Basic web analytics for news organizations


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ONA Parachute Training, February 2010

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Basic web analytics for news organizations

  1. 1. Basic web analytics for news organizations Dana Chinn #ONAFL @danachinn February 2010
  2. 2. • Local news audiences then vs. now • Why measure, what, how • Metrics for advertising vs. site improvement • Basic metrics in Google Analytics • Social media metrics 2
  3. 3. Local news then vs. now A traditional news org A news service has content serves participants that it distributes who to people -- group -- have themselves who are the same in the same interests -- contribute geography content -- have conversations 3
  4. 4. Mass audience metrics A traditional news org delivers the same content, advertising to everyone It sells advertising based on total audience in a one-way info stream when, how it wants Total audience counts (subscriptions, weekly viewers) define success. 4
  5. 5. Online or niche audience behavior Groups of audiences of one do more than read or watch. They -- get content in pieces (or not) -- on irregular days, times -- in multiple formats (video, audio, databases) -- from myriad places (links, embeds, widgets, mobile), sources (search, e-mail, campaigns). They also rate, comment, share, tag, download, vote, buy, converse The audiences define your success 5
  6. 6. Some “famous” metrics --The ”famous metrics” term comes from web analytics guru Avinash Kaushik 6
  7. 7. “Famous” metrics aren’t useful for decision-making “After the disaster in Haiti, [our site] hit 168.6 million pageviews in the month of January. A new record.” “We are the go-to source for California 12.2 million news....[our site had] CALIFORNIANS....For the month, we received 24,449,693 --From an internal communication of a media organization, February 2010 visits.” --The ”famous metrics” term comes from web analytics guru Avinash Kaushik 7
  8. 8. Internal vs. external metrics Newsroom Advertising, marketing • Census data • Panel data 100% of all visitors, visits, page Activity from a sample of self- views for all sections selected people. Only total site data for a limited number of sites. • Analysis, decisions, • Marketing, trending, actions, evaluation external comparisons • Omniture • comScore Google Analytics Nielsen WebTrends Compete etc. etc. • Web Analytics • Interactive Association Advertising Bureau 8
  9. 9. 9
  10. 10. -- ratings -- in pieces ratings -- -- content content in pieces -- comments -- comments -- days, -- days, times times -- times shared -- formats formats times shared -- -- -- tags -- places places -- tags -- Data, data everywhere -- downloads -- sources sources downloads -- -- -- votes -- sales -- sales -- votes I think I could sink -- conversations -- conversations Data, data everywhere -- ratings Will someone please -- content in pieces -- ratings -- comments -- days, times content in pieces help me think. -- -- comments -- times shared -- formats -- days, times -- times shared tags -- Rishad Tobaccowalla, CEO, Denuo -- places -- formats at OMMA Metrics & Measurement, June 2009 -- tags -- downloads -- sources -- places -- downloads-- votes -- sales -- sources -- votes -- conversations -- sales -- conversations “Dutch boats in a squall” by J.M.W Turner 10
  11. 11. Measuring is for decision-making To define success - or failure To decide what to expand - or quit To set priorities, to allocate enough people, money to activities so they’ll be successful - or to cut or shift resources 11
  12. 12. Measure only what you need • What needs to get done, what you want to do, what is impact you want? “What is it that we want to change, improve, accomplish, incite?” --”The Maturation of Social Media ROI,” by Brian Solis, Mashable, Jan. 26, 2010 • Who are the target audiences? • What activities will reach the target No. of podcasts subscribed to/ audiences, get them to take the desired downloaded actions? Over what time periods? vs. No. of podcasts • What are the measurable elements - the -- put on iPod -- played Key Performance Indicators - that will tell -- listened to you whether you’ve succeeded or failed? the end 12
  13. 13. Defining success starts with defining distinct audiences, characteristics 13
  14. 14. What are the site’s goals, top priorities? Map measurable elements/metrics to goals Which audiences are the top priorities, or essential to the success of the site? What elements are essential to attracting and retaining the top priority audiences? What are the metrics to these elements? What are the benchmarks/starting points for each metric? What is the goal for each metric? When do you want (or need) to reach each goal? 14
  15. 15. Two types of web analytics metrics What people do (behavioral) Who they are, what they think (attitudinal) 15
  16. 16. Unique visitors visit websites, generate page views. 16
  17. 17. A “unique visitor” is actually a “unique computer” 17
  18. 18. Unique visitors may be over- or undercounted Work =33 unique visitors = unique visitors Hotel Home = 1 unique visitor Work 18
  19. 19. The no. of unique visitors is based on the time period you specify. S M T W Th F S 1 2 3 4 5 July 6-12 July 13-19 July 20-26 July 27-31 31 The number of “daily unique visitors” ...on Tuesday, July 1, is six ...on Friday, July 4, is three 19
  20. 20. S M T W Th F S 1 July 6-12 July 13-19 July 20-26 July 27-31 31 The number of “weekly unique visitors” ...for the week of July 6-12 is six 20
  21. 21. S M T W Th F S 1 2 3 4 5 July 6-12 July 13-19 July 20-26 July 27-31 31 The number of “monthly unique visitors” ...for the month of July is seven 21
  22. 22. Daily UV counts can’t make weekly UVs, weekly UVs can’t make monthly UVs, etc. S M T W Th F Sa 22
