Category Archives: traffic stats

Fans can also do it right

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Since I did a long post scolding fans for bad marketing, I also wanted to do a little addendum highlighting fan efforts that actually do work.

Traffic to BlockB.com has improved a bit since March 14th, in no small part because of some traffic from Twitter over to the Mixtape page.

What happened? Well, on the 15th, a couple of Block B fans were arguing with BTS fans over whether or not BTS had invented fire and the wheel, and they put up a couple of Tweets linking to that page.

And those links paid off.

There were, like, three Tweets by two people? Fifty visits to the site. Plus there was the fun of watching someone new to Block B dig into the group.

This is the thing about BTS fans, especially nowadays: Many of them are new to K-Pop. Now, that’s something that can come across as really annoying, because that means they’re vulnerable to the BTS Is Not K-Pop hype, which is the kind of thing you believe only if you know very, very little about Korean popular music.

But it’s important to realize that ignorance is an opportunity. If a person genuinely believes that BTS is the only decent musical group ever to come out of Korea, well then, that is a person who is ripe for education!

It’s actually good that a lot of newer BTS fans are unfamiliar with K-Pop–it means that they probably haven’t gone down the rabbit hole of thinking that listening to another group constitutes adultery or something. It’s more likely they’ve just been led astray by the actual crazy fans, so they’re just not bothering to look at other Korean musicians because they’ve been told there’s nothing to see. But as far as the music is concerned, there’s a lot of overlap between Block B and BTS–it was not long ago that most people who liked one group also liked the other. And as you can see from the impact of those Tweets, Block B is not a tough sell with that crowd (but you do have to be willing to go past name-calling).

So, do newbie BTS fans a favor and expose them to some Block B!

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The impact of #StayStrongBlockB

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On March 6, a story came out that P.O had said it was potentially possible that the members of Block B might go their separate ways, maybe, it’s hard to say. While this was far from some definitive statement about disbandment, a lot of fans were understandably freaked out by it, and on March 10 some of them began a hashtag campaign on Twitter, trending #StayStrongBlockB.

This was not uncontroversial, even on Twitter, with other fans complaining that the hashtag–which is usually used only if something quite bad has happened to a group, like a car accident–really upset them when they first saw it. Proponents of #StayStrongBlockB countered that the hashtag trended pretty darned well and got the group attention it otherwise would not have gotten.

So, was it a good idea? Was it a bad idea? The data is in, so let’s look at the weekly visits to BlockB.com over the past six weeks.

Yeah–that’s pretty bad. And those are all full, seven-day weeks.

A look at the daily traffic shows a pretty tight correlation between the fall-off and P.O’s comments (March 6), and the hashtag campaign (March 10).

The numbers fluctuate of course, but I have not seen lows that low since before “Shall We Dance” was released.

I think it’s fairly obvious that #StayStrongBlockB was a pretty terrible marketing tactic and is the kind of thing that should be avoided in the future. (And now you’re beginning to understand why I find it so laughable when Block B’s fans criticize their label for being bad at marketing. If you live in a glass house, don’t throw stones.)

Will traffic return? Well, if there’s a concert announced in an English-speaking market or a new album, I’m sure it will. But will this really nice traffic BlockB.com has been having even without any especial hook come back before then? That I do not know.

I have written before about how Block B’s international fans could be more effective at marketing the group. I hope this post underscores why we need to strive to be effective: We can indeed do the group considerable harm if we aren’t disciplined when it comes to public campaigns like this one.

The good news for fans is: You have the power! Your work can have a real impact!

The bad news for fans is: You have the power! Your work can have a real impact! Not even Sony Music can stop you!

Let’s talk about what was wrong with this campaign, and what sort of thought process fans need to go through if they are to have effective, helpful social-media marketing campaigns in the future. Which is entirely possible to do, if you are smart about it.

Wrong Thing #1: This public marketing campaign was not crafted with the public in mind.

First things first–you’ll notice that I’m referring to this hashtag campaign as a public marketing campaign. And that’s what it was, whether or not the people who organized it really thought of it that way or not. If you want to get something off your chest in private, you do it in private; hashtag campaigns are public, they happen out where everyone can see them, and they need to be tailored for public (not just fan) consumption.

The proponents of #StayStrongBlockB were right about one thing: Both the story about P.O and the hashtag campaign got attention.

The problem was the kind of attention it got. The story and campaign both caught the eye of existing fans, who promptly freaked out, went looking for more information, and then stopped once they satisfied their need for news. In other words: It drove traffic in the short term among people who already liked Block B. Obviously I’m happy when people who like the group can find helpful information on BlockB.com, but they’re not exactly my target audience.

