was Lost Outside Time - this probably isn't a great reference point for anything.  Frankly I'm shocked at the number of readers who reached chapter 4.

There were some additional chapters here, but they've been taken down for a rewrite, so their statistics aren't here.

ChapterViewsUser Retention %# of Members% of Members
Ch 1. (Prologue) Unawakening 475 100% 17 19.1%
Ch 2. Reawakening 392 82.53% 11 12.36%
Ch 3. Shapes 337 85.97% 4 4.49%
Ch 4. Conversation 318 94.36% 8 8.99%
Ch 5. Purpose 275 86.48% 6 6.74%
Ch 6. Etiquette 241 87.64% 4 4.49%
Ch 7. Ethics 221 91.7% 4 4.49%
Ch 8. Obligation 216 97.74% 3 3.37%
Ch 9. Lessons 206 95.37% 4 4.49%
Ch 10. Motion 203 98.54% 4 4.49%
Ch 11. Classmates 229 100%  12.81% 3 3.37%
Ch 12. Martial Training 177 87.19% 1 1.12%
Ch 13. Crowds 197 100%  11.30% 2 2.25%
Ch 14. Naming 157 88.7% 1 1.12%
Ch 15. Conversations 144 91.72% 2 2.25%
Ch 16. Magic 128 88.89% 2 2.25%
Ch 17. Preparations 130 100%  1.56% 2 2.25%
Ch 18. Feast 112 87.5% 3 3.37%
Ch 19. Travel 114 100%  1.79% 5 5.62%
Ch 20. War 94 83.93% 2 2.25%
Ch 21. Prisoners 88 93.62% 1 1.12%
Ch 22. Siege 85 96.59% 0 0%
Ch 23. Geis 83 97.65% 0 0%


Re: Reader Drop Rate and Retention

#10

Timothy Wrote: This particular fantasy (Welcome to Heartstone) is a bit niche.

Ahh that makes sense too!

Still, I recommend putting that style of puns in your blurb then, try to capture that sense of humor. You *say* there are puns in the description but what if you included a literal pun? It could help attract your crowd! That's what I meant by editing your blurb to match the contents of the story more, even if your story is more niche.

Just an idea :)

Re: Reader Drop Rate and Retention

#11

BridgerCampbellCannon Wrote: Im not sure of my exact percentages, but I’m between 50%-60% right now. I don’t find that as discouraging as the views to followers ratio. I have about 1300 views total and 20 followers. That was a big yikes for me, so I’ve actually decided not to look at the stats much anymore, and I even hid my rank and ratings. I don’t like being married to the numbers, especially if it’s a toxic relationship.


That isn't the way to go about it, my man. Average View to Follower ratio is more accurate. Total Views account for ALL views on ALL of your chapters. If 400 people read all 5 Chapters, hypothetically, you'll have 2000 Views while in actuality, there are only 400 people reading it. Thus, it is statistically inaccurate to be disappointed in a Total View to Follower ratio, because 1300 people haven't read your story. It's actually your Total Views / Number of Chapters. You can see a more in-depth analysis on your Dashboard for each chapter. If I read correctly, you have 85 Average Views and 20 Followers. What you're looking at isn't a 1.5% follower retention, but 23%.

Re: Reader Drop Rate and Retention

#12
I honestly don't know what my reader retention says about my story. I know that the plot itself is a bit of a slow burn, but I'm actually surprised at the number of people who have continued to read it.

From part one to part two, I only had 67.97% retention. It keeps falling from there until part five which only had about 20% retention (counting from part one). After that it evens out, and all my uploads since then have had 90-100% retention.

This checks out if I look at my average views (135) and the number of followers (36), it shows that I have a 25% retention overall. 

I personally think that's pretty good for a story that I made up in a single day. I don't really let the numbers dictate anything though. At the end of the day, people are having fun reading it,  and I'm having fun writing it–that's all that really matters.

Re: Reader Drop Rate and Retention

#13
I think it also depends on how far you are spacing your publishing chapters, like if you wait a long time between releasing a new chapter, it would be reasonable to expect  a drop in follow-through.
I hope I write good enough so that at least twenty percent of people that start to read the book also finish it.  That would be awesome for me.

Re: Reader Drop Rate and Retention

#15

MalevolenceMau Wrote: I am looking at around 45-55% retention from Chapter 0/1 depending on how long I leave it, obviously, the latest chapter is the lowest as it only came out last night. Here's an image of the stats, sadly no premium tables with all the info:

https%3A%2F%2Fcdn.discordapp.com%2Fattachments%2F8...y_2021.jpg


I'm more interested in how you got 100 more views on chapter 14, then another 50 on chapter 15. Those seem weird. 

Do people start reading a story in the middle? I haven't seen that sort of jump up on my story. 

Re: Reader Drop Rate and Retention

#16

Theo Wrote: I'm more interested in how you got 100 more views on chapter 14, then another 50 on chapter 15. Those seem weird.
Readers tend to check the newest chapter to look at Author Notes for any mention of breaks or things happening to the fiction, as well as to check if the current quality is worth a backtrack.

SEO also plays a role, some chapters that contain repeated words can help in search engines picking up a particular chapter.