Gain New Insights about your Readers using Blockchain Data

Reader Data in Web2

As authors, we begrudgingly acknowledge that Amazon is the largest platform on which we can sell our books. The biggest downside to selling your books on Amazon is that we have zero customer data of our readers. Sure, we can add a call to action to sign up for our newsletter in the hopes that we’ll get their emails, but really, we have no clue who is buying our books. We spend all this money acquiring readers for our books and can’t even retarget them.

Facebook ads are a bit nicer because we can retarget former customers or website visitors using Facebook Pixel. Even if we don’t know who visits our website, we can put one of our book’s ads in front of them again.  

But what if you could see every web3 purchase your readers have ever made?  

Keep reading for how authors can gain new insights about their readers using blockchain data.

New world of Blockchain Data

We’ve been hearing and thinking a lot recently about how blockchain data can provide different insights to creators, we wanted to dig in more. (Note – a really good and in-depth discussion of this is from Mint’s recent podcast – The Web3 Creator’s Guide to Blockchain Data with Erik Reppel. Recommended if you want more details!)

One of the confusing parts for us is that blockchain data is BOTH primarily anonymous AND primarily transparent. While this seems a bit contradictory at first, it makes sense once we understand how it works.

Blockchain data are anonymous because you cannot connect them to real people. Using blockchain data, there is no way to send an email to all your customers (or potential future customers). All you can see from the data are all transactions tied to an account number.

But that is where the transparent part kicks in – and WOW – there is a lot of data there.

(Note two – these next steps are not super easy or straightforward at this stage. But as always, remember that we are SO EARLY)

Gain New Insights about your Readers

OK, so we all agree that Amazon and Facebook (ahem, Meta) are super powerful platforms that are happy to take our money to advertise our books to THEIR users. The only way to transform THEIR users into OUR readers is in hopes that our readers love us enough to subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on social media.

Let’s be honest — how many of you have LOVED an author and then immediately gone and signed up for their newsletter?

Maybe once? Twice in your life? OK, so that strategy means you’re only capturing a teeny tiny percentage of your readers — they are hardcore fans of your writing, and you’re still missing information on 99.99% of your readers.

Using blockchain data, however, web3 authors can now have high value, individual and traceable purchasing data FOR FREE. It’s all RIGHT there for anyone to look at (kind of scary, huh?)

After spending a bit of time on Dune Analytics (a great free platform to make sense of messy blockchain data), we’ve found a handful of dashboards showing the type of aggregated data potentially available for authors.

Dune Analytics Community-Centric Examples

1 – Your overall web3 project activity and sales – built by @RantumBits

2 – Top customers for your project – built by @lukerfrazier (i.e., some projects will see customers buy multiple NFTs to give them more utility and/or more financial upside)

3 – Web3 purchasing history indicating how much previous experience your readers have with crypto – built by @kristineberth

4 – The number and types of NFTs your customers hold in their accounts – built by GreenHaro

5 – The amount of ETH your customers have in their account

(very frustrating, but we can’t find the link / screenshot of this one.  But trust us, it exists and was a pie chart showing how many ETH were in each account, by buckets (i.e. less than 1, 5-10, more than 50, etc.)

Using these data, you can better understand what content would be most engaging and relevant for your readers. 

You can also benchmark your project against your peers to evaluate marketing or other strategies.

With another few clicks, you can even go one level deeper and get account-by-account details of your readers. 

Individual Transaction Data

If someone new purchases your NFT book, you can copy and paste their account number into Etherscan and see every on-chain transaction they have ever made and the current value in their wallet. 

For example, here is Jimmy Fallons account that links to his twitter and shows he has 33 Ethereum, a number of NFTs/Tokens and has made 32 traceable transactions. 

What could you do with this information? 

A lot…actually.

It would increase your knowledge of who your readers are and what they purchase in web3.

You’d know if they’ve purchased any other books in web3, supported art NFTs (you’d get a sense of what type of art they like), and if they are a newbie or a power-user in web3.

You could always team up with other web3 authors and airdrop (or “gift”) a preview of your NFT book to their readers or vice versa if you are in the same genre.

The possibilities are endless, and those are all quick ideas off the tops of our heads.

What we would like to reiterate is that with great transparency, comes great responsibility.

While people trust Amazon with their data because they know it won’t be released to anyone, users might shy away from web3 if they feel their data will be misused.

Don’t abuse web3 reader data, and definitely don’t contact your readers on web2 if they haven’t consented. 

As a web3 creator, it is important that you respect people’s privacy regardless of how transparent transactions are on blockchain.

Your sales data is also available

Another downside of this public transparency is that it makes your sales and purchases public. 

Here is one NFT collection we launched last November based on our trip to Jordan (our trip to Petra, Jordan was amazing, btw!).

As you can quickly tell, no one has bought anything.

These data are like a supercharged Amazon ranking. Now anyone can see your projects’ success (or failure) with specifics. 

Not necessarily a problem, but very different from our usual expectations of privacy (especially financial privacy). 

Next Steps

As we mentioned at the beginning, the central part of this article required a decent amount of playing around and exploring what is available currently. 

Unfortunately, blockchain data are inherently messy, so it isn’t easy to dig into the raw data unless you are very technical.

Luckily though, several tools make it more accessible. Zora from the podcast we mentioned earlier seems to be doing a great job. Dune Analytics provides free access to aggregated data through publicly available dashboards (and you can make your own if you know SQL). 

Etherscan is a fantastic tool for quick analyses of individual accounts. 

Unfortunately, due to the current nature of the space, most of the dashboards we found on Dune Analytics are focused on the INVESTOR community rather than the CREATOR community. We hope/expect that to change in the future.

Overall, we think that blockchain data have the potential to transform what authors know about the communities that own their books. By combining this knowledge with the web3-enabled ways authors can interact with their communities, major opportunities for community building and engagement are unlocked. 

If you know SQL/Dune Analytics and want to work together on a creator-centric dashboard, reach out!

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4 Replies to “Gain New Insights about your Readers using Blockchain Data”

  1. A great insight for those authors who still show zero interest in Web3 and think it doesn’t bring any benefits for them. Uh, except they probably won’t read the article!
    Love the idea of an accessible dashboard that creators can query to extract useful data. Hopefully that’s something that will become simpler and more user-friendly over time. So many authors hate even wrangling with their newsletter software, let alone tackling digital wallet addresses.
    Question: should every book/comic NFT smart contract include something about contacting the buyer? Similar to the requirements for GDPR with email? So we have their consent to contact them? Or is that a given?
    Eg if we airdrop the buyer something, we’re sending it to their wallet ‘without their consent’. What if that airdrop was a gift that included an ad for our next book in the series? Or simplify it further: the airdrop is just a message saying, Hey, my next nft is about to drop, are you interested? Would that be spam?

  2. Great comment! So, GDPR does allow for customer contact because they made a purchase from you, but it gets murky because GDPR was written for web2 interactions and we don’t always have the contact information for web3 readers. Perhaps it’s best to get their consent on the purchasing side with a clear opt-in to your newsletter, Discord channel, or some other means of communication.

    Re: airdrops – I think airdropping a preview of your book is always better than simply a message that could be considered spam. I think as long as you’re adding value, people will be okay-ish with it. I wouldn’t want random NFT messages in my wallet, but I wouldn’t necessarily say no to reading a few chapters for free…

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