Think small: the new metrics of engagement for news

“And small numbers of loyal users can mean big revenues:

  • The 22,000 “partners” who pay 60 euros a year for in Spain represent nearly 40% of their revenues but less than 1% of their total unique users, according to the CEO (in Spanish).
  • The 2.5 million digital-only subscribers to the New York Times represent less than 3% of their total users but now generate more revenue than print advertising, a historic milestone.”


Read full blog post by James Breiner

Don’t start 2018 without catching up on the data from this year

You can measure the year in top songs, top movies, or top recipes, taking a look at what made this year “special” using data. But what was special about the data of this year? We’re taking a look at the biggest trends that we found in 2017 using data, and using it to figure out what the big questions will be in 2018. Continue reading “Don’t start 2018 without catching up on the data from this year”

Who’s in control? Taking back ownership of your audience

In research conducted by the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia Journalism School, “newsroom personnel at every level expressed anxiety about loss of control over the destination of stories, the power of their brand, and their outlets’ relationship with the viewer or reader.” The consequences of a lack of control include challenges like monetization and data transparency. By forging direct ties with readers, publishers are able to better understand, through data, what content resonates with their audience and develop products that meet their needs—and keep them coming back. We asked media professionals about how they are taking back ownership of their audiences. Continue reading “Who’s in control? Taking back ownership of your audience”

Google reclaims title of top traffic referrer, and search-focused publishers are enjoying the moment

Search-focused publishers are having an I-told-you-so moment now that Google is once again publishers’ biggest source of referral traffic. On Dec. 11, Googlepar data showing that Google now accounts for 44 percent of referral traffic for publishers made its way across the internet. That share represented a 10-point swing from the start of the year, when Facebook accounted for 40 percent, and Google accounted for 34 percent; Facebook now accounts for 26 percent. Continue reading “Google reclaims title of top traffic referrer, and search-focused publishers are enjoying the moment”

Pivot to… SEO?

If anybody said to you 18 months ago that Facebook would take a backseat to search you might have laughed. Guess what, that’s now become the reality according to data. finds that Google sent more traffic to publisher pages than its duopoly foil Facebook in 2017. In fact, Facebook sent 25 percent less than it had in 2016. I don’t think I need to tell you that’s significant, but I feel I should reinforce that it is. Google, on the other hand, sent 17 percent more traffic to publishers in 2017. Again, this is also significant because it flips the narrative in terms of where publishers should be focusing their amplification strategies.

SEO Continue reading “Pivot to… SEO?”

Episode 03: Long Live Long-form

Andrew and Sachin take a look at engaged time data that shows we have a greater attention span for news content than what traditional bounce rate suggests. If someone visits one page on a website and bounces, they didn’t necessarily have a bad experience—in fact, they probably had a good one. In addition to rethinking “good” vs. “bad” site visits, they discuss recent media mergers and the FCC and go +1/-1 on “podfasting,” pivoting to video, and Google AMP.

Facebook Declines, Google Grows as Battle for News Audiences Continues

As an analytics provider for hundreds of the web’s leading publishers, we have a bird’s-eye view of trends in web-wide news consumption. This vantage revealed an industry-wide shift in how readers find news in June 2015. Facebook overtook Google as the most important traffic source for publishers. And then, for two years the situation remained a stable duopoly, with Facebook and Google each sending publishers around 35% of their identified external referral traffic. Continue reading “Facebook Declines, Google Grows as Battle for News Audiences Continues”

Ryan Sholin presented at Poynter’s Measuring Journalism event this month and shared the talk on his blog. He has kindly allowed us to republish it here. Slides are also available.

I love it when the numbers jump off the screen.

In my dozen-plus years in the news business, whenever I’m asked — often in a job interview — what my favorite part of my work is, I tell a little story about the first time I took a serious look at an analytics report for multiple news sites, back at GateHouse Media. Sure, I had been responsible for paying attention to Omniture (or was it still HitBox?) back at the Santa Cruz Sentinel, and we even had a pretty cool heatmap plugin of some sort which let us see how stories on the homepage were doing. (This was years before Chartbeat.) But at GateHouse, I worked with around 125 community newspaper sites.

Read the full post How to Tell the Story of Metrics Inside Your News Organization on MediaShift.

Why Slate Picked Engaged Time as Their North Star Metric

To get all the details on how Slate became a loyalty powerhouse, check out this case study.

On their 20th birthday last September, the digital magazine Slate reported 17,000 paying subscribers for their membership program, Slate Plus. Today, that number is at 35,000. The surge in subscribers owes in part to the Trump bump—Slate Plus membership jumped by 46% after the election. But the underlying catalyst is that Slate has gone all-in on loyalty to lower their dependence on platforms like Facebook and monetize their incredibly loyal audience. By launching new podcasts (and using them as platforms to promote Slate Plus), revamping their newsletter, and doubling down on comment moderation, Slate has committed to creating engaging content that keep readers coming back.

Continue reading “Why Slate Picked Engaged Time as Their North Star Metric”

ICJF Study: Global Newsrooms Are Falling Behind in Analytics

A few weeks ago the International Center for Journalists released the first-ever State of Technology in Global Newsrooms report, based on a survey of more than 2,700 journalists and newsroom managers in 130 countries. The survey was conducted in 12 languages.

After it sat on my desk, printed out, for almost a month, I finally had a chance to read it this weekend and want to pull out some of the report’s findings on analytics, which will be especially interesting to regular readers of MetricShift, because they confirm many of the trends and research we’ve covered here but suggest where we can pay closer attention to the global relationship between newsrooms and newsroom data.

The report states: “Are journalists keeping pace with the digital revolution? Despite great strides in leveraging new technologies, we conclude that the answer is no.” In the field of news metrics specifically, that conclusion is even more pronounced. Without further introduction, here are my MetricShift takeaways from ICJF’s State of Technology in Global Newsrooms report. Continue reading “ICJF Study: Global Newsrooms Are Falling Behind in Analytics”

The Coral Project’s Guide to Community Metrics

This article is taken from The Coral Project’s Community Guides for Journalism, a website filled with strategies and skills to use in your reporting.

Before you make any changes in your community strategy, you need to decide how you’ll know if your changes are working. That’s where metrics come in — numbers that measure some aspect of what is happening on your site. Continue reading “The Coral Project’s Guide to Community Metrics”

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