End of Campaign Survey Analysis
From mid-July until the end of September, we ran an audience survey to learn more about you, what you liked from Season 1, and how we can make a Season 2 that appeals both to us and to you. Over the two months, 34 people responded.
Here are some of the results I thought were really neat, as well as an explanation for why we asked some of the questions we did. (Also, any graph that is a pie chart is percentages, while any chart that is a bar graph is numbers.)
The first place to start when looking at your audience is demographics. While no group is a monolith, by looking at the cross-section of all of your demographic information, you can still narrow down what your average audience member looks like pretty well. At least, the average audience member that answers surveys; this detail is something to keep in mind for both this section and especially our social media section, as we used social media to promote the End of Campaign Survey a lot.
For example, our average audience member is a queer white adult who hasn’t reached middle age. They may be neurodivergent.
13-19 - 15%
20-29 - 41%
30-39 - 32%
40+ - 9%
No Answer - 3%
Of the demographics, this continues to be the one with the most opportunity for growth. Considering the demographic makeup of our show and the audience makeup of a lot of the shows we advertise on, I’m not particularly surprised that our (survey-answering) audience is overwhelmingly white, but it’s IMO a reminder that we still have a lot of work to do concerning being intentional with how we handle race, as well as the promises we made to further support marginalized creators.
White - 33
Black - 1
Asian - 1
Latinx - 0
Native American - 0
No Answer - 1
No demographic can be easily summed up by ticking a handful of boxes, but I found that this question in particular would really benefit from being split into two parts. The first is concerning how someone’s gender relates to their assigned sex at birth. The second concerns what that gender is. Even with this split, there’s a lot of overlap (Nonbinary/Agender and Gender Fluid appear in both graphs, and all of the users who answered Transgender also answered Nonbinary/Agender), but this at least gives us a small snapshot.
One thing I would do when creating out the survey next time is really encourage users to select “cis,” “nonbinary/agender,” or “transgender” in addition to the other gender options. This is because, due to over 1/3rd of respondents not specifying any of those options, it’s more difficult to parse out the gender split of our audience. How many of those “no answer” responses were cis folks not thinking of specifying that they were cis (as we don’t often think about our cisness)? How many were folks who were uncomfortable answering that question? While it’s easy to just ignore that 1/3rd of “No Answer” responses, they allow for a lot of variability.
Cis - 9
Nonbinary - 10
Transgender/Gender Fluid - 3
No Answer - 13
Man - 14
Woman - 13
Nonbinary - 10
Gender Fluid - 1
This is a result I’m really happy to see. While there's a danger in treating demographics as a sign of how well a show handles representation or a sign that a show is a safe space that will never make mistakes concerning those demographics, seeing a wide spread of sexual orientations, especially the often erased ace, aro, bi, and pan identities at least tells me that we’re making a show many people with those identities are comfortable interacting with. And as someone with an ace, queer, nonbinary partner, that makes me really glad.
Ace/Aro - 8
Bi/Pan - 13
Gay/Lesbian - 0
Queer - 1
Heterosexual - 9
Chose not to answer - 5
Hearing - 1
Vision - 2
Neurodivergent - 12
None - 17
No Response - 5
Engagement with QF:
From this point on, a lot of the answers you’ll see below aren’t quite what we got in the survey. For example, for the question “How did you hear about Quest Friends?,” we received 18 unique answers across 34 respondents. While these unique answers can provide insightful details (e.g. we learned that one person learned about us from a Totalus Rankium shoutout, but not the crossover episode itself), they’re not as useful when trying to figure out things like “which promotional method works best.” As such, I tried to compile unique answers into overarching categories.
How did you learn about the show?
The purpose of this question is relatively straightforward - by knowing which methods of advertisement brought in the most audience members, we can have better targeted advertisement in the future. This isn’t foolproof - for example, while 9% of audience members learned about us via a crossover and 18% came from a (non-TAZ) paid promo, we only had two crossovers appear on other shows’ feeds (The Amber Clave and Pontifacts), we did paid advertisements on at least half a dozen shows. If we had more crossovers appear on other feeds, that 9% might be closer to the 18% of “other promo”
The Adventure Zone Promo - 24%
Other Promo (e.g. One Shot, GHOSTPUNCHER) - 18%
Word of Mouth - 12%
Social Media - 12%
Search (one was for Numenera, one was for RPG) - 12%
Recommended by Podcast Platform (e.g. spotify) - 9%
Crossover - 9%
Knew a Creator - 6%
What made you decide to originally listen?
