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Measuring digital success with web and social analytics (Local Media Assn., May 2013)

Measuring digital success with web and social analytics (Local Media Assn., May 2013)



An overview of Key Performance Indicators for publishers.

An overview of Key Performance Indicators for publishers.



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  • This is based on 2010 Pew/Nielsen study plus a review of 20 news/information sites in the Chicago market

Measuring digital success with web and social analytics (Local Media Assn., May 2013) Measuring digital success with web and social analytics (Local Media Assn., May 2013) Presentation Transcript

  • © Rich Gordon 2013What Gets Measured Gets Done:Web and Social Analytics for PublishersLocal Media Association – May 15, 2013Rich Gordon@richgor
  • © Rich Gordon 2013The problem for publishers• The Web: “the most measurable medium ever”• We are awash in measurement data• What should we keep track of?• Publishers have unique measurement needsUse of phrase “Key Performance Indicators” in books 1990-2008Source: books.google.com ‘ngram viewer’
  • © Rich Gordon 2013Key Performance Indicatorsfor publishers• Based on three years of classes in which Ihad Medill students examine “networkedaudience development practices” – andmetrics – for locally focused websites:– Links & content referrals– SEO– Social media• Based mostly on Google Analytics• A work in progress – I welcome yourfeedback
  • © Rich Gordon 2013Propositions for today• Every publisher should have a set of KPI’sthat are tracked consistently and regularly• These KPI’s should be shared throughout theorganization• Performance on KPI’s should be factored intopersonnel decisions• KPI’s should align to business goals – theywill be different for every publisher
  • © Rich Gordon 2013Data point: Nielsen Net/Ratings counts4,600 news & information websites• Top 7% ofsites (300) …… get 80%of trafficSource: http://stateofthemedia.org/2010/online-summary-essay/nielsen-analysis/
  • © Rich Gordon 2013Why are category leadersso dominant?• Network effects from links, search, socialmedia: “the rich get richer”• Networks tend to produce “power lawdistributions” of attention• The “80/20” rule: A small fraction of thetotal number of nodes in the networkgets a disproportionate share of theattention
  • © Rich Gordon 2013Basic metrics• Which of these metrics is best formeasuring audience over time?– Size/scale– Loyalty/frequency– Audience engagement
  • © Rich Gordon 2013User clickson link,requests pageContentserverdelivers pageAd requestsgo toad serverTo understand online metrics and audiences,consider how the technology works
  • © Rich Gordon 2013Your browser assembles files,presents them to the user as a pageEach server that delivers a file(HTML page, image, ad banner,Google Analytics code)can also deliver a “cookie”
  • © Rich Gordon 2013Audience vocabulary,for starters• Unique Visitors (Unique Audience): The total number ofunique persons visiting a Web site at least once in atime period (usually one month). Persons visiting thesame site more than one time in the reporting period arecounted only once.• Visit (Session): A continuous series of URL/pagerequests. A gap of 30 minutes between URL requestsends a session/visit.• Page views: The total number of times a Web page isrequested by a user. Counted only when page fully loadsin browser window.• Bounce Rate: Portion of visits that are exactly one pageview.computers visiting
  • © Rich Gordon 2013Unique visitors vs. visits• Remember that what’s really being counted hereis cookies• A visit happens any time the server delivers anew cookie or reads an existing cookie on theuser’s computer.• Unique visitors are counted each time a cookieto a new user/computer (or a user/computer theserver believes is new)• A new visitor is a computer/browser that has notbeen seen before in the given time period(typically a month)
  • © Rich Gordon 2013Among basic metrics,consider …• Size/scale: VISITS• Loyalty/frequency: % NEWVISITS• Audience engagement:PAGES/VISIT
