Friday, April 13, 2012

Photo Friday: Metrics

It's sort of like navel gazing.

For years, I've been tracking visitors to my blogs, determining how many people have viewed posts, where these people live, which posts they like the most, and how they arrive at my blogs. Originally, I would only check these statistics occasionally, just to see if anyone at all was reading my writings, looking at my photos.

These days—especially since I launched The Brown Knowser, I check the stats on a daily basis. Sometimes, several times a day. The more followers and visitors I receive, the more I try to determine if the post I've published is appealing to my readers. If the post is popular, I try to repeat that type of post.

Not surprising, the most-popular posts are for my Where In Ottawa contest. Everybody loves a challenge, especially when a prize or bragging rights are at stake. My beer reviews come a close second and are slowly surpassing my contest.

One post that has slowly worked its way up the ranks of popular posts has had me scratching my head, wondering why it is drawing so much attention. It's my Instagram post, Light Play.

For me, it's not a special post. Two photos, shot when Instagram was fairly new to me. The first, shot while I was watching one of my kids play soccer. The sun was going down, the game was wrapping up, and we were packing our chairs and cooler, preparing to head home. I liked how the sun apparitions split in a pattern as it shone through a tree on the edge of the pitch, and so I shot it. When I processed the photo in Instagram, the name "Light Play" came to mind; hence, the title of the blog post.

The second shot was taken as we were heading home, and I stopped for gas. Clouds had rolled in and the sun, now below the horizon, was casting dramatic colours against those clouds. An airplane was on its final approach to the airport (can you find it?), and so I took the shot. Believe it or not, I used no dramatic filter on that shot. That's what the sky essentially looked like.

Like I said, the shots are okay, but they're not great. They're not my best work. So why is my Light Play post so popular?

I turned to my Google metrics for that answer. I noticed this week that there had been a spike in hits to this blog post. I looked up the keywords that had been used to get to my blog and noticed a spike in Google searches for "Instagram photography." And so I went to Google and typed those words into the search engine.

Give it a try.

One of the results of that search is a site that offers Instagram photos. If you click it, you get pages and pages of random photos. On page 4, I saw this:

Do you see it?

If you click the image (in Google, not the picture above), the photo pops up and provides a link to my blog.

Mystery solved.

Of course there's been a spike in Instagram hits. With the news that Facebook is buying the 18-month-old photo app company for one billion dollars (insert Dr. Evil pinky to corner of mouth), people are naturally checking out this lucky, lucky business.

I should feel honoured that my photo is getting clicked.

So, to all of you shooting Instagram photos: see if you can spot your work on the Net. Chances are, more people are checking out your work than those following you.

And as for the navel gazing, just wait: I'm planning to show more stats about my blog when The Brown Knowser turns one year old. And then you can see what I look at every day.

Don't worry; it's not my actual navel.

Happy Friday!

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