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Fiverr 4.0 - Some thoughts on the current state of things


frank_d

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williambryan392
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"Another year, another cake and another very insightful & helpful post!"

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Hey gang!

It's that time of year again when I stuff my face with cake and write down my personal thoughts on what's happening on Fiverr.

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(me right before I started writing the post)

Before I get this show on the road, a much needed disclaimer:

Anything I share on this article, represents my own personal view. Any findings about how the platform works are my own, and I hold no insider/privileged information. 

I am not a Fiverr official, nor am I representing Fiverr in any capacity.

I am just a seller, like you. I just like to find out how things work and what makes a seller successful on the platform.

I do have a proven track record, but take everything I say with a grain of salt.

This topic is just to fire up a discussion amongst sellers and exchange opinions.

This is NOT an attempt to game the system or find any shortcuts.

Hint: There aren't any.

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With all that out of the way, let's jump right in.

 

Fiverr 4.0: A necessary evolution

OK so this article is a continuation of my Fiverr 3.1 thesis.

Which in turn is a sequel of my original post called Fiverr 3.0.

It seems to me that Fiverr changed how things work back then, so it was a much more apparent shift, felt throughout the marketplace. So this new article will cover how Fiverr implemented a few more things and completed the shift started back then.

To the surprise of absolutely no-one, I will once again say that Fiverr is about matchmaking. 

If you need more proof, check out the new briefs feature, your new dashboard metrics and your shiny new profiles. (especially on Fiverr Business)

Why do I think it's a necessary evolution? Well because it makes A LOT of sense when you take into account Fiverr's KPIs.

So what is Fiverr all about? 

Well, user retention is important, so keeping buyers in the ecosystem. 

And how do you do that?

By keeping people happy.

 

I can't get no.... SATISFACTION!

Yes, this is something that will come up quite a bit in this article.

The Buyer Satisfaction Rate. So we'll call it BSR from here on out.

This metric was kept under wraps for about 2-3 years, when Fiverr started talking about it. Either through webinars or via our trusted Success Managers.

It's a secret formula that Fiverr uses to calculate how happy buyers are after an order is completed and therefore, how sellers perform in that regard. 

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(Fiverr's secret BSR formula, apparently)

So Fiverr now takes into account the actual facilitation of the service and how good the experience was, and not just the end product. This was the biggest shift in how sellers perceived their performance on the platform, because Fiverr apparently increased the weight of this variable when calculating who is a good performer and who is a good match for buyers.

And since none of us knows how it works, and for good reason, things were weird for us sellers.

The forum was flooded with people asking why they get 0 sales after a streak of good months, while their dashboard had perfect metrics and their public reviews were close to perfect.

But the hidden BSR outweighs public reviews. By a lot.

 

The "get out of jail" card

So if the BSR is hidden, how can we learn from it, or at the very least avoid the search results limbo, when our gigs are underperforming?

Well this is complicated.

First of all: it's fairly simple to avoid any issues altogether.

Offer a great and seamless customer experience. The secret is to take lead and manage client expectations early on.

Offer solutions instead of questions when issues arise, and finally make sure you are acting in a professional yet friendly manner.

However, not everything is peachy. Things happen and even the most seasoned freelancer gets the cold shoulder from the algorithm that serves search results.

But it's now easier to bounce back if something happens to your account, all you have to do is wait it out, whilst trying to offer an amazing service to any orders you may get.

You see, Fiverr has a complicated but sensible way of calculating things.

So our Dashboard metrics get updated every 60 days. That's been well-known. 

But BSR seems to follow a different pattern. It is calculated every 90 AND every 30 days.

So while things seem to move abruptly from "I get new orders daily/weekly" to "I hear crickets and feel worthless", the true secret is time. You need to wait it out, there's nothing else you can do about it.

Use the downtime to edit gigs, freshen up that portfolio of yours and make sure that anyone who messages you when things are quiet, get 110% from you in terms of responsiveness and help they may need.

You see, your BSR score, much like any other metric, averages out. Which means that while a dip in your score may hurt your profile's standing, it averages out every time the clock resets. And on any given day, depending on when was the last time you got a bad private review, your overall score changes.

