Test, learn, repeat: upcoming experiments to help you get more patrons



From a design upgrade to our last round of product updates, we’ve been working hard this year to make Patreon the best home for your membership. With that goal in mind, we’ve also been exploring ways to help you gain more patrons and keep them around longer.

But first, in order to make sure these ideas benefit the full spectrum of creators on Patreon, we’re planning to observe and learn through a series of controlled tests. Read on for a preview of our focus areas and how we approach experiments at Patreon.

A focus on gaining — and keeping — patrons

We know that membership growth continues to be a top priority for many of you. 93% of creators who took the Creator Census this year said you’d like to get more patrons and grow your Patreon income. 45% also ranked marketing and promotion as additional support you want most from Patreon.

Based on these signals, as well as other data and creator research, we started asking two key questions:

  1. How can we help potential patrons clearly see the value of your membership, so they’re more likely to sign up?
  2. How can we make it easy for potential patrons to sign up and get started, so they’re more likely to stay for a second month (and beyond)?

In the next few months, you and potential patrons may see some of the updates we’re testing to answer these questions. Here’s a preview of what we’re thinking:

Ways to help potential patrons clearly see the value of your membership:

  • Video previews and other sharing features – so you can give fans on and off Patreon a taste of the content they can unlock as patrons.

  • How tiers are displayed and highlighted – so potential patrons can more easily understand the value of each tier as they choose one.

Ways to improve patrons’ initial experience, so they stay around longer:

  • Onboarding moments that highlight the best of your benefits – including post page design and onboarding emails, so new patrons can quickly and easily engage with your best content.
  • Simpler signup and checkout experiences – so patrons can start enjoying your membership faster.

If you notice changes in any of these areas, let our team know what you think. If you have ideas for improvements to test, share them here!

How we test

Much like creativity itself, testing new ideas takes time and repeated drafts until we reach a final product. (And even then, we’re still tweaking and improving!) If you’re curious, here’s how we approach experimentation at Patreon.

  • Start with goals. In this case, we want to help turn more page visitors into patrons, and keep more patrons subscribing past their first month. Based on past research and data (including the feature request form, community conversations, support tickets, surveys, and more), we form ideas for how we could achieve just that.
  • Form and test hypotheses. A hypothesis is an assumption that we can test. For example:
    • If we visually highlight a tier to potential patrons, then they’ll be more likely to sign up for that tier.
    • If we offer potential patrons the ability to see richer previews of patron-only content, then they’ll be more likely to subscribe to access that content.
  • We then test the hypothesis “in the wild” for a portion of potential patrons. Throughout the test, we monitor both metrics we want to change (for example, whether there’s an increase in the percentage of visitors to your page who sign up) and related metrics to make sure the test isn’t having unintended side effects.
  • Review results and observations. Once we’ve collected enough data, we analyze whether we can confidently attribute the results to the specific changes we tested, rather than pure chance. Sometimes the data confirms what we were thinking. Other times, it surprises us with an unexpected insight.
  • Iterate based on what we’ve learned. If a test is inconclusive or unsuccessful, we’ll refine what we’re testing. We could use a different layout, wording, or color, or go back to the drawing board. If the results look promising, we could expand the test to a wider audience. Once we have confidence that what we’re testing will benefit the majority of creators, we’ll roll it out.

Share your ideas

We’re excited to share our learnings with you as we test, so stay tuned for periodic updates in the next few months! And if you have strategies you’ve tested (or are curious to test) that have helped you attract and keep new patrons, let us know here.