Since we’re now venturing into questions with unique answers, I’m going to start highlighting specific answers I think are either insightful or just fun. For example:
"BomBARDed had a really good pitch." Based on this survey and other analysis we’ve done, we seem to have some significant crossover with the actual play BomBARDed, a musical D&D podcast. I’m not sure exactly why, but it seems like our ad for them worked particularly well. I’ll need to find the episode it was in and check it out - at this point, I still don’t know if the “really good pitch” was something I wrote, something the BomBARDed crew added, or a mixture of the two. In either case, I’m definitely advertising on their show again in the future.
“I can't remember if i started listening to Quest Friends or BomBARDed first, but both provide an escape that I don't get from any other media.”
“My son is the creator of this podcast.” Thanks Dad.
Some other insights:
Of the three respondents who learned about us via the crossover episode, two specifically mentioned liking that episode as the reason they tried out the show itself. It seems like getting folks to listen to us make an episode gives them a pretty good
Beyond just “sounding fun,” the Numenera system itself was by far the second most popular reason people tried us out. Which isn’t super surprising; not only are actual plays frequently cited as resources for new players, Numenera, despite its popularity, only has about half a dozen podcasts. Linking yourself to a system is going to bring in fans of that system. It’s part of the reason why I’m worried about using a custom system for Season 2, and also why I made the system a “Powered by the Apocalypse” one - that way, we at least are associated with that brand. That being said, I’d be curious which of the Numenera podcasts out there have the most Numenera fans as audience members. The system may be why people started Quest Friends!, but it certainly doesn’t seem to be the reason they stayed.
Sounded Neat/Fun - 14
Numenera - 8
Needed a new podcast - 3
Highly Recommended - 3
Crossover Episode was Fun
Other - 3
Why did you continue listening?
There are multiple places where a potential fan could be lost. They could never learn about the show because we didn’t market it correctly. They could learn about the show but not find any reason to try it out. Or they could learn about the show and try it out, but realize that the show doesn’t actually do the thing they tried it out for (e.g. I can’t imagine Numenera purists would love the way I just throw out and change lore left and right).
Since our survey only included current listeners and not ones who had left the show (although I’d love to run a survey like that), we can’t be sure why potential listeners who tried out the show left. However, by looking at the reasons why people tried out Quest Friends! and comparing them to the reasons why they kept listening, we can figure out how to more authentically promote the show in the future. Plus, it helps us get an idea of what, to our fans, is really the core of the show.
And for us, it seems like our characters, chemistry, and all around fun are the things that keep folks coming back. Which makes me glad, because those reasons are why I come back, too.
"Not many actual plays have that genuine feeling of a group of friends playing a tabletop game while also sustaining an intriguing story"
"Each arc presented an innovative concept that seemed to escalate on interesting ideas"
"The relationships between all of the characters feels very wholesome."
"... Everything above, plus your focus on comfort and social causes and the cozy understanding dynamic the group has together."
"Brilliant production and choice of music."
"good show :)"
Characters - 17
Story - 13
Hosts & Host Chemistry - 12
Humor/Silly/Fun - 10
Good Vibes - 3
EMOTIONAL FEELINGS - 3
Editing - 2
Nondescript Answer - 2
Worldbuilding - 1
Roleplaying - 1
No Answer - 1
What was the first episode you listened to?
Did you know we have recommended first episodes? Apparently not, because unless you listened to our Pontifacts crossover on their feed, you almost certainly started at Episode 1. This is REALLY helpful information for me, because it tells me that, warts and all, Turingtown is going to be someone’s introduction to the show, and if I’m going to want to encourage a new listener to start at Season 2, I’m going to have to update our first episode itself in order to tell them that.
Episode 1 - 91%
Frozen Factory - 6%
No Answer - 3%
What chapters have you listened to?
This chart has way too many fields if you look at it on its own, so instead of showing that graph, I’m going to go through the three main insights:
Most regular chapters were listened to by everyone, although about 10% of respondents hadn’t gotten to The Obsidian Cloud by the time of the survey.