So it is fairly simple: ride it out, and improve performance. 

But wait, why are there two cycles? 

Well my working theory is that there are two separate BSR metrics. One is for new buyers and one is for existing buyers.

There is some kind of threshold where Fiverr stops treating buyers as new accounts, and right before that cut off, their private exit surveys may weigh considerably more than those of existing accounts.

You can see it in Fiverr's indicators. (remember how I am always talking about indicators and no-one listens?)

Fiverr is not saying things out in the open, but it does try to clue us in.

You get a special message when a buyer purchases your gig and it's their first time buying anything on the platform.

You also get the buyer insights feature, if you are a member of Seller Plus, so you can see if they are new members of the platform or not.

And lately, you get an email when your BSR for new buyers, drops. So at least there's no more guessing when things get a little too quiet for us sellers.

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 So First Time Buyers are important to Fiverr. Because that first experience is what will make them stay on Fiverr and maybe even start spending more. Makes sense right?

However, that means that it is upon us sellers to educate buyers on most things Fiverr. It is required from us that we not only guide them through our process, but also through Fiverr's UI/UX and myriad of buttons.

Which leads me to a tasty new theory:

What if the new algorithm, the one who does all this merry matchmaking, is specifically designed to favor senior seller accounts with a proven track record, with First Time Buyers.

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Makes sense doesn't it?

Now I am not saying it cancels out every other aspect of the matchmaking process, like relevancy, performance etc.

But what if that's the case? It definitely makes sense if Fiverr is trying to make people go from total noobs to loyal customers from a single order.

So whenever I see a new buyer talking to me, or placing an order with me, I consider this a great opportunity to offer the best possible experience to them. 

OK so what gets you a spot in search results?

That's hard to say. I don't think anyone has an answer.

However I know a few factors that come into play:

Relevance is key. You need to offer something relevant to what buyers are looking for, for sure.

Performance is heavily favored. Key metrics and BSR maintenance are imperative.

But then we have more complicated attributes, like Buyer Behavior models, and Average Selling Price.

Buyer behaviors are -and this is me guessing on a cool Monday night- equally important when the platform is trying to get a successful match going on. 

Some attributes are: account age, average spend, number and frequency of orders, type of account (business, select, buyer/seller).

I also think that Fiverr uses buyer behavior to weed out and punish sellers who use like farms or "friends and family" to buy their gigs. So sellers who do that, you have been warned.

If you also take into account Promoted Gigs and some -almost- definite A.I. involvement for the platform to figure out relevancy, then you can see it gets overtly complicated.

I am not going to pretend I know everything, as I am getting older I realize I do not. 

That's why I will end this segment here, and not share any of my crazier theories on what makes Fiverr tick. 🙂

Things to come...

If we take my assumption that Fiverr is now fighting for customer retention to be true, then I could definitely see more features geared towards personal connection and relationships.

For instance we have different profiles on Fiverr Business, focused on us vs our gigs.

We just now got to write our real names even on the Regular Fiverr Profiles.

We now have the ability to record a video of us, so that buyers can watch and get a sense of who we are.

So I can definitely see more tools like that coming along, where sellers can create more meaningful interactions with buyers and even create a following of loyal customers.

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OK that's all I had for now. I need to attend my Bday dinner and have some more cake, not necessarily in that order.

This year's post was made shorter and maybe seemingly not as juicy as past years.

But this was by design. I don't want to be mistaken for someone who is in the inside track.

I want people to understand that I am trying to figure this out, just like everyone else, and I am merely looking to recognize indicators and patterns on the platform that will help sellers succeed.

Thank you for coming to my TED talk.

Off to have some cake.

I'd love to answer any questions or hear your thoughts about what I shared! 

 

 

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13 minutes ago, frank_d said:

specifically designed to favor senior seller accounts with a proven track record, with First Time Buyers.

I can 100% attest this, I just talked with my seller manager today and apparently my sales slump has to do with a few scammers that were first time buyers, I already know who they are. Of course she didn't mention any names or anything, but she said that first time buyer reviews are the reasons why I barely receive any messages, let alone orders.

15 minutes ago, frank_d said:

But BSR seems to follow a different pattern. It is calculated every 90 AND every 30 days.

 

This is what's confusing to me at least. Any idea what's kept in the loop for 90 days and what changes every month? I assume no. I think more transparency might be needed here. Keeping us in the loop with the things that are important and we need to improve upon is very important. Right now, we have no idea if the BSR is lower (I didn't receive that email even if I am a seller plus member) or why it's lower in the first place. The same thing can be said about those first time buyers leaving bad reviews. Instead of being left in the dark, maybe a message when we fall below a certain threshold and why might come in handy.

I know this is wishful thinking but who knows, hopefully someone at Fiverr sees this. Knowing what we need to improve when something went wrong is better than just shooting in the dark and seeing what sticks. I for one, before talking with the manager today, didn't know that first time buyer reviews were the ones that pushed me back. I assumed, but there's no way to know for sure. 

Also, Frank, I wish you a great birthday and a happy year ahead 🙂 Thank you for the post and assistance over the years. 

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1 hour ago, frank_d said:

So our Dashboard metrics get updated every 60 days. That's been well-known. 

But BSR seems to follow a different pattern. It is calculated every 90 AND every 30 days.

1 hour ago, frank_d said:

Well my working theory is that there are two separate BSR metrics. One is for new buyers and one is for existing buyers.

There is some kind of threshold where Fiverr stops treating buyers as new accounts, and right before that cut off, their private exit surveys may weigh considerably more than those of existing accounts.

Maybe they're doing it this way to make things easier to check or the system a bit simpler but if they want to give more importance to newer sellers or more recent stats (like they do with the stats shown on the dashboard for the last 60 days), would things be a bit better for them if there was more of a gradual roll-off? Like them slowly them reducing the weights given to things the more days in the past it happened? Like if an order created 60 days ago is given 100% weight and then when it gets to 61 days ago it's given 0% weight surely that's not really how it should work (it's likely not accurately taking into account seller performance really).

eg. with the current system they'd need to wait 60 days or whatever for a bad review to not take effect, but a better system might give about half as much weight to it when it gets to 30 days (so some similar gradual roll-off), so there'd be less of a jump/less waiting.

Edited by uk1000
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8 minutes ago, uk1000 said:

eg. with the current system they'd need to wait 60 days or whatever for a bad review to not take effect, but a better system might give about half as much weight to it when it gets to 30 days (so some similar gradual roll-off), so there'd be less of a jump/less waiting.

Gradually removing the weight of a review is a great idea honestly. But it might not be something we will see for a long time, if at all. 

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What I take from this is to avoid working with new buyer accounts, since it's an objectively bigger risk. Not only will they not know how Fiverr works - so will be more susceptible to get confused and have a bad experience, either by misinterpreting things (I had a new client be very confused why I was suggesting them leaving me a $2000+ tip, when it was Fiverr doing so with its automated % tip system that forgets about big orders, or leaving a 4 star review thinking that's great, or get pissed off because an order automatically completes, etc.), or by simply not understanding how things work, and having no basis of comparison - their private feedback will apparently be worth more. 

Edited by visualstudios
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2 minutes ago, visualstudios said:

avoid working with new buyer accounts, since it's an objectively bigger risk. 

Well new buyers in general, because people with older accounts that are your first time clients can also bring in the same amount of damage. So the lesson here is..new clients can be a risk. I do agree that "new to Fiverr" clients are the most dangerous if we take on all the info shared above..

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4 minutes ago, donnovan86 said:

Well new buyers in general, because people with older accounts that are your first time clients can also bring in the same amount of damage. So the lesson here is..new clients can be a risk. I do agree that "new to Fiverr" clients are the most dangerous if we take on all the info shared above..

Maybe I misread, but that's not my interpretation. Somebody buying from me for the first time but that already has 1000 completed orders, is already retained by Fiverr as a client. They won't go away from the platform just because they had a bad experience with me, so they shouldn't count extra as far as Fiverr is concerned. Not to mention they already will know how the platform works (you always leave 5 star reviews, orders complete after 3 days, tips are put there by Fiverr, etc.). They are way lower risk.

