A guide to Substack metrics

On your Substack dashboard, there's three main places you'll want to check to see how your publication is doing: Posts, Subscribers, and Stats

Posts

The Posts page tells you about individual posts you've published and where your readers came from.

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  • Total views: The number of views on your post, similar to page views. They include both web, email, or the Substack app. 
  • Free subscription: The number of people who subscribed to your email list from that post.
  • Paid subscription: The number of people who signed up for a paid subscription from that post.
  • Shares: The number of people who clicked “Share” from that post.
  • Recipients: The number of unique people who received an email or Substack app notification about this post. 
  • Open rate: The percentage of people who viewed this post after receiving an email or Substack app notification about it.
  • Link clicks: The percentage of openers who clicked a given link in your post.
  • Traffic sources: The top traffic sources that readers found a post from.

Subscribers

The Subscribers dashboard tells you about who’s signed up to your publication and how it's growing.

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  • All subscribers: Includes free and paid subscribers.

  • Paid subscribers: The number of paying subscribers on your list. This includes gifts, complimentary, and free trial subscriptions. To see a more detailed breakdown, click the "Paid subscribers" tab on the graph, which will show you paid subscribers, comps, gifts, and free trials.

  • Gross annualized revenue: How much money you make per year, before Substack’s fees and credit card transaction fees (charged by Stripe). This figure is annualized, meaning that we look at your revenue at any given time and figure out what it would look like over the course of 12 months, assuming the mix of monthly and annual subscriptions remains constant. 

For publications with paid subscriptions enabled

The Paid Subscribers Growth chart helps you identify patterns in new paid subscribers, upgrades from free to paid, downgrades from paid, and expirations.

  • New subscribers refers to the number of individuals who were not free subscribers when they purchased a paid subscription on the specified date.

  • Existing subscribers upgrading from free refers to the number of individuals who were free subscribers when they purchased a paid subscription on the specified date.

  • Unsubscribes refers to the number of subscribers who unsubscribed from the publication on the specified date. Users who unsubscribe will still have paid access and be counted as a paid subscriber until their existing subscription expires.

  • Expirations refers to the number of subscribers who had previously unsubscribed and have now lost their paid access on the specified date. Expired subscribers may either downgrade to a free subscription or churn off completely.

Stats

The Stats page displays metrics for up to five categories: Traffic, Emails, Unsubscribes, Network, and Recommendations. The Unsubscribes and Network tabs are only visible for paid publications. 

Traffic

The Total traffic section tells you about the sum of all visits to your publication across platforms. You can see a 30 day, 90 day, or all time view.

Top sources shows where visitors came from and and how many subscribed. 

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  • Visitors: The number of visitors who've been to your Substack (includes any post, not just your homepage).

  • Source: Where your visitors came from, also known as referral traffic. 

Under your referral traffic, if you see "about" or "post" in parentheses, such as "facebook.com (post)", it means your visitors came to that type of page on your Substack (e.g. your About page or a post you’ve published). Other websites can pass their own referral information through links, however, so not everything you see in parentheses is something that we track.

Emails

The Emails section provides a table of data for every post you send out, including the title, send date, audience, number of email deliveries and opens, open rate, free and paid subscriptions in 1 day, likes, comments, and shares.

By default, the table is sorted by most recent posts first, but you can sort it by different criteria  by clicking on the relevant column header. For example, to see your posts with the highest open rate, click the “Open Rate” header and it will sort from highest to lowest. Click the same header again, and you will see your posts sorted from lowest to highest open rate instead. 

Unsubscribes

If you have paid subscriptions, the Unsubscribes section provides you with a list of reasons why previous paid subscribers chose to unsubscribe from your publication. Your unsubscribe stats also include their emails and unsubscribe dates.

Network

If you have paid subscriptions, the Network section tells you how many of your paid subscribers came via the Substack network. The Substack publication and payment ecosystem makes it simple for readers to find and subscribe to their favorite publications.

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The chart and table break down your paid subscribers into four categories based on how they came to your publication:

  • Substack platform features: Readers who subscribed as a direct result of Substack’s platform features, such as leaderboards, recommendations, or promotions.

  • Substack saved credit cards: Readers who could subscribe to your publication in only one click because they already had a payment method on file with Substack.

  • Substack existing accounts: Readers who could more easily subscribe to your publication because they already had a Substack account.

  • Imported accounts: Readers who you imported.

  • New accounts: Readers who came directly to your publication.

If you have Podcasts enabled, learn more here about your Podcast dashboard.

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