Who is? Potential fans. The #StayStrongBlockB campaign clearly had a substantial impact on them as well, but not the impact we want: It turned them away. They decided against finding out more about Block B.

This is not helpful.

Here are two marketing principles to keep in mind:  Think about who is going to actually see the campaign, and Do not alienate potential fans while attempting to energize existing fans.

What alienated potential fans?

Wrong Thing #2: The campaign had a negative message.

I’m sure some people will argue that there’s nothing negative about telling someone to #StayStrong. Except that there is–people don’t do #StayStrong unless there’s a big problem. (And it clearly doesn’t matter if the body of your #StayStrong Tweet was just a-brimming with positivity. Nobody reads past the headlines.)

And in this specific case, #StayStrongBlockB amplified the story about the group possibly disbanding, which is a negative story.

Negative messages can work–if you’re selling security systems or insurance. They’re not going to work if you’re selling a K-Pop group. When people go looking for entertainment, they’re not looking to get stressed out or to adopt someone else’s problems. They’re looking to have fun. They’re not looking for the group that’s about to disband or is miserable or is having some terrible #StayStrong-worthy crisis.

This, by the way, is exactly why haters tend to exaggerate or invent crises for K-Pop groups–it’s a deliberate attempt to drive away people who otherwise might be interested.

Here is a marketing principle that you should probably tattoo on your forehead: Do not amplify negative stories. Let me say that again with more emphasis: DO NOT AMPLIFY NEGATIVE STORIES! Is this a story that haters have been peddling since the group’s debut? Is is something that causes you great panic and consternation? Don’t tip off the media about it, and don’t start a marketing campaign centering around it.

I’m not saying that fans can’t discuss negative stories–of course you can! But a hashtag campaign is a public marketing campaign. If you’re doing a campaign for public consumption, you have to think things through. If you are just dying to take action, that’s great! But you also have to take five minutes to craft a message that is positive and will resonate with the public.

Now, did P.O think things through? Obviously not–he is a man of many talents, but marketing isn’t one of them. Presumably someone kicked him in the butt afterwards, because a few days later he came back with a positive story–the news that Block B is doing a new album!

This was an attempt to change the narrative–an attempt that the English-language K-Pop media largely ignored, because of course they did.

The problem is that fans also ignored the positive story when they came up with an English-language hashtag campaign that managed to kill interest in Block B among English speakers. And they shouldn’t have–no one should count AllKPop as an ally, but fans are supposed to help.

Here is what I would like fans to do: Think before you hashtag (or contact the media, or whatever thing people are going to do next). What are you trying to accomplish? Who is going to see this? What will their likely reaction be? Could this help? How? Could it hurt? How?

Don’t just run with the first idea you have–really think it through. Did you think the #StayStrongBlockB campaign was necessary because it gave fans something to do when they were feeling helpless? Did you think the #StayStrongBlockB campaign was necessary because it might hearten the boys?

Would any of that not have been true of, say, a #BlockBNewAlbum hashtag campaign? Would that have not worked every bit as well for existing fans, and been less harmful to interest from potential fans? Would another sort of campaign, like trying to get Block B radio play, had the same (or even more) benefits?

This is still going on

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The elevated traffic to BlockB.com is still happening:

January 8 was the release of “Don’t Leave,” January 28 was the concert, and yesterday a bunch of people from China came looking for mixtapes because some fans posted links on Weibo–xie xie!

But even taking out those peaks, the average daily traffic is quite high–about 180 people a day in February.

Geographically, there’s more people coming from just about everywhere, but there’s definitely been a shift toward more visitors from Indonesia/Malaysia/the Philippines since the Sony Music deal. From January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2017, or even just in October 2017, visitors from those three countries made up 9% of visitors; so far in 2018 they make up 16%.

So, that’s all good news. Like a lot of development in non-Korean markets, it’s also kind of invisible to observers–unlike, say, Jaehyo awesomely terrifying haters on Twitter. But I doubt it’s particularly invisible to the bottom line.

Interesting traffic

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Pulling out visitors to BlockB.com since the release of “Don’t Leave” January 8, we see:

This is interesting, because at first it looks like the normal bumpy downward slope you see after a release–a big peak for the release, then gradually decreasing peaks when they appear on music shows. There’s something of a leveling though, but then there’s another peak for the concert January 28, so maybe that would explain that, but then…it just levels out again. At quite a high daily number.

