I wrote a post about how I Spent $6 Million on Google Ads Last Year. The title was catchy, the image was bright and colorful, the content was useful, it had clear takeaways, and I was positioned like an expert because I spent a bunch of someone else’s money.
I thought it was a good little post and had moderate expectations for its success. It was published on Medium and got about 200 views on the first day. Not bad! To date my best post had 360 total views, so 200 was solid.
I went to bed happy.
I woke up the next day and noticed someone else had shared it on LinkedIn and tagged me in it. That’s cool! I thanked him and decided, well, maybe I should post it myself on LinkedIn. Why not?
I wrote a quick blurb, tagged my old Google reps because they played a part in the success I’ve had with Google Ads, and then moved on with my day.
Then I started getting likes, comments, shares. On both Medium and LinkedIn. My email blew up with notifications. I got emails from random people, asking for my advice about Target CPA bidding, how to best learn Google Ads, or if I could give feedback on some new software.
I guess this is what a semi-viral post looks like in the professional world? I’m using that term very loosely because this is by no means a runaway success. I’m not quitting my job to become a full-time blogger, influencer, or all-around cool guy. I got some likes, comments, and views on a post I wrote. Pretty cool, but I’m not the next Gary V.
I’ve never had this happen to me though so every aspect is interesting. I deep dive into all the stats below for those interested.
Day 1: My post gets published on Medium. I had finished this post a week ago and submitted it to a Medium publication called Better Marketing. It took them almost 7 days to approve, edit, and publish it. Totally on their schedule and out of my control.
- End result: 197 views
Day 2: 1 random share + a tag on LinkedIn generates some more interest. I make my post, things spiral out of control from there.
- End result: 1,000 views! I was stoked. That was 3x my highest ever post on Medium.
Day 3: I wake up, and my post got an additional 2k views overnight. I continue to get likes, comments, and shares on Linkedin, and claps and highlights on Medium.
- As of 4pm: 4.8k views
Here’s a screenshot from my Medium account stats page over the last 30 days. Notice the tiny little bar right before the big spike? That was the first day my post was published.
All those other little bars? I’ve been writing a lot lately. Literally a new post every single day in February because I’m kind of a nut job.
That idea stemmed from the decision to quit video games for an entire year. I wanted to see what I could do if I put the time and energy playing games into creating things instead.
I guess this is what happens?
By far the most shocking part is the random emails I started getting. My email is listed on my website but no one ever emails me out of the blue because I get so little traffic.
I won’t show them all here because I don’t want to throw anyone under the bus, but I will show the lowest effort one:
Come on, bro, try a little harder next time.
I’ve also received outreach on LinkedIn from people asking to feature my blog post. I checked out their website and it gets very little traffic and has a worse domain authority than my website, which only has a 23. Sorry, not going to happen.
Here’s the thing, most of those views came from outside of Medium. Only 16% came from within Medium!
2.4k of my views are from an Android device not using the Medium app. I wonder why the distribution is skewed so much to Android and not iPhones? That seems wrong to me. Honestly, a lot of these external referrals are not helpful. What the hell is googleapis.com/whatever ?
The coolest thing is my post showed up in my personal google feed. I’m going to cherish this image for a long time.
Emo is making a comeback, by the way.
Medium is only half the story because this traffic starts with LinkedIn. Here’s how my profile views have moved.
+444% is pretty solid, but 46 profile views today is not a lot compared to the number of views my post has by now.
1,557 views as of 4 pm on the 27th. Also interesting is the view to interaction number, which comes out to 3% (44⁄1557). I don’t really consider this to be a lot of interactions, but it sure generated some good traffic.
Same time tomorrow?
I could spend months or years chasing this type of traffic again. It came down to writing a good post with an interesting title, eye-catching image, and marketing it in a place where it would resonate.
Also all the articles I wrote before this one served as practice. My content did well because it resonated with people and was clear to read and understand. Some fellow PPC folks I respect in Austin commented and approved of what I said, saying it was spot on. That’s great feedback!
Tagging my Google reps didn’t hurt either because they shared it along with a couple of my co-workers.
Soon this post will fade into obscurity, but for now, I’m enjoying the moment.
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