Steemit Churn Rate and Engagement level - An analysis
After reading only positives about Steem here; I decided to see if this platform has a good user engagement levels as the rewards part seem to be against the newbies. Steem being a open source blockchain, I decided to check the blockchain data at steemsql.com provided by @arcange.
@arcange has written a detailed post about setting up the connection to his sql server database in excel which is provided below for your reference:
As I primarily use a Macbook I decided not to use the Excel for reporting. Google Sheets is a good and may be even a better alternative to Excel as it is an online spreadsheet and can be accessed across all devices without any license issues and besides this, it is free! So I decided to set up the connection to steemsql server on a Google Sheets. I will post the details about setting up the connection in another post.
Whales, Orcas, Dolphins, Minnows and Planktons
If you check the steemit feed you can find many references to Whales and Minnows. If you are wondering what they are, they denote the level of Steem Power you possess. After scraping through different posts I discovered that Steem Power is derived from Vesting balance in the Accounts table of the database. Below is the categorisation of the users based on the Vests:
|Above 1000 MVests||Whale|
|Above 100 MVests||Orca|
|Above 10 MVests||Dolphin|
|Above 1 MVest||Minnow|
|Below 1 MVest||Plankton|
The more Vesting power you have, more weightage your vote has. If a whale votes your post then it has the potential to appear in the Trending area. So how are these fish distributed in the network?
Distribution of Whales, Orcas, Dolphins, Minnows and Planktons
The Steemit Network has crossed 350,000 users as of today. I queried the Accounts database to get the total number of users classified based on the Vesting Power table above and came up with this distribution:
Planktons or Newbies are the overwhelming majority of users, this is mainly due to a large number of account creations starting from May and has been averaging about 1000 new users daily.
Active User Criteria
Steemit is a social network that emphasises upon voting and commenting so that the members of the community engage and encourage each others. So voting is one of the primary method to identify that an user has been active on the network. I am specifically using the timestamp of when a user last voted a post as the indicator of him/her/it being active in the network.
Quarterly Churn Rate
Churn rate is defined as the percentage rate at which users have stopped subscribing to a service. Putting it in another way; how many users have left the service for good. Facebook for instance; measures its churn rate based on the likes by the user. So Votes could be considered as the Steem equivalent to get the churn rate here hence I am checking the last voted date of the users.
I actually measured the Churn rate based on the users' power level so that we can get an idea of how strong/weak each level is. A user who has not voted in the previous 45 days is considered as a 'Stale' user whereas if the user has not voted for the past 90 days then the user is counted as 'Dead'. Using this as the yardstick I queried the Accounts table are was alarmed at the results:
|User Level||Churn rate||Stale percentage||Active Users (45 days)|
Steemit's churn rate is at a staggering 41.5%. In simple terms 2 out of 5 users have not voted in the last three months or quarter. Particularly the newbies/planktons are leading the churn rate charts with 41.72%; this is really significant as they form 98% of the user base. The stale percentage shows that things might not improve in the near future as about 1 in 5 users have turned stale so far with newbies/planktons again leading the table with 22.23%. The stale percentage for other categories are below 10% but then the newbies/planktons are the majority users. A social network needs it new users to comeback in order to sustain it's popularity.
- Steemit has a serious user engagement problem on comparing 41.5% churn rate with Facebook's 3.5% or even Twitter's 28% when they were providing the churn rates a couple of years back.
- Most of the newbies may have joined the network looking to make a few quick bucks but left disillusioned when their posts were not getting them enough SBDs or are barely being noticed(this post may meet the same fate 😊).
- The steemit hierarchy looks like an oligarchy which is bound to fail as the majority of voting power lies in the hands of less than 2% of the whole populace.
- The home page feed is really inadequate when the user base is expanding exponentially. One can see the same post coming up in the 'Trending' tab for days as if no other quality posts are available. The tags sidebar is also basic and could be of real use if it uses Twitter style trending tags.
- The lack of a full fledged native mobile application might have also contributed to this lack of satisfaction as I always had trouble posting photos through the mobile apps available now.
Steemit is a really good initiative that encourages user to provide good content and get rewarded on attracting mileage. But it has to rethink it's voting mechanism and rejig its home feed to let people discover other's posts easily. If more quality posts get more votes, the authors will be happy and may contribute more to this unique social machine.
Check out my voting pattern analysis at: