Why it’s time to think beyond page views if you want to keep growing
Ashley Frankino, senior customer success manager at Chartbeat, told the Behind Local News conference that picking a range of metrics was key to making the right decisions around content online:
A critical part of building a loyal, sustainable, captivated and engaged audience is to start evaluating content against a blended benchmark.
That means really thinking about metrics from different angles and pairing those traditional metrics that we’re used to using like page views and uniques with more sophisticated metrics that get to the heart of reader behaviour.
This means truly balancing the quality component with the traffic component — that of course we have to care about — shich will really illuminate the impact that an article has truly had on your readers. That in turn can help us quantify more accurately the value of that article to your news outlet.
Until we start doing this we aren’t really putting ourselves in an advantageous position to understand our reader patterns.
This also means looking at different metrics for different types of stories. So what is good for one story or what is good performance for a breaking news brief may not be what’s good performance for an enterprise piece of content that took us six months to report.
We need to keep that in mind so that we’re evaluating our stories fairly and truly being able to quantify that impact. It’s not a one size fits all situation. What do you want to achieve from different content?
But the one thing which should always be considered in metrics is the engagement a piece of content has. I don’t want to beat people over the head about engagement but it really matters.
That’s why we show this slide in basically every training we do and almost every meeting. All of our research points to the longer you can keep someone engaged on their first visit the more likely they are to build a loyalty habit that’s so important for us to continue to to build our business upon.
We repeat this study every single year — Chartbeat has been around for nine years- and it’s held true time and time again and again.
Then there’s this sad slide:
This slide is critical because we’re seeing that 45 percent of visitors who land on an article don’t go on to read. And they’re probably not coming back in the next week.
And so when we start to evaluate content through that blended lens, we start to see things differently. If I look at a story that has tons of page views but it has very low engagement, we can use the metrics to start to ask better questions.
What is the value of that piece of content? What does it mean to get one click? Have people gone back to the platform that they probably found us from?
When we start asking those questions, that’s when we can start to take action and tweak the story appropriately before our audience has moved on.
So I think it’s clear that when you start to pair engagement alongside those traditional metrics that we’re used to using, that’s when you really start to unlock opportunities and quality content paired with strong news judgement.
Making sure that content is evaluated fairly and justly has been the lever that has really moved the needle for a lot of the newsrooms that we work with.