About 90% of our audience also listens to The Cookie Crew. There wasn’t much drop off between Cookie Crew episodes, either; if you listened to one of them, you listened to all of them.
About 80% of our audience listened to the Bonus Episodes.
It is important to note, however, that this survey was originally advertised during The Cookie Three. Additionally, people who answer surveys are likely to bigger fans of the show, and are therefore more likely to listen to all of the episodes. That being said, this question was helpful for learning that most fans will listen to the entire show and not specific chapters.
And for anyone curious about 50-60% of our Season 1 audience has been keeping up with the Mid-Season episodes. It wasn’t part of the survey, but I still think is interesting.
What is your favorite chapter?
"A Murder Mystery Dating Sim? A variety of fun and unique NPCs? Two Original Songs Hell Yeah!"
It’s bloated! It’s got a million NPCs! And it’s… everyone’s favorite Chapter. Well, not everyone, but it seems like Crime and Courtship was by far the most popular Chapter of Season 1. And I can see why! The consistent cast of NPCs meant that I was able to flesh out most of them more than I would in other chapters, the daily visual novel nature allowed for a lot more slice of life shenanigans, and the mashed-up pile of influences (Titanic + school drama + dating sim + pre-murder mystery + musical + airship) meant that it had a wholly unique identity that couldn’t be traced back to one source. Learning that Crime and Courtship was so beloved has encouraged me double down harder than ever on my Season 2 plans, where we’ll be doing two-episode adventures that are compiled into twenty or so episode-long arcs (the length of Crime and Courtship). That way we can have small adventures that focus on gimmicky nonsense (like doing a Dating Sim), while also having a overarching plot that carries through the entire arc.
I’m not sure what to do about the Memory episodes, though. On one hand, they were fun opportunities for exploration and seemed to all be beloved, but on the other hand, they were very specific tools we used for a story about memories. At the moment, I plan on taking the exploration from those episodes (see the “gimmicky nonsense” mentioned in the above paragraph), as well as the opportunity to take breaks between arcs, but I think it’s best to leave the specific memory episodes back in the campaign that needed them most.
Crime and Courtship - 10
Questionable Measures - 6
Elee's Memory - 6
One Neon Night - 4
Hop's Memory - 3
Misha's Memory - 3
Xoc's Memory - 2
Cookie Crew - 1
No Favorite - 4
No Response - 4
What is your favorite individual episode?
It’s really interesting to me that, of all the episodes of the show, Anyone Can Wear the Mask was the only one mentioned twice. I’m not fully surprised; as one respondent said, "It gave me an easier way to introduce people to you.” That being said, the editing of that episode was a lot less intensive than usual; and having that episode be listed as a favorite episode twice has helped me realize that maybe I don’t need to be quite as intensive with editing as I used to be. I’ve actually changed to the “fast” editing style since Uneasy Lies the Head w/Tom. Have you noticed?
Anyone Can Wear the Mask - 2
Ep. 50: Crime and Courtship, Part 15 (Emotional conversations on the Prodigious) - 1
Ep. 55: Crime and Courtship, Part 19 (The Obsidian Iceberg) - 1
Ep. 60: One Neon Night, Part 2 (Race against the Iron Wind) - 1
Ep. 68-69: One Neon Night, Parts 10-11 (The big twist of One Neon Night. You know the one.) - 1
The Daemon Saloon - 1
Do you use the Quest Friends website?
Yes - 66%
No - 34%
If yes, what do you use the website for?
Wow, y’all really like bonus content! Is there any particular bonus content you’d like to see added to the website (that isn’t already on our Patreon)?
Bonus Content - 16
Transcripts - 10
Episode Summaries - 7
Listen to Episodes - 1
No Answer - 1
Are you subscribed to us on Patreon?
At the end of the Season 1, we had 29 patreons and about 500 other audience members. This means about 50% of Patreon subscribers answered the survey, while 4% of other listeners answered. This means, across this entire survey, Patreon subscribers are represented far more than everyone else.
No - 60%
Yes - 40%
If yes, what backer rewards do you enjoy the most?
