What's the point of Flickr stats?

Graph of photostream and picture views over time.

Graph of photostream and picture views over time.

Back in December, Flickr launched a stats feature for its paid members. While the pages and charts are beautifully done, I don’t think they are as useful a they could be. While it’s true that the listings of referrers from “Yesterday” and “All Time” are useful for finding out who linked to you (and therefore who may be using your images, if you wish to find that out), it’s not very good at giving the “why” behind traffic trends. Once you get more than a day out, it’s impossible to find out what’s behind the numbers shown in the chart at the top of the page.

According to Flickr, this is my most-interesting (but by far not my most-visited) photo.

According to Flickr, this is my most-interesting (but by far not my most-visited) photo.

For instance, in the image above, you can see the “Daily aggregate views” on my account from Aug. 28 through yesterday (stats are a day behind). On Sept. 8, there was what a appears to be a huge jump up to 46 views. Sometimes there is a spike in views after I post a new photo, but I hadn’t posted any new photos since Sept. 1, and that batch of photos has a combined seven views, all-time. While this spike to 46 views seems, on this chart, to be an unusual high, perhaps there is merely a problem of scale. Maybe the baseline over time is closer to 46 than zero. But, since I can only see this chart for the current month, there is no way to compare with past performance. You can look at the view history of an individual photo, so I went through my top-ten most-visited photos, and only one had any views in the last month (and that one just had two views, both after Sept. 8).

Perhaps there is some combination of stats pages that can explain a spike like Sept. 8’s, but I couldn’t find it. Fortunately for me, it is just idle curiosity. Perhaps that is the case with the majority of Flickr users?

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