With both the long-awaited Meteor 1.0 launch and Worldwide Meteor Day behind us, I thought I’d take a moment to look back and share some numbers.

We did quite a bit of preparatory work leading up to Meteor 1.0. We updated the book twice (including once just a few hours before the 1.0 launch), and we set up the Starter Edition, a special free version of the book containing the first eight chapters.

Traffic

The Starter Edition was linked right from the new Meteor homepage and mentioned in their emails. The results are pretty self-explanatory:

Unique users for the period of October 28th to November 6th, 2014.

Between October 28th to November 6th, 2014, we had:

  • 50,705 sessions (with an average duration of 3m53s).
  • 32,814 unique users, with a peak at 10,326 users on October 29th.
  • 141,610 pageviews.

The overwhelming majority of users (80% of them) came from the Meteor homepage, but we had some good traffic from Twitter, too (4.6%).

We also received links from Heise.de, Habrhabr.ru, and Codezine.jp, which goes to show that interest in Meteor is not limited to the english-speaking world (and speaking of other languages, have you checked out our community translation project yet?).

Conversions

Our traffic stats were good, but what was really amazing was our conversion rate. We had 16,883 people sign-up to get the Starter Edition during that 10-day period. That’s right, a conversion rate of over 50%.

This also means we increased the size of our email list by 154%. In just 10 days we more than doubled the list we had been building for over two years.

Our MailChimp email list growth over the past two years.

We did lose a few people by asking them to use or create a Meteor Developer Account before they were able to access the book. According to our stats, only 71% of users who clicked the “Get the Starter Edition” button actually followed through and created an account – which is still a pretty good rate.

Users clicking the sign-up button versus actual user sign-ups.

Social Media

We had an amazing response on Twitter, with 499 tweets of the Starter Edition page. As a point of comparison, the Wired article about the 1.0 launch got 324 tweets, despite Wired having a much larger audience than us (at least, we hope so for them!).

Sales

“That’s all well and good”, you might say, “but at the end of the day you’re giving away a big part of your book for free! People won’t have a reason to buy it anymore!”

Well, it turns out freemium works. Not only did we not lose money, but in fact the extra traffic and attention around the book resulted in sales that dwarf what we usually see.

As a point of comparison, here’s the 10-day period just before the 1.0 launch, with 106 sales:

Discover Meteor sales from October 18 to 27.

The green graph represents revenue, and the light and dark grey bars are views (people opening the Gumroad popup) and sales.

Not bad by any means, in fact a little better than our average, probably due to our pre-1.0 update and interest around Meteor 1.0 picking up.

Yet that looks nearly flat when you add the next 10 days:

Discover Meteor sales from October 18 to November 6.

We ended up doing 509 sales in that 10-day period. Apart from our initial launch, the only other time we ever got that many sales in such a short time was when (surprise!) we made the whole book free for a week-end. I told you freemium works!

Dumb Mistakes

Even though we got outstanding results, this doesn’t mean we didn’t make our fair share of dumb mistakes. And most of them stemmed from a very common problem: we forgot to look at things from our users’ point of view.

We hadn’t anticipated that some of our previous buyers might want to check out the Starter Edition out of curiosity. When they did, it actually created a second, duplicate account for them, thus preventing them from accessing their previous, regular edition of the book.

We apologize again to any user affected by that double account problem. After a few MongoDB incantations, the problem should now be solved for good.

Creating Confusion

We also had quite a few people who assumed only this new Starter Edition was up to date for Meteor 1.0, when in fact all versions of the book were updated simultaneously and free of charge. We’ve provided free updates from the start, and it’s become so natural to us that we didn’t even think about reiterating that point.

So what should’ve been a great selling point for us (“free update for Meteor 1.0!”) instead turned into a source of confusion for our users (“where do I go to get the latest version of the book?”).

Despite these issues, we still consider the whole thing a huge success. But when it comes to our users, we’ll certainly be more careful about our assumptions in the future.

The Product Spectrum

Convincing someone to spend $100 rather than $10 is hard, but the real battle is convincing someone to pay for your product in the first place.

In other words, when you’re starting out it’s easier to charge a lot of money to a small number of people, than charge a lot of people a few dollars each – something I call the product spectrum.

The Product Spectrum.

But as your product grows, I believe it makes sense to start moving down the spectrum and try reaching a larger audience. That’s exactly what we want to do with Discover Meteor: as Meteor grows, we want to make it easier for people to get started and become part of the community.

And we know price is still a big barrier for many, which is why we came up with the idea for the Starter Edition.

What’s Next

That doesn’t mean we’re forgetting our early supporters: after all, the very reason we’re now able to give part of our book away is precisely that previous buyers trusted us with their hard-earned cash.

So now that the 1.0 launch is behind us, we’ll get back to work coming up with new content for the Regular, Full, and Premium editions. You can expect a new and updated Animations chapter, as well as more exclusive interviews with Meteor insiders.

So stay tuned, and if you’re one of the lucky 17,300 people who managed to get the Starter Edition, we hope you’re having fun discovering Meteor!