It’s interesting that this marketing campaign is presented to be made for “non-ADP marketplaces”. I can’t help getting the feeling that AJ (and VH) are in the spotlight for the next potential ADP introduction… maybe this is a way to find out more about buyer behaviour when it comes to price? In any case, let it just be clear to anyone that might have missed it, that AJ prices already are so low that slashing them in half isn’t really going to double the sales. The typical AJ buyer is not going to “stock up” on music that wasn’t on the shopping list in the first place. A boil-down of the majority of buyers’ mindset is this: “I’m looking for something like bla bla bla… OK this will do”. Hence, EXPOSURE, RELEVANCE and QUALITY is what drives AJ sales on the regular pages and in the search - and campaigns and features are just “hand-made versions” of this.
Price is important, and the reason many come here, but slashing prices from “low” to “extra low” on this marketplace will most likely only result in slashing revenue, for the reason stated above. While having a track in this and similar collections may get me and my fellow authors a few extra views, IMO a much more efficient way of selective exposure (for a larger number of items than would fit in the Featured Items row) would be to have these featured items ranked higher up in the search result listings. That’s where the real money is.
I can understand why the original Featured Items and the Popular Files page are concepts left “untouched” for several years. Many people see these, go there on a regular basis and they buy a lot this way. When the presumed number crunchers at Envato (hi, are you on the forums much?) run the monthly stats they are surely seeing that these areas are “generating” lots of conversions, so it doesn’t make much sense from a pure conversion perspective to change anything about them. Instead, the focus shifts to other areas and ventures that seem more like “hidden opportunities”, or “uncharted territory”. I feel a need to share my viewpoints on this, as I’m not so sure that running a series of price-slashing campaigns is the way to go.
At this point, there is an unprecedented exposure gap (or canyon) between the 50-60 Featured Items / Popular Files and the other 250K+ tracks that fight it out in Search. The ratio between “exposed” and “not so exposed” is of course growing with the number of approvals. The gap is unprecedented also in terms of sales - top authors make more now than ever.
Since a Featured Item have potential to break into Popular Files, “generating” more sales, and more sales inevitably means being pushed up in search, these items become Mammoth Items (if they are older than a year I call them Dinosaur Items ). To make things worse, the current search engine has a list of some popular keywords that will be sorted almost only by sales - we now see almost all top selling authors RENAMING their top selling items to a cluster of popular keywords from this list. Yes, you guessed it, now they are also sitting at the top of the MOST POPULAR SEARCHES as well. This is where I get really concerned. Search - wasn’t that the place the OTHER 250K+ tracks would have a go? Now these Mammoths are basically everywhere. Sure, it’s great music and these items “deserved” to get ahead - but the compound effect of all this extra exposure is that they suck up a disproportionate amount of sales from the rest of the marketplace. The gap only widens.
Closing (or narrowing) this gap should ideally be the #1 priority - not squeezing out a few extra sales by means of “pushing” other content. Granted, it’s more than likely in a company with more than just a few employees that the people working with these “marketing activities” (which are nice by the way, don’t get me wrong) are not the same people deciding on how to restructure the web pages and the search, however these are not things anyone should be ignorant about. It is the future of AJ that rests on these parameters. The goal is, I think we already agree, to showcase popular music and at the same time make it worthwhile for authors to submit new music. The goal is NOT to create a lottery with less than a 50/250,000 chance to win - IF you happen to have a killer track, that is.
A certain level of luck and timing will always play its part, and I do believe the Popular Files serves as a motivator for many authors, but the numbers are just running away as of now. 55 tracks with a median of 38 sales per week, I guess that roughly equals 2,000 sales for the items on that page, many of which sit there for months. I don’t consider myself an unfortunate author (I finally reached the AJ Top 50 recently), but I can tell you that after 3 years and 500 items I’ve still never had an item with more than 20 sales in a week. I think that goes for 99% of all AJ authors as well. Given that it’s so hard to get in there, and so good to be there, I really think a larger number of authors should be given an actual chance to succeed.
So, the underlying problem is that the Popular Files page is too “sticky” - and this is mainly because Search compounds exposure for featured items - pushing all other items down (especially new ones). It’s like a feedback loop, and the effect it has is out of proportion.
As for the campaign, I think we quickly need to come to terms with the fact that neither marketing campaigns nor lower prices will not in any way change this systematic dominance of the [ popular <=> search ] feedback loop. Some sort of brake must be pulled when an item takes off. It could be as easy as limiting the maximum number of weeks an item can stay on the Popular FIles page - or similarly, how many weeks an item can stay on top of a popular keyword in search.
Many people in these forums constantly complain about their sales, how they are pushed down in search, and how they never break into Popular. Guys, this is the #1 reason. Market saturation and mass approvals is another thing, and yes that makes it difficult for everyone, but you shouldn’t think that the influx of MORE files needs to lead to LESS variety in the Popular Files page.
Envato probably and justifiably wants to give the most exposure to the items with the best conversion rate. That’s fine. Top authors systematically gaming the search engine to get top exposure for their already top selling items, (I’m not blaming them for doing so - they do it because they can), that’s a bit “over the top” .
It just doesn’t feel right to me. It makes me feel less motivated to compete. I don’t like the Popular Files page very much. Just looking at it makes me sad. That’s why I write all these long posts instead of making new music
The PF items actually need not be sorted by sales. Instead they could be just random. More even distribution of sales -> less likelihood of a few items completely jamming the system. The buyers won’t care much. They’re not coming here to find out which track is #23 and which is #24.
Anyway, probably time-limiting exposure on the PF is the way to go. Remember, these items already have had high sales from somewhere else (they needed that to get there, right) so they already clog up the search pages big time. They will continue to sell, no worries, just not in a crazy smoking feedback loop.
Also, divide the PF into categories already. It’s due