First Look at Slideshare Outcomes: Views and Conversions

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December 15, 2012 by Brian Rock

Last week, I decided to make a Slideshare presentation to promote my digital photography blog. I’d read good things about Slideshare’s potential for driving traffic, so I thought I’d give it a go.

This wasn’t intended to be a huge success; it was more like a testing of the waters. I wanted to get a sense of how Slideshare worked, what I can expect in terms of clickthroughs and conversions, and whether it’s worth pursuing in the future. So with that in mind, here are a few thoughts.

What I Did: Creating and Sharing the Slideshare

First, I created the slideshare. I based it off a blog post that I had already written, “Holiday and Christmas Wishlist for Photographers.” This gave me the content pre-made, so all I had to do was go through and convert it to slide form.

I created the presentation in Powerpoint. At school, I typically make my slideshows in Google Drive, because it makes it easier to share them. However, Powerpoint features some snazzier themes and graphics, and I wanted to use these to make the Slideshare more appealing. I took my time, and it probably took me an hour or two to piece together the 19 slide presentation.

This included:

  • A cover slide with an image,  a title, and some links to my blog / social media profiels.
  • 17 “content slides,” many featuring affiliate links to Amazon products.
  • A back cover slide, with more links back to my properties (blogs, social media profiles, etc).

I uploaded the presentation to Slideshare. I then created a WordPress blog to promote it (and future presentations) as well as a Tumblr blog. On each of these blogs, I wrote a brief intro (a couple of sentences maybe), tagged the post with relevant tags, and embedded the slideshow. I also linked back to the original article on my photo blog. I also embedded the slideshow here.

Finally, I made a post embedding the slideshow on my main blog and tweeted it from that blog’s account. Note, however, that the twitter account has little social power, and the blog has few subscribers at the moment.

How It Worked: Breaking Down the Slideshare Views

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I’d say I’m relatively pleased with the outcome. By the end of the first day, the slideshow had 100 to 150 views. It continued to get a dozen or two dozen views each day thereafter.

One week later, the slideshare has 315 views. Nothing amazing. But consider, too, that I didn’t contribute much to this – it’s all more or less the power of Slideshare (and WordPress and Tumblr) to promote things. I promoted it on some brand new blogs, posted it to an (almost) brand new Slideshare account, and this is what happened.

You can further break down the views by views on Slideshare and embed views. On Slideshare, it received 241 views. The four embeds together brought in another 67 views. Interestingly, they were each pretty similar – 15 views, give or take a few.

I assume there’s a flurry of views on the first day because it’s brand new. I’d be interested to see if the one to two dozen views per day continue, or if that drops off as the slideshare becomes stale. If it keeps up, then that’s a projected 500 to 1,000 views a month for a simple presentation with little promotion behind it.

And… Was This Valuable?

The biggest question, however, is how valuable this traffic is. Let’s define a conversion or outcome in one of three ways:

  1. A user clicks on an item, goes to Amazon, and (hopefully) buys something.
  2. A user clicks on the link to my blog, loves it, and (hopefully) subscribes.
  3. A user clicks on one of my social media profiles and follows / adds me.

In the immediate here and now, item number one is the most important. Driving traffic to Amazon drives sales, and it’s a pure numbers game. You get 100 people to follow an affiliate link to Amazon, and someone will buy something. Amazon is good at selling stuff.

Out of 300 views (as of last night), I got 13 clicks through to Amazon. That’s a little over 4%. No one purchased anything, but with such a small number of absolute clicks I’m not surprised. In the long term, if the presentation can drive 3 to 5% of it’s views to Amazon, and I can trust Amazon to convert 5 to 10% of those clicks… I’ll take that. If you can pull in 1,000 views a month that’s a handful of items shipped.

The second best outcome would be to visit my blog. This would then have the possibility of gaining a subscriber, driving someone to other content on my blog, and then ultimately getting an AdSense click or sending them to Amazon via another post.

On this metric, not very succcessful. 315 views converted to 3 blog visits. That’s 1%. I mean, it’s not nothing. And at scale, that’s something. But nothing to write home about. It’s also not enough to make any determination about subscribes, bounce rate of views, etc.

The third best outcome would be to get someone to connect via social media. I don’t think anyone did. I’ve had a few adds this week, but I’m thinking they came from other sources.

To Continue, or Not to Continue?

The question now is whether or not this avenue of promotion is worthwhile. I think it is… or least I think it’s worthwhile enough to continue to try it out. Why?

More presentations = A healthier profile. Maybe this is an assumption, but it makes sense to me. Each presentation you make creates links back to your profile, which then distributes link juice and views back to your other presentations. There’s a symbiotic relationship here, and I assume that as you create more presentations you’ll be able to leverage Slideshare’s inherent marketing into more residual views without work on your part.

The goal is the homepage. If you can get featured on the homepage, that can net you tens of thousands of views on your Slideshare. Even if you only convert a few percent of those views, that’s some value right there. A key thing to note, however, is that this isn’t automated (except maybe the “hot on Facebook” and “hot on Twitter’ features). The “Featured Slideshares” are all hand picked by Slideshare editors, so make sure your presentation is actually good quality. Simple SEO and driving traffic to the presentation isn’t going to get you on the front page.

I want to test out the Analytics. For $20/month, you can become a pro member which has some cool features – analytics, lead generation, etc. I wasn’t about to pay $20/month to try this out. However, I was surprised when I got an e-mail with a coupon for a free month. I had 1,000+ views on all of my slideshares together (I had two old ones from a while back), and this earned me the coupon. So, I just activated it and I’m going to see if that gives me any more insight into the success of these slideshows.

In the meantime, I’m planning on posting some more. I’ve got a monthlong free “Pro” subscription, and I plan to make the best of it. I’ve got a dozen or so presentations planned to promote my educational technology blog, and I’ll be posting a few more Amazon-oriented presentations related to my photography blog. I’ll report back in two or three weeks, once I’ve got some numbers worth discussing.

Anybody else experimented with Slideshare and have some data or stories to share?

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