December 27, 2012 by Brian Rock
About two weeks ago, I got an e-mail from Slideshare offering me a free trial on a Pro membership. I have to say I was curious. I love data and stats, and so the offer to dig into the stats behind my Slideshare presentation was intriguing – and part of the reason why I’ve been making more presentations over the past two weeks.
That being said, I am thoroughly unimpressed with the “Analytics”. It’s nice; it’s a lot better than nothing. There are other features on the Pro account, but based on the stats alone there is absolutely no way I would pay Slideshare a dime to maintain a Pro account… let alone $19 / month.
What Do the Analytics Show You?
Let’s look at some of the analytics for a Slideshare I made last week about free Kindle eBooks for your classroom.
Here’s a screenshot of most of the Analytics for an individual presentation. There are a few other components, but this is a bulk of it.
In the top left, you have a graph with the daily views. This is cool. I like it. Without the analytics package, you can see the total number of views and embeds on your slideshare, but you can’t break it down by day. That spike is from when the Slideshare got featured in the “Hot on Twitter” section of the front page.
In the bottom left, you get a table with referrers. This is where I start to get confused. The numbers don’t add up. The “total” views that Slideshare has counted is about 225, yet you add up the referring pages and I supposedly have 383 views. Something’s not right here. Also, why is “slideshare.net” listed twice? If that references two different internal pages, then tell me the URL’s to those pages.
In the bottom right, you’ve got search queries. This is an equally frustrating table. I love the fact that I can see whether or not the Slideshare is getting search views. However, this data is next to meaningless.
Sometimes, keywords are doubled (like “free kindle ebooks” is here). You don’t know what search engine it is; presumably it’s Google. You can’t click on a search phrase to see how it varies over time.
So Is a Pro Plan Worth It?
There are other features – like capturing leads, hosting meetings, customizing your profile, and removing ads. Perhaps these are worth it to you; they aren’t to me.
Capturing leads is perhaps the only thing in there that’s of great value, but you can do that from directly in your presentation. I’ll write about this another time, but you can use a slide somewhere in your presentation to direct people to an opt-in form / download form. Boom, voila, lead. And then it’s integrated into your existing list, instead of floating around in some Slideshare list.
I understand that Slideshare needs to make money, and I think that they’re trying to market their Pro subscriptions at businesses. But I think their base subscription, at $19 / month, provides far too little value for the cost.
Either bring the price down (a lot), or break it down into a freemium account. For example, you could leave the other stuff (customization, leads, meetings, etc) as a set of Pro features. Make the Analytics available to members in good standing, the same way Facebook gives Analytics to a page that has more than X number of likes.
At the end of the day, the Analytics (if they’re good; they could certainly be improved) are a win-win feature. The marketer (me) learns about his presentations so he can make better presentations, thus helping Slideshare (them) draw more visitors. So why are you trying to make me pay that much for something I get for free (*cough* Google Analytics *cough*) on any website I build?