These percentages were determined based on the number of respondents that could get that reward (for example, only 2 respondents were at the “quarterly print” level, so I only factored in their responses for this question). That being said, these answers align pretty well with a separate Patreon survey we did asking patrons about which benefits they liked best. Earlier I mentioned that characters and host chemistry are the things respondents liked most about Quest Friends!, and the favored benefits here (short stories, video clips of gameplay) and in the other survey (a bonus podcast discussing the most recent episode, a bonus podcast that’s an actual play) seem to reinforce that.
Short Stories - 60% (6/10)
Gameplay Clips - 57% (8/14)
Monthly Zine - 50% (2/4)
Quarterly Print - 50% (1/2)
GM Notes - 38% (5/13)
NPC Shout-Out - 30% (3/10)
Music Downloads - 23% (3/13)
Twitter Shout-Out - 7% (1/14)
HD Wallpapers - 7% (1/14)
If no, what would convince you to back us?
Having more money - 7
Want to see what Season 2 is like first - 1
More one-shots & short campaigns - 1
Release bonus content when episodes are delayed (like Campaign: Skyjacks) - 1
Item & NPC creation tier - 1
Not sure - 1
What social media do you most commonly use?
Compared to shows of a similar size, we don’t see an awful lot of social media traction. And while I’m sure a lot of it is how we handle social media (it’s definitely not my forte), I wanted to see if the social media platforms we used were the ones our audience did, as well.
Twitter - 10
Don’t/Infrequently Use Social Media - 10
Tumblr - 7
Instagram - 4
Facebook - 2
Reddit - 1
What social media do you follow Quest Friends on?
Something worth noting is that twitter’s value is twice that of the previous question, while tumblr is only one higher. This tells me that a lot of people who follow us on twitter might not be avid twitter users, but those who follow us on tumblr have tumblr as their preferred social media platform. Which IMO means I need to find new fun things to do there.
Twitter - 20
Tumblr - 8
Facebook - 6
Don’t use social media - 8
Use social media, don’t follow QF - 2
We stream sometimes! And while it’s not our main focus, I thought it’d be helpful to know which things our audience would enjoy most. Unsurprisingly, content similar to the podcast itself was the most popular, being chosen even by users who said they were not interested in streams.
Among the “Other” answers was a request for stream VODs and a reminder that timezone differences will prevent certain audience members from joining streams, especially if they’re at consistent times. Maybe I should make a secondary stream recording YouTube channel…
“Live Show” feat. New Characters & Indie Systems - 22
“Live Show” feat. Numenera & Flashback Future - 21
Other Performances (e.g. Trivia Night) - 20
Video Games (Multiplayer) - 17
TTRPG Discussion/Analysis - 15
Hobby Streams (e.g. Emily’s Art) - 14
Podcasting Discussion/Analysis - 11
Video Games (Singleplayer) - 11
Not interested in Streams - 9
Other - 4
What is your favorite other fiction podcast(s)?
This question helps us in two ways. One, it helps us further identify our “brand” by seeing what other shows our audience enjoys and figuring out where we overlap. Second, it’s a great way to figure out who to advertise on (hey look, BomBARDed is there again)! If a show has a number after it, it was mentioned that number of times; otherwise, it was mentioned once.
The Adventure Zone - 6
Dungeons and Daddies - 4
BomBARDed - 4
Not Another D&D Podcast (NADDPOD) - 3
Welcome to Night Vale - 3
Old Gods of Appalachia - 3
Queer Dungeoneers - 2
Explorers Wanted - 2
Fandible - 2
Hit the Bricks
The Penumbra Podcast
The Magnus Archives
The Lost Mountain
Friends at the Table
The Magnus Archives
Beef & Dairy Network
Critical Role (long though might not finish that one)
Shadows at the Door
Join the Party
Dames and Dragons
Other RPG Stories
What is your favorite other non-fiction podcast(s)?
So why we’d want to know about other fiction podcasts our audience enjoys is pretty straightforward. Why non-fiction podcasts, though? In a word: Pontifacts. The success of our Pontifacts crossover has convinced me that there is an audience out there who would be interested in fiction podcasting, they just need to hear it. So don’t be surprised if you hear bonus episodes featuring Quest Friends! in non-fiction podcasts over the next few months.
