Eager for more statistics? Here we go, for part 2 of the census analysis! There’s actually only a couple of things left we’d like to go over in this post, so let’s dive straight into it.
First up, let’s talk about blog content — what are postcrossers’ favorite topics to read about here?
This was a multiple choice question, and of the people who replied, most like to read about postal history and interesting postal facts… which is great, because so do we! 😊 Statistics and friendship stories are also popular, with the rest of the choices being a little more evenly distributed. There’s definitely something for everyone! This blog is actually a part of the website we’re rather proud of, as there has been an average of one post per week here for the last 14 years, if you can believe it! Looking back at the long archive of posts is really gratifying.
Moving on to the big questions… what do people like or dislike the most about Postcrossing? Let’s look at the things that annoy us all first:
Keep in mind that this was a multiple answer question, so people could pick up to 3 replies or write a different one. This was an open question in the previous census, so the answers were a bit all over the place… 😅 We tried to condense the main replies we saw, so we could get a better idea of their distribution.
Clearly, expired or lost postcards are a big source of frustration with this hobby, as no one likes to send a postcard that ends up not being acknowledged. Over the years, the Postcrossing system has been improved to include several automated rules and triggers focused on reducing this issue, including setting accounts to inactive, sending reminders, and blocking or closing accounts. Because of these automations, the percentage of postcards that goes unregistered has been steadily decreasing over the years (*), and we’ll continue to do our best to further minimize it. We know that this percentage will never be zero, but we still have a few different ideas that we’re planning to test throughout the year that will hopefully further lower these numbers.
Other annoying things include the lack of geographical diversity, demanding profiles and the fact that the website isn’t very mobile-friendly yet… all things we’ve been addressing and tweaking in different ways, and which continue to be on the top of on our long to-do list. Beyond these big ones, some postcrossers also remarked on empty registration messages, postcards with short messages, empty profiles or those written in languages other than English, or receiving too many postcards at once, among other issues. We think these are fair grievances, and having a clear ranking of their “annoyingness level” helps us prioritize how we tackle them.
And, last but not least, what do people like best about Postcrossing?
We purposely didn’t include sending and receiving postcards as an option, as we assume everyone likes those parts (and there was a separate question about that). Beside those, contacting with people all over the world seems to be the #1 thing members like about Postcrossing, but its a tight margin separating that answer from others like the surprise and randomness, learning about other countries and cultures, or being able to make others happy. Less people highlight being part of a community or the creative aspect of the hobby, which we definitely understand, as those are not for everyone.
And that’s a wrap on this year’s census analysis! We haven’t yet finished going through all the feedback on the last question of the census, in which we asked you to give us ideas of things to improve or just share your thoughts about Postcrossing — the number of comments is a bit overwhelming, in a very nice way. 😊 A big thank you to all of you who took the time to fill out the census, for your kind words and for the many ideas of things to improve and think about!
(*) There are two notable hiccups in the expiration rates lowering trend over the years, which we monitor closely as we know these are important to Postcrossing. Mid-2017, Russian Post had an issue that caused lots of mail to be stuck somewhere for a few months, causing the postcards to expire before being delivered later in the year. Also, in the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, when flights started being cancelled and there were no alternative routes in place, a lot of mail got stuck for a long time. Both these incidents have been resolved (through improvements to the mail service, and with the help of the Postal Monitor), and the overall trend continues to slope downwards, towards a lower expiration rate.