OPEN THREAD: Survey Says...

More people are reading this — and fewer readers are commenting on this — than you think.
Publish date:
March 11, 2016
social media, xovain community, surveys

Just like last time — and in the spirit of general XO candidness — I'm sharing the results of the latest survey with you lovely creatures. Personally, I find stuff like this interesting on a couple levels. First, in terms of improving the site, it gives me a way to show the folks that run this joint ("this joint" being Time Inc.) data about our readers straight from the source; second, I genuinely enjoy learning about our audience, their opinions, and their perceptions; third, if those perceptions are a little inaccurate, it gives us an opportunity to tell you a little more about us. SHARING: IT'S WHAT WE WENT TO KINDERGARTEN FOR.

Between 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday and noon today, 2,332 of you answered the latest survey, and here are the results and whatnot.

Someone you trust highly recommends a $50 skincare product that addresses your exact concerns...

Most of you — at 54% — felt this was an average and reasonable price for a quality skincare product, while 3% consider it inexpensive. About 44% of you are looking at those guys like, For real? That $h!t's too pricey.

I've seen comments over the years complaining about when we feature products some consider expensive, but ultimately, it seems the majority of readers are open to getting recommendations that aren't at drugstore-level prices. We'll definitely keep writing about products at all different price points.

Which kinds of beauty stories do you like best?

Y'all are here for makeup. That category grabbed almost half the vote! The next most popular section is skin at 30%, followed by hair, DIY (which isn't a category, per se), fragrance, and wellness, which all got single-digit percentages. Poor little nails got only 1%.

Interestingly — to me, at least — our analytics programmy stuff shows the order of popularity as makeup, hair, skin — all three very close in clicks — with the rest nowhere near the number of category visits. (But then, most of you are clicking on stories directly, as opposed to looking through the category pages.)

Galleries (aka the slideshows that we sometimes have in xoVain articles): how do you feel about them?

I mean, I already know how a lot of you feel about them, but I needed more than just commenter complaints (especially because, as you'll see below, very few of our readers are also regular commenters) to get the ball rolling on improvements, so these results will help make a difference.

Most of you — 70% — don't like the slideshows, while 30% of you enjoy or DGAF about them.

So here's what I can tell you, and also ask of you. Lately, we've been encouraged by The Powers That Be to use galleries as often as possible in articles that lend themselves to the format; so, like, tutorials where the steps that go with each photo are a sentence or two, or examples of different colors of a certain makeup product. Some of you don't like this because you feel it interrupts the flow of the article, others haven't noticed the buttons on mobile that hide the text so you can see the image better, and a small handful have gotten a straight-up error.

Believe me: I'm listening, and I'm working on reaching the best compromise possible. That means finding a sweet-spot amount and type of posts that feel sufficient to our Time Inc. Overlords without aggravating the average reader, and also working with our developers to make it a better user experience (e.g. text appearing under or next to the images) for the posts that will include galleries.

A few commenters have been like, "Why don't you just stop using them?" Well, it's not that simple. It would be a different story if I were a one-woman show who makes all the decisions and does the coding 'round these parts, but since I'm not, changes can't happen overnight. I'm asking you guys for patience and perspective. (Remember when I opened up the conversation about syndicated posts? Notice anything different lately about the frequency?)

In the meantime, for those of you who aren't sure how to work the whole text-overlay and getting-to-the-next-photo thing: On any laptop or desktop computer, you should see a "hide info"/"show info" option that collapses the text for as long as you'd like; on mobile, you should see an "i" button that does the same thing. On mobile, there should also be a little diagonal arrow button that makes the image bigger; on laptops and desktops, there's a magnifying glass icon that does this. To get to the next photo on laptops and desktops, there should be arrows flanking the photos; on mobile, just swipe left or right.

Galleries will never completely go away, but I am working on making them the most user-friendly, only-on-very-select-articles experience as possible.

What year did you start reading xoVain?

A hearty welcome to the 3% of you who just started reading xoVain this year!

The rest of you are split up over 2013, 2014 and 2015 pretty much in thirds.

Do you also read xoJane beauty articles?

Most of you — 63% — do. Tynan thanks you.

Do you leave comments on xoVain articles?

More than half of you — 54% — have never left a comment on an xoVain article, and a quarter of you comment "very rarely." Just 18% comment "sometimes," and only 4% of you consider yourself frequent commenters.

Considering how many comments our articles get, this may come as a surprise to you, especially if you're one of the heartbreakingly vast majority who underestimate how many people read xoVain...

How many people (unique visitors) do you think read xoVain each month?

The range that got the highest number of guesses, at 27%, was 10,000 to 49,999 people. Not even close. Some of you — 6% — even think that xoVain gets fewer than 10,000 unique visitors a month. I'm hurt.

Actually, all but 5% of you underestimated our monthly readership, and only 3% of you guessed correctly: xoVain gets between 1.5 and 2 million unique visitors each month. (To the 2% of you who guessed more than 2 million, you'll be right soon.)

And finally...

On which of the following social media outlets do you follow xoVain?

Not everyone who answered the survey answered this question because — let's face it — maybe you don't follow us on any social media platforms. But those who did answer showed that our strongest reader following is on Instagram, followed by Facebook, followed by Twitter.

Here's a dirty little secret for ya: most online publications pay for followers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We never have. SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS, ACTIVATE.

But hey, there's no shame in reminding you guys to follow us if you don't already, especially since our new social media editor, Caitlin, is doing an awesome job.

That's all, folks! Feel free to talk about the results. I'll try to answer any questions you might have about them. And, of course, anything else that's on your mind is a totally valid topic, too.