  23. 23. The math of visits A visit is a period of activity separated by at least 30 minutes of inactivity. A visitor clicks into your site at 1 p.m., surfs for 20 minutes, then clicks into One visit A visitor clicks into your site at 1 p.m., surfs for 45 minutes, talks on the phone for 30 minutes without touching the keyboard, then hangs up and goes back to your site for 20 minutes before clicking into Visit 1: 45 minutes Visit 2: 20 minutes Two visits A visitor clicks into your site at 1 p.m., surfs for one hour, leaves his computer for 29 minutes, and then comes back and surfs for another hour before clicking into Visit time: 2 hours, 29 minutes One visit 23
  24. 24. Three basic engagement KPIs Two ratios Text visits per unique visitor page views per visit One the bounce rate proportion of the page where people enter your Example: 50% site most often 24
  25. 25. Visits per weekly unique visitor Example 2.5 visits per week Are visitors coming to your site with the frequency you need to build loyal, satisfied audiences ? If you update your site 24/7, is your content engaging enough to compel someone to visit more than two or three times a week? 25
  26. 26. Page views per visit, by week Example 3.6 page views per visit When visitors do come to your site, are they engaging with its content? Does a high number suggest visitors can’t find what they want? 26
  27. 27. Bounce rate of top entry pages One visit with one page view to the home page = 1 bounce No. of bounces + No. of visits that started with the home page and had 2+ page views = 100% of visits 27
  28. 28. Example Home page bounce rate = over 50% Over half of the visits to the home page left without clicking into any other pages Best (?) cases: Came only to get the headlines Home page has dynamic content not captured with page views (check your business model) Worst cases: Couldn’t find what they wanted Didn’t like what they saw Source: “Can CNN, the Go-To Site, Get You to Stay?” by Brian Stetler, New York Times, Jan. 17, 2009 28
  29. 29. Example What bounce rate should you calculate? The home page is the most popular page on the site. Its content, design and navigation has to attract and retain multiple and diverse 29
  30. 30. Example Home page bounce rate 30
  31. 31. Don’t waste time on “average time spent on site” Methodology: The total time in between a visitor’s first pageview and his/her last pageview The amount of time a visitor spent on the last pageview isn’t included Averages don’t allow analysis of visits of either short or long duration You really don’t know the time truly spent. If a visit is counted at 29 minutes, you don’t know if the person was truly on the site for all 29 minutes or if he/she walked away between minutes 1 and 28. Bounces are included as zero, or no time - you don’t know whether someone was indeed actively looking at the page 31
  32. 32. Basic metrics in Google Analytics Use weekly stats, not monthly This is the bounce rate for the total site, not a top entry page Has methodology issues. Is an average, so is Needs more detail, skewed comparative analysis to be useful 32
  33. 33. Use weekly metrics, full-week time periods so you can identify unusual movement quickly 5-week period 33
  34. 34. Looking at data in segments gives you actionable info 34
  35. 35. Segmentation: New vs. returning visitors Are we building audiences? KPI: Visits from new vs. returning visitors GA focuses on visits rather than UVs 35
  36. 36. Segmentation: New vs. returning visitors When new visitors come to our site, are they staying? KPI: PVs per visit, new vs. returning There were 4,807 visits to our site during the week of Jan. 10. Of those 4,807 visits, 2,190, or 46%, went to two pages. Of those 2,190 visits, 1,357 were from new visitors, and 833 were from returning visitors. Question: Only TWO? 36
  37. 37. Types of social media channels Sharing Networking News Bookmarking Reviews -- “Five essentials for social media marketing,” by Lisa Wehr, CEO/Oneupweb, iMedia Connection, July 17, 2009 37
  38. 38. Social media rules 1. Listen 2. Engage 3. Measure • Audience • Engagement • Loyalty • Influence • Action Metrics should map to goals. Period. From “What the **** is Social Media - One Year Later,” Marta Kagan, Espresso|Brand Infiltration, July 16, 2009. Some explicit words. 38
  39. 39. Always define the R R OI eturn n nvestment and R OO eturn n bjectve “What is it that we want to change, improve, accomplish, incite....?” --”The Maturation of Social Media ROI,” by Brian Solis, Mashable, Jan. 26, 2010 39
  40. 40. Understand Twitter’s simple complexity, understand how social media is measured Content Followers 40
  41. 41. Followers Look for influencers Review reach, churn, following/follower ratio 41
  42. 42. The perfect (measurable) Tweet • A call to action to participate, engage with you Look at this. Go here. What do you think? • A link To get news, information Tweets are now a primary news source, the new home page To respond to the call to action • A #hashtag and/or keywords • Handle specific to person/topic • A comment 42
  43. 43. Analyze content Review hashtags, keywords, sentiment, problems, conversations that connect people 43
  44. 44. Attitudinal research Do you know the people behind the clicks? 1. What was the purpose of your visit today? 2. Were you able to complete your task today? 3. If not, why not? 4. If you did complete your task, what did you enjoy most about our site? Caution: Pop-up survey data is a truth but not the complete truth. Pop-ups are only completed by those who feel like’s not a representative sample. 44
  45. 45. Web analytics is not easy... • Have clearly defined, accountable goals, objectives on which everyone agrees each of which is someone’s responsibility • Know the limitations of your data, metrics It’s better to guess than to make decisions based on bad data and/or inappropriate metrics • Analytics is not about technology, software It’s people, processes • If you make decisions solely on judgment, don’t waste time, resources on metrics HIghest Paid Person’s Opinion 45
  46. 46. Dana Chinn Blog Lecturer 213-821-6259 Analytics for news orgs bookmarks danachinn Presentations danachinn Twitter: DanaChinn 46