What Flickr Stats Mean for You


Image: plutor

It’s the moment every serious Flickr member has been waiting for.

Flickr has rolled out stats.

They’re only available to Pro members (so that’s a pretty good reason to upgrade), you’ll need to hit an “activate link” to get them working and they’re supposed to kick in within 24 hours. In practice though, unless you’ve got lots of figures to crunch, once you activate your stats you can expect to find that your figures are ready almost immediately.

This is a huge development for anyone hoping to use Flickr to showcase their work. We’ve written in the past about how photographers are quietly selling licenses and winning commissions through Flickr. Until now though, most photographers have had to rely on a combination of good photography, smart tagging and a touch of luck to land those sales.

Flickr’s stats now mean that photographers can keep track of which images are most popular, what their viewers are looking for and where they’re coming from.

Most importantly, it also means that they can target keywords and sources to build up a portfolio of images that can appeal to markets.

In this post, we’ll explain what Flickr’s stats tell you… and some of the things that you can do with that information.

Stats for your Account


Image from swanksalot showing aggregate views and view counts.

The stats are separated into three levels. The highest level shows the total number of views your images have received broken down into individual photo pages, photostream, sets and collections.

This page also lists your most viewed photos, together with the number of times they’ve been faved and commented on; information about how many of your photos have been tagged, geotagged and grouped; and most interestingly, the referrers (or domain sources) of the people who looked at your images yesterday and for “all time.”


Image from swanksalot showing a list of his most viewed photos the day before and for all time.

Those referrers are themselves broken down into the following categories:

Flickr: The number of times people clicked through from other Flickr pages.

Search engines: The search engines that referred people to your Flickr images.

Other Sites: Any other site on the Web that sent viewers directly to your photostream.

Direct traffic: Traffic that Flickr is unable to source. That could be people typing the URL directly into the browser but it could also be people who clicked a link in an email or a news reader that Flickr doesn’t recognize.


Image from IanD showing a list of referrers. Flickr comes top but almost a quarter of his views are coming from Yahoo! image search.

Individual Photos
The stats page for individual photos is very simple. The page contains a graph showing the number of views that the photo page has received together with a list of the page’s referrers.


Image from extraface showing individual photo page views and referrers.

Account Referrers
And the page showing “Referring domains for your account” lists all of the domains which sent users through links to your images, together with the number of views they generated. Click the link that says “view all referrers” and you’ll even be able to see the URL itself.


Image from rustybrick showing referring domains… and individual URLs.

Your own clicks aren’t counted in the stats and neither are views of your images on blogs and other sites unless the user clicks through to the photo page.

So what does all this information tell us? Beyond basic portfolio management details such as which images you still need to tag, Flickr’s stats can reveal:

  • Which of your images are the most popular.
  • Which source is providing you with the most traffic.
  • How many of your image views are coming from search engines and which search engines are working best for you.
  • And by clicking on the search engine referrers, the keyword terms that returned your image.

Making Flickr Stats Work for You
Until now, all photographers could know about a photo they uploaded to Flickr was how many views it received, whether it was faved and that some people thought it was a “great capture.”

Now that we can see what brought people to the image, we can really start taking action. These are just three of the things that Flickr members can do to increase views… and boost the likelihood of making sales:

1. Search Engine Optimization

Responding on Flickr’s help forum to news of the stats’ release, one member wrote:

“I never realised that the majority of my views come from search engines and not Flickr! :)”

It’s likely that a lot of Flickr members feel that way and are about to be pleasantly surprised. But having stats also means that they can try different optimization strategies and track the results.

While getting links to your images will always be important, tags will now be more important than ever. Flickr members will need to research keywords using services like Google’s Keyword Tool and experiment with different terms to compare results over time. Members will really be able to see what adding just a few more tags to an image can do to the number of views.

2.Target Markets
The fact that photographers can now see which domains send them the most traffic means that they can create images to suit their audience. If a photographer finds that he’s getting lots of views of his travel photos from a blog about environmental tourism for example, he could post more images of rainforests and deserts, and win more views.

He could also attempt to expand into new markets by leaving comments on other blogs and linking back to his stream as a way of alerting publishers and users to the photos he has available. Again, his stats would tell him how well that strategy is working and which sites are bringing him the most clickthroughs.

3.Negotiate Agreements
Best of all, a photographer who finds that a publisher is linking to many of her photos could get in touch and negotiate a joint venture. The photographer could offer commissions on print sales or offer to provide exclusive images in return for a share of that page’s advertising revenues.

Flickr Stats have only just been rolled out but it’s already clear that it’s going to be a vital tool for any serious photographer on the site. It’s certainly a topic that we’ll be coming back to in the future as we look for new strategies and techniques that can raise views and generate revenues.

Check out Flickr’s stats ad and tell us what you think

[tags] flickr seo, seo for flickr, flickr stats [/tags]

2 comments for this post.

  1. Joao Paglione Said:

    I just linked to your blog on a photo I recently sold to a repeat customer. Not only did he find my first photo on a keyword search but the second one as well.

    I sold it for a good price.

    However, he wanted the photo in it´s original color. I had over 100,000 photos from 2005 in Brazil unorganized so it took me almost an hour to find it.

    Good tip for beginning photographers, use a good system to tag and organize all your photos!

    If you are PRO, keep the highest copy online just for you...

    Thanks for maintaining this blog!

  2. Alfie Said:

    Hi, Ive been using flickr religiously for a year now and have been aware of how the site generally works. Now this problem appeared in our group which created sabotages and rebellions amongst members with attitude. At the groups flickriver, I was surprised seeing two photos that are really ordinary and not interesting. It is obvious that there are shenanigans behind the 19000+ views on that single photo; because I am sure that there is no way that that photo could reach that amount of views in a small amount of time. What could be the explanation behind this? Was that caused by a program or was that a result of hacking or what?? Please help me. I want to resolve this issue. Thanks!

Click on a tab to select how you'd like to leave your comment

Leave a Comment

Copyright ©2017 New Media Entertainment, Ltd.