How Hive is Dominated by The Long-Timers

in Hive Statistics5 months ago (edited)

In my first post about user retention and cohorts on Hive, it was shown how very few users are still posting from the original groups. The old guard from 2016 who are still active for example, are truly a tiny minority both of those who joined in 2016, and among those active today. In my second post on the topic, it was shown that although users drop off quickly, the longer a user has stayed already, the less likely they are to give up and leave the year after.

In those posts I simply was counting how many members of a cohort were active at all. Just because two people are active in the year, does not mean that they are contributing the same in terms of activity. So let's look at which cohorts make up most of the activity on Hive.

Posting Activity

The following chart shows how many posts (top level comments) were made each month, with a colour coding to show how many posts by each cohort, since the beginning of Steem in March 2016.

Posts Per Month Per Cohort.png

Here is the chart only since the month of the Hive exodus hard fork in March 2020.

Posts Per Month Per Cohort - Post Exodus.png

As can be seen, the very small groups who have remained active from 2016, 2017 and 2018 are making a large portion of new posts today. Indeed in the last month over half of all posts were made by an account created in 2020 at the latest. In the same month the 2017 and 2018 cohorts together represented 5,964 users, but they posted more than the largest still active cohort of 2021 which represented 12,448 users.

Author Rewards

Those same groups earn a larger share of the rewards as well. Below is chart of how author rewards have been shared among cohorts every month since the beginning.

Reward Share by Cohort.png

The above may start to explain why user retention on Hive is difficult. As new users join, they need to break in to a rewards pool already being collected by a smaller number of much more established users. Unless the price of Hive rises to compensate, it just means there is less and less to go around for new joiners, and what little reward share is going to the new cohort, is being shared among a much larger group. Below is the same thing but adjusted for total author rewards and average price during the month. The units on the Y axis are not correct, but it should give an idea of how much rewards were given out per group and total.

Author Rewards By Cohort.png

Same chart post Hive exodus fork

Author Rewards by Cohort - Post Exodus Fork.png

If we divide the June rewards per cohort by the number of posts, we can see how well Hive rewards an established user per post compared to a newcomer. Again the units on Y-Axis are not correct.

Author Rewards Per Cohort Per Post.png

All data in this post was collected using @hivesql


Cohort Coefficient.png

I've also made a metric which should measure the degree to which your cohort matters in terms of how much you can expect to make per post. The lower the number, the less influence which cohort you are in has on your author rewards. We can see that this was very high in January 2018 (height of Steem bubble), but has gradually dropped off to where it is now.

What this shows is that it is much easier to break in and start earning rewards on #Hive today than it was back in the days of #Steem.

A better chart for the same purpose:

Impact of Being in Least Rewarded Cohort on Post Rewards.png

In laymen's terms, this shows how much a user who has registered within the same year can expect to earn for their posts compared to the average user who registered in a previous year.

At the lowest point (height of Steem bubble), this was a mere 11%. It has gotten substantially better since hard fork, settling around 60%.

I joined in 2016 and have posted throughout that time. That has paid off. New users will have to put in the same work to get anywhere, but I had the advantage of being early. I do think that those using auto votes should try to distribute them wider so that it's not always the same old crowd getting the most. There are newer users doing great stuff and we need them to stick around.

The situation will look grimmer on future newcomers. That's if Hive's price doesn't increase steadily. Hive's currently dominated by the old Steem users who've migrated with the fork, they have the lion's share of the rewards pool and it's well deserved. However if new users can't break in to get a cat's share then there's a risk of not achieving an exponential growth and climbing into new heights.

The class of 2021 seems strong for now.

Yes, though they joined in a time of abundance. Price was high and by historic standards, competition for author rewards was low (because most new users just played dapp games like Splinterlands).

Where'd everybody go in May in June? The on-chain social activity trend seems to correlate with the broader market sentiment. The UST death spiral started around the middle of May, which might be the best milestone to indicate the start of the crypto bear market.

We're stilling fighting against our weak network effect compared to alternatives. Very few of us have many local real life friends on the network. Almost none of us can use Hive or HBD yet in our day to day lives. That puts us still floating in the speculative crypto ocean, rising and falling with the crypto tides.

Our network has to be compelling enough to be worth it even without the network effect, and we also have other challenges needing addressing (usability, onboarding).

Very few of us have many local real life friends on the network.

This is true. I have brought in many close friends from my photography and art cirlces but so far only one person stayed. The only local or regional friends on Hive are the people whom I met here and then became friends. Its a peculiar situation. I had even "bribed" friends by getting some whalevotes and all but they left ...

I don't know if you've heard about Uquid? It's an online marketplace and ecommerce platform with tons of goods and services. They accept Hive and HBD as payment options. I've used it for my internet subscription and it has worked well so far.

I was not aware of this, no. Thank you.

It's a pity that you can't log in with Keychain (while you can with Metamask). There's very little indication that you can use Hive or HBD when you browse the site.

Yes, unfortunately. It's mainly Binance and through social media platforms or via email.

You only realise that there's a payment options of Hive or HBD when you reach the checkout. There was a banner of it before but now it's no longer there. It seems like the purpose is to partner with a lot of crypto currencies on the site. They keep changing there collaboration banner at the top of the page.

Very few of us have many local real life friends on the network.

Well, most of my friends have been on social media sites since the mid 2000s. Social media has lost its charm over the years.

It is really hard to compete for attention with well-established platforms. Those web2 giants are extremely sticky, and people are unlikely to leave unless they are forced off the platform. Those products are psychologically engineered to grab as much attention as they can, because their business model depends on it.

I think we just have to innovate and offer novel solutions that cannot be offered on established Web2 platforms.

Really interesting, more of this sort thing I say!

The 2021ers seem to be going OK!


Hooray, I'm a long-timer!

Now I can tell people there are some ways I'm long.

Shit, your posts are gold. In all honesty, I’m too busy to get into hive politics these days (class of 17 😉) but I like to get updates like these to see how the chain is doing

why user retention on Hive is difficult.

Im a 2018 cohort 🙋🏻‍♀️ who works hard at making retention possible by teaching newbies 😅 trying my best, representing my group 😂

There are only a small amount of people who will stick it out. For the longest time I didn't get much attention. If you enjoy posting and keep the money out of it, then that goes a long way.

Maybe I have had an easier time sticking with it (since 2018) because I already had been blogging for almost 20 years when I came here... so my activity level was more fueled by my time and creativity levels than by the ebb and flow in the price of Hive...

I expect the stats are also swayed considerably by the reason for someone to have become part of Hive... the huge influx of new accounts in connection with the official Splinterlands launch weren't necessarily content creators, but gamers... hard to measure what comes from where...


I took a look at dapp users in another post. Most of them have stuck around, but there is not much transference of dapp users to social media users.

“Time in the market beats timing the market”

This shouldn't be surprising and is in no way unique to hive. Starting as a new user on any platform, whether it is hive, youtube, Facebook, your own WordPress site or whatever, it takes time to build an audience.

There are differences of degree, which also changes over time. It's easier to break in on some platforms and harder on others. Overall I think it's generally much easier to start earning on Hive than many other platforms, but building a large audience is more difficult since a mass audience doesn't exist here yet, and those followers you do get will soon be gone. For myself, in 6 years I've built a following of 5700 accounts, way more than I have on any other platform, but I doubt 5% of them are still active.

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