  • © Rich Gordon 2013Problems with other metrics• Unique visitors: Each browser has its owncookies!– Users with four browsers on one computer – or awork PC, home PC, tablet and smartphone – arecounted as four separate visitors.• Pageviews: Easily manipulated – can rewardsite practices that users hate• Bounce rate: More appropriate for directmarketing campaigns ... but strive forimprovement over time
  • © Rich Gordon 2013The problem with ‘unique visitors’:a newspaper exampleUnique visitornumbers lookimpressive …Source: “The Story So Far: What We Know About theBusiness of Digital Journalism” (Columbia U. / Tow Center 2011)
  • © Rich Gordon 2013… but most usersdon’t visit very oftenNumber of visits per month1 2 3-6 7-9 10+Source: Nielsen Company and PEJ Research
  • © Rich Gordon 2013Newspaper example:core users drive vast majority of trafficSource: “The Story So Far: What We Know About the Business of Digital Journalism” (Columbia U. / Tow Center 2011)(>2 visits/week)(1-2 visits/week)(2-3 visits/mo.)(1 visit/mo. orless)25% of the visitorsgenerate 80%of the page viewsPage viewsper mo.14331103
  • © Rich Gordon 2013The real sizeof the core, loyal audienceSource: “The Story So Far: What We Know About theBusiness of Digital Journalism” (Columbia U. / Tow Center 2011)
  • © Rich Gordon 2013http://www.kaushik.net/avinash/2008/01/standard-metrics-revisited-time-on-page-and-time-on-site.htmlThe problem with visit duration:How it’s calculated
  • © Rich Gordon 2013Visit duration with browser tabs:How it’s calculatedhttp://www.kaushik.net/avinash/2008/01/standard-metrics-revisited-time-on-page-and-time-on-site.html
  • © Rich Gordon 2013Where does site traffic come from?Search, links, social media
  • © Rich Gordon 2013Where does site traffic come from?• Search: fromGoogle, etc.• Referral: links onother sites• Direct: type URLor bookmark• Campaigns: youdefine in GA;often an e-newsletterTraffic Sources | Overview
  • © Rich Gordon 2013“Branded visits”:Direct + search for <sitename>• A significant shareof search-drivenvisits are reallydirect visits “indisguise”• Add these toDirect, deductfrom SearchTraffic Sources | Sources | SearchOverview | Keyword
  • © Rich Gordon 2013Referring visitsfrom social media• Percentage ofreferral visits (andall visits) driven by:– Facebook– Twitter– Other socialsourcesTraffic Sources | Sources | ReferralsSocial | Overview
  • © Rich Gordon 2013Which referrals are most valuable:Pages/visit by sourceTraffic Sources | Sources | All TrafficComparepages/visit from:•Direct•Search•Social media•Other keyreferring sites
  • © Rich Gordon 2013Engagement:Visits starting on home page• Visitors arriving on the home pageshould view more pages and not“bounce”Content | Site Content | Landing Pages
  • © Rich Gordon 2013Engagement:Mobile vs. computer• Pages/visit for mobile will likely be lower• Mobile-friendly (“responsive”) design shouldreduce this difference• Can drill down to specific devices (phone vstablet)Audience | Mobile | Overview
  • © Rich Gordon 2013Social media:Facebook Insights• Total reach: People who have seen anycontent associated with your page• People talking about this: People who havecreated a “story” (like, comment, share,answer question, respond to event)
  • © Rich Gordon 2013Social media:Facebook Insights• Engaged users: People who have clicked onyour post• Virality: People talking about this divided bytotal daily reach
  • © Rich Gordon 2013Social media:Facebook Insights• Likes• Growth in likes• Likes per 1,000visits• Over 28 days:– Engaged users– People talkingabout this– Virality
  • © Rich Gordon 2013Social media:Twitter• Followers• Growth in followers• Followers per 1,000visits• Retweets / month
  • © Rich Gordon 2013Social media:TwitterFollower : following ratio•High: Many people arelistening to you– Using Twitter mostlyfor distribution•Low: You’re listening tomany people– Using Twitter tomonitor yourcommunity
  • © Rich Gordon 2013Social media:“Influence” scores• Klout• TweetLevel• PeerIndex• Many othersEach seeks tomeasure your“influence” onsocial mediachannels
  • © Rich Gordon 2013Thank you!richgor@northwestern.edu@richgor