Totalus Rankium - 4
My Brother, My Brother, and Me (MBMBaM) - 4
Ologies with Alie Ward - 2
The Empty Bowl - 2
Last Podcast on the Left
Shut Up & Sit Down (SU&SD)
Oh No Ross and Carrie
Left, Right and Center
History of English
Normal Not Normal
Yo, is this Racist?
How to Save a Planet
Anthropocene Reviewed (although this person didn't listen to stuff much, they said)
The Folklore Podcast
Overly Sarcastic Podcast
Do you find the "Previously On" segments helpful? Why or why not?
Some reasons provided by respondents who answered “Yes:”
“My memory is terrible!”
“It also gives hints about what information is most important for the plot going forward.”
“I listen to a number of other podcasts, so it can be useful to be reminded of what was happening.”
“I feel like certain bits give too much of the episode away, but it is nice to be reminded of certain details and cheeky set-up.”
“A lot of stuff happens both in your games and real life, some reminding helps.”
“With the 2 week gap between episodes, I often forget what happened.“
Yes - 85%
No - 9%
No Answer - 6%
Things to Include in Season 2
A lot of the information above was really formative in figuring out exactly what we wanted Season 2 to be. For example, knowing that people liked our characters and fun chemistry is a good way to know that we shouldn’t pivot to super serious, lore-heavy storytelling (not that we were going to, anyway). That being said, there were three questions that I’ve lumped together here under the banner of “Things to Include in Season 2”
Is there anything we can do (or should continue doing) to increase accessibility and help you feel welcome as a listener?
What is something about Season 1 you'd like to continue into Season 2?
What is something new or different you'd like to experience in Season 2?
We had a lot of “Other” answers (21 total), which I’ve listed below.
Keep the Group Dynamic/Out of Character Banter - 7
Quality Editing - 3
More Ninth World - 3
Fun Characters - 3
"Wacky Characters like Salad Raptor, 10/10 npc"
Content Notes (with time stamps) - 2
Great Roleplaying - 2
"There've been moments that nearly felt scripted with how good they were."
Moments of Antagonism between PCs - 2
"I think...maybe a little less everyone-getting-along-at-first. I don't remember Turingtown *that* well, but everyone made a cohesive party pretty quickly. It'd be neat if that was different."
"End of arc Pc v. Pc sparring"
Different Setting - 2
"I think seeing y’all take on either more fantasy or more non-apocalypse sci-fi would be neat (robot request stands tho)."
"Maybe exploring a radically different time in the 9th world."
The Friendship to Family Pipeline - 2
"Slow burn relationship building (both romantic and friendly/familial)"
Full detailed text descriptions of official character art
End of Episode Bloopers
Shorter Episodes (30-40 Minutes)
David S. Dear
"I also really love David S. Dear voicing Horus so I think it would be super cool if he could voice again!"
"I always looked forward to those and they get to reveal the character's backstory way better and in much more detail than what could be possible in the main campaign without ruining the pacing."
Juxtaposition between grim setting and light hearted world
"I really love the juxtaposition between the overall light hearted interactions between the characters and the, in theory, grim setting"
Party meeting each other during the episodes
" I also enjoy introductory scenes, so maybe still that (don't have the party automatically be friends)"
"I believe GlitchXCity's remixes are free to use and it slaps so hard"
"either one-shots/short campaigns that serve to highlight how a game works, or arcs that are more self-contained and require less long-term campaign knowledge to enjoy"
"A return of the Left Triangles"
Main Campaign Guests
"maybe a main campaign guest pc for an ep or two (ala naddpod or skyjacks)"
Slice of Life
"Possibly more relaxed slice-of-life scenarios between main story action"
I like how you made the villain not so Black and White.
Surveys are just one way to learn about the people who enjoy your show. But dang if they’re not a really helpful one. I’ve mentioned most of my thoughts on each section as they’ve come up, so there’s not a whole lot for me to mention, thesis-wise. So instead, if you filled out the survey or have read this far; thanks for engaging with the show! While we won’t be able to implement every piece of feedback (despite some requests, S2 will have no connection to S1 or Numenera, for example), knowing more about our audience and how you feel about the show gives us so many more tools to be deliberate in making something truly special.
How will it pan out? I’ll let one respondent summarize my thoughts.
"I am not 100% sure, I mean, for [her] sake I hope Hallie's dice start to roll better."