Edited by visualstudios
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14 minutes ago, visualstudios said:

What I take from this is to avoid working with new buyer accounts, since it's an objectively bigger risk. Not only will they not know how Fiverr works - so will be more susceptible to get confused and have a bad experience, either by misinterpreting things (I had a new client be very confused why I was suggesting them leaving me a $2000+ tip, when it was Fiverr doing so with its automated % tip system that forgets about big orders, or leaving a 4 star review thinking that's great, or get pissed off because an order automatically completes, etc.), or by simply not understanding how things work, and having no basis of comparison - their private feedback will apparently be worth more. 

What if the reward was also greater? Would that change your perspective at all?

high risk/high reward?

Also: anything over 2 stars IS considered a positive review by Fiverr.

Not sure how a 4 star review is affecting your account more than a 5 star one, other than bringing your average down.

 

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4 minutes ago, frank_d said:

Also: anything over 2 stars IS considered a positive review by Fiverr.

Not sure how a 4 star review is affecting your account more than a 5 star one, other than bringing your average down.

If you have less than a 4.7 average, you get demoted. So yeah, they affect you. And they aren't positive.

4 minutes ago, frank_d said:

What if the reward was also greater? Would that change your perspective at all?

Define rewards. If having a good score decreased Fiverr's commission? Sure. If having a good score increased number of unqualified leads? Not really.

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8 minutes ago, visualstudios said:

And they aren't positive.

The system considers them to be positive. What your clients choose to write is a different story.

 

yes I am aware of the 4.7 threshold which is why I said “bringing your average down”.

 

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Firstly Happy Birthday for yesterday, I hope this year is even better than your last!

8 hours ago, frank_d said:

have some more cake

Most importantly what kind of cake did you have?

Thanks as always for sharing your thoughts on all things Fiverr, you don't have to yet you spend the time to do so, and what you have done over the years has been key to me getting to where I am today, so thank you, I'm genuinely grateful!

I agree with everything you say, it's all about relevance, conversion and retention.

I received the same email you did re new buyers a few months back and it really scared me lol. It was around the time where I think half my orders were from new buyers.

I also understand why new buyers can be a potentially scary prospect. I recall creating a post about this a while back but others didn't really feel the same, I feel a little vindicated by your post!

The only thing I would add (so far, I'm still on my first coffee of the day) is that we know that conversion is super important, and like you say I think Fiverr is sending new buyers because it thinks you have a better chance of closing them, and giving them a great experience so they come back. I know I'm tempted to avoid new buyers, but if I don't close them, perhaps it counts against me even more?

 

 

Edited by williambryan392
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Thank you for another detailed post, Frank!

It's been clear for a while what a huge impact private reviews have but I wasn't aware that first time buyers can hit that even harder. It's impossible to please everyone. I've also heard told that the algo favours higher priced gigs, but then I was told to lower my prices because I wasn't competitive enough. I wonder if there's also a downside to turning down briefs which I do a lot because the budgets are often unreasonable, or the clients simply never reply to my offers. I do my best with every order and every client and improve my gigs where I can, outside of that it's important to put eggs in plenty of other baskets. As grateful as I am for the success I've had on Fiverr, and for my great success manager, sales have been so thin and unpredictable that I struggle to take it seriously as a branch of my business.

I've been in a relative slump for a long time now, months, and I know some of my very talented and successful peers here are also getting far less orders than they've ever been used to. We can't all have lower buyer satisfaction at the same time. 

Edited by leannelrivers
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2 hours ago, leannelrivers said:

We can't all have lower buyer satisfaction at the same time. 

I think AI has to do with our sales slump too. The same thing happens when it comes to writing. Aside from someone that benefits from a Fiverr highlight right now, I see most people that usually had lots of sales in general barely have any work. 

When I messaged my success manager to see what's wrong in my case, she did point out that my buyer satisfaction rate is ok, slightly lower but nothing to damage me. What's the issue is, according to her " That is specifically reviews that come from buyers who purchase from you for the first time." 