And this isn’t a minor phenomenon. If you look at monthly visits for the past four years (yes, I’m having too much fun with these improved Web analytics):

January 2018 is the third-highest month for visits, beaten only by April 2016 (the release of Blooming Period) and August 2016 (the original announcement of the second European tour + the Zico/Seolhyun dating scandal). It just beat out December 2016, when the second European tour was announced again. (European or American tours really generate traffic for BlockB.com; solo activities not so much.)

I guess you could chalk this up to the simple fact that Block B has been doing a lot lately, but it’s not like they haven’t had such busy periods in the past. So unless Park Kyung kissing a leech just really appealed to people, I suspect there’s something else driving traffic–it reminds me of when they first started doing V App and Heyo TV. It could be Sony Music doing its thing in the English-speaking Asian market (there’s a slightly increased percentage of people coming from there), or it could be spillover from American interest in BTS. Or both!

I always find this interesting

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There was a big bump in traffic to BlockB.com after the concerts:

Mostly to the members and schedule page. This keeps happening, so maybe I should stop being surprised by it. Yet it still seems odd to me that concerts are such an effective marketing tool–these last two were $99 a ticket, which you would think would limit the impact to people who are already fans. But I guess all the excited fan accounts must get other people interested.

Anyway, quite a number of fan videos are out now, both on Twitter and YouTube, and I’ve collected a few over there. Fingers crossed that they won’t go on a campaign to yank them down.

If you post fan cams, the Joker will get you!

Where do visitors to BlockB.com come from?

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BlockB.com‘s hosting service keeps upgrading its Web analytics, so I thought I’d go ahead and share some of the geographical data they have now. (Hey, a concert promoter might use it–fingers crossed!)

So, this is visitors to BlockB.com from January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2017. Obviously, the site’s in English, so it tends to attract more English speakers, and of course visitors to one fan’s site aren’t necessarily representative of all fans. I subtracted out the oddly high number of visitors from the small town I inhabit.

Top 15 countries

United States                 49,995 (30%)
United Kingdom               9,270 (6%)
Germany                          8,099 (5%)
Canada                            7,544 (5%)
Brazil                                4,800 (3%)
Indonesia                         4,756 (3%)
South Korea                     4,653 (3%)
Australia                           4,148 (3%)
Philippines                        4,137 (3%)
Malaysia                           4,082 (3%)
Japan                               3,864 (2%)
Singapore                         3,633 (2%)
Netherlands                      3,542 (2%)
France                              3,120 (2%)
Poland                              2,496 (2%)

(Indonesia, Australia, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore…I think the folks at Sony Music Asia have their job cut out for them!)

From the United States, the
Top 10 states

California                        12,225
Texas                                3,923
New York                          2,754
Florida                              2,608
Illinois                               2,010
Virginia                             1,353
Washington                      1,329
Georgia                            1,212
Ohio                                 1,210
Pennsylvania                    1,155
North Carolina                  1,153
Michigan                           1,151

In general, within each country or state the visitors come from the populated areas you would expect–most visitors from the UK come from the London area, most visitors from California come from the Los Angeles or San Francisco areas, etc. The exceptions to this are, firstly, Texas:

Texas has a pretty even spread between Dallas, Houston, and Austin (maybe they could compromise and hold it in College Station?).

Germany is kind of similar. The city with the most people visiting is Berlin, but interest is heaviest throughout the west and southwest–with no particular concentration of visitors from any one city.

The other kind of unusual one, especially for K-Pop, is Canada:

It pains me to say this given where I live, but Vancouver (211 visitors) is just nothing compared to Toronto (960) and Ottawa (1,188). In fact, more than half of Canada’s visitors came from Ontario. I was wondering if that was a result of Block B coming to Chicago in November 2015, but when I reset the start date to January 1, 2016, and even June 1, 2016, the proportion of visitors from Ontario actually increased.

So, that’s interesting! If you are curious about the data from where you live (it gets pretty detailed), feel free to ask me in the comments!

And the Enthusiasm Award goes to….

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…Vietnamese BBCs!

These are a little closer up, and you can see that Park Kyung is LOVING this! And, oh my God, here‘s the official live broadcast, and they’re having the hardest time because of all the audience noise and movement…the Block B Chaos Effect strikes again!

ETA: Must…not…watch…”Shall We Dance” fan dance cover…after…fan dance cover…. (But man, people went all out! Good on ya!)

EATA: Oh, and hey, this happened yesterday, too!