So it's not just people new to Fiverr, even if a person has been on Fiverr for years and it's the first time they buy from you, their review matters. 

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Not sure what's happening, honestly this month has been a disaster, I doubt that this has anything to do with my buyer satisfaction metric because I have 6 recommended gigs when I look at my promoted gigs feature... usually if there's something wrong with that metric I don't have recommended gigs there... or I don't have the promoted gigs  feature at all. 

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8 minutes ago, cre8iveartwork said:

or I don't have the promoted gigs  feature at all. 

Alex, I am Alex too 🙂 

Regarding this sales slump, it affects a LOT of people. As Frank said, it might also be from first time buyers sharing less than positive reviews. So yeah, there can be a number of things. My success manager said I had a few bad reviews from first time buyers and that seems to be a huge issue these days.. 

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3 minutes ago, donnovan86 said:

My success manager said I had a few bad reviews from first time buyers

I know you're Alex 😄 we're many...   Are we all having bad reviews from first buyers lately? I don't think it's the case ... it seems to be happening to too many people at once.  I just had a notification about scheduled maintenance on the 26th.. maybe it has something to do with that as well.

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1 minute ago, cre8iveartwork said:

I know you're Alex 😄 we're many...   Are we all having bad reviews from first buyers lately? I don't think it's the case ... it seems to be happening to too many people at once.  I just had a notification about scheduled maintenance on the 26th.. maybe it has something to do with that as well.

Most of the times this big of a maintenance occurs, is because they are implementing a new feature on the backend. They did mention this upgrade is to improve user experience. So, who knows?

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@cre8iveartwork

Yes, I am experiencing the same problem. Normally, I have 16+ orders in the queue, but over the past two months, they have suddenly dropped to 5-6.

All of my metrics are 100%, and I believe buyer satisfaction is as well. I went from the first page to the third page for my main gig. Let's wait another month and see what happens. 

 

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1 minute ago, officialrajat said:

All of my metrics are 100%

Highly irrelevant to what you are experiencing.

1 minute ago, officialrajat said:

and I believe buyer satisfaction is as well

you have no way of knowing that. it's an assumption.

1 minute ago, officialrajat said:

Let's wait another month and see what happens. 

depending on when you started getting bad exit reviews, you may need to count 90 days total, but it's a rolling window.

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27 minutes ago, cre8iveartwork said:

Are we all having bad reviews from first buyers lately?

Well I saw you had one, I had one too. 

I also refunded a first time buyer due to her not ordering something I cover, and even if I tried to do 2 different versions, she was constantly asking for more work. I just had to tap out and refund. Ever since I refunded, I barely received any new inquiries from customers. So I can only assume that even if you refund a first time buyer, that also affects stats quite a bit. So it can be a number of things. 

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It's been a little weird for me too. My expensive gigs recovered super quick following my time off in February, my cheaper gigs have been slower to do so.

I also had 4 cancellations in the last couple of weeks, but only one of these wasn't amended by CS. One was because the buyer was tricky so I cancelled (the one that wasn't amended). 2 were in the requirements stage for a year and I got tired of looking at them, and the final one was the buyer cancelling 2 minutes after they purchased. 

Even though the OCR rate was corrected, I wonder if this still impacts behind the scenes?

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12 minutes ago, williambryan392 said:

Even though the OCR rate was corrected, I wonder if this still impacts behind the scenes?

I had 2 cancellations over a month and a half ago. Those didn't have any major impact, but last week I had to cancel an order from a new client as I said, and since then it has been pretty much a wasteland when it comes to orders. This leads me to believe that the first time buyers thing is very recent, maybe it was implemented sometime this month. 

Anyway, was the tricky buyer a first time buyer? 

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12 minutes ago, donnovan86 said:

Anyway, was the tricky buyer a first time buyer? 

hm I had a cancellation from a new buyer as well now that I think about it... a month ago however he wasn't really following what we initially discussed so I asked support to cancel the order and they did that without affecting my account, could still be the problem though. 

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