Using Web Analytics for Newsroom Decisions


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Web analytics overview with a focus on radio news organizations presented to Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

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Using Web Analytics for Newsroom Decisions

  1. 1. Using Web Analytics forNewsroom DecisionsRadio Free Europe/Radio Liberty d / d b May 2011 Dana Chinn Twitter: @danachinn
  2. 2. My mission To help news and nonprofit organizations build b ild and retain audiences d t i di by using data for decision-making• Setting site goals• Mapping metrics to goals, or, determining what needs to be measured• Using Key Performance Indicators for f news sites it• Tracking traffic by topic• Using site data about streaming, radio programming and web-only content
  3. 3. Using data effectively startswith clarifying organizational goals y g g g vs. individual site goals Start here not here 3
  4. 4. Radio, TVInternet RFERL org Individual sites Computer Mobile Social media RFE Individual sites 4
  5. 5. Each individual site needs specific audience goals Is each individual site reaching and engaging its highest priority targeted audiences? t t d di ? Does it have the content it needs to oes t a e t e co te t t eeds reach its targeted audiences? 5
  6. 6. Using data for decision-making decision making You h d to cut one reporter. Y had t t t How should the others re- arrange their time? You got new funding! What should be covered – something new or something more? Should you partner with another organization? 6
  7. 7. What does a site need to dotot achieve its quantifiable goals? hi it tifi bl l ? Has content, but not the audience, or not enough of the audience -- navigation, design -- marketing Has the audience, audience but not the content Doesn t Doesn’t have the content or the audience --Add content – how much? what type? Have the expertise already? Reassign or hire?
  8. 8. What needs to be measured:All ways a person can engage with y y p g g you* * not “all the places you put content and hope everyone will come” Computer p SEARCH Home 1 Work SITES Public SOCIAL MEDIA Mobile devices WAP/mobile web 5-7 2 3 Apps 4 Tablet 8
  9. 9. “So what?” metrics waste time,lead to analysis paralysis Our site has 5,000 monthly unique visitors. Last Tuesday that story got 20,000 page views. The average time spent on our site last week was 24 minutes. Our iPhone app was downloaded 10,000 times. We have 2,000 fans on our Facebook page 2 000 page. We have 5,000 Twitter followers. Measure only what’s meaningful and useful to make decisions 9
  10. 10. actionsWhat verbs indicate engagement? Visit Vi it , regularly l l Read/view content, a l R d/ i lotInteract,Interact often -- rate, print, vote, take a poll, click on an ad -- share, e-mail, comment, contribute 10
  11. 11. Audiences, actions, metrics differ by channel SITES SOCIAL MEDIA * Totals1. Who? How many? In target audience? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?2. No. f i i ?2 N of visits? How often? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?3. What did they see? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Did they get want they wanted?4. Did they interact? y ? ? ? ? ? ? ? What did they do? How much? 11 * Different metrics, methodologies for each channel!
  12. 12. Two types of web analytics dataBehavioral research What people did when they came to your site, as captured by an action taken on a keyboard or mouseAttitudinal research What people say they did what they think and why as captured by surveys, focus groups, social media, usability studies 12
  13. 13. Behavioral research Key Performance Indicators for news sites f itOverall site indicators1. Visits2. Visits from new vs. returning visitors When you enter Google Analytics, set up “Advanced3. Visits per weekly unique visitor Segments” to see new and returning visitors for all metrics4. Page views per visit5. Bounce rate (percent of one-page visits) of the top landing pageDrill-down indicators that will give more detail on what happened6. Visits by topic7. Visits to radio vs. web content, by topic 13
  14. 14. Need to track by week – not month – to t make the data actionable k th d t ti bl One-time big news g event or new section launch or technical problem?• Seasonality• General effects of external and internal events• Technical issues that affect data integrity and comparisons • internal traffic • coding problems • site launches and consolidations • Google Analytics uses samples if the number of visits for a specified time period is greater than 500,000
  15. 15. Key Performance Indicator #1: Visits A visit is counted every time someone comes to a site t it Visits: the strongest metric available An increase in visits? Always good. A decrease in visits? Always bad bad. 15
  16. 16. Strong vs. weak metrics Strong metrics are useful tools that give clear indications of what’s successful or notc. Kyle Taylor Weak metrics… -- are conceptually flawed “so what?” counts of things so what? -- are technically flawed metrics calculated by c. Kyle Taylor web analytics systems b l ti t in ways that give unclear indications …could be so misleadingg they could lead to bad decisions 16
  17. 17. Really weak metric #1: Unique visitors A unique visitor is really a unique computer. Unique visitors are either over-counted… 17
  18. 18. …or under-counted. You don’t know when or by how much.* y library, school, ? Internet cafe* It doesn’t matter anyway….better to measure outcomes (didpeople do what you wanted?) than the number of people who came toyour site. 18
  19. 19. Really weak metric #2: Page views An increase in page views can be good - or bad.* Bad design, navigation, site architecture? design navigation Lots of page views, annoyed users ? A redesign improved usability? Fewer page views, happier users Content that should be there but isn’t? Lots of page views, annoyed users Dynamic content? Fewer page views, happier users (probably)* It doesn’t matter anyway….better to measure outcomes (didpeople do what you wanted?) than the number of pages people wentto when they came to your site. 19
  20. 20. Really weak metric #3: Time spent on site An increase in average time spent on g p site can be good - or bad.* Bad design, navigation, site architecture? ? Lots of time spent, annoyed users A redesign improved usability? Less time spent, happier users spent* It doesn’t matter anyway….better to measure outcomes (didpeople do what you wanted?) than how much time people spent onyour site. 20
  21. 21. Systems only measure the time spent in b t i between pages on a site, so… it? The time spent of a user who g p goes only to y one page is NOT included in the time spent calculation. 1 minute The time spent on the last page of a site isn’t counted at all. 10 minutes Time spent = 1 minute Site X 21
  22. 22. Are you attracting new audiences? i di Key Performance Indicator #2 y Visits from new visitors vs. Visits from returning g visitors 22
  23. 23. Generally, is your site engaging visitors? How often are they visiting? What, What how much are they seeing?Key Performance Indicator #3Visits per unique visitor Is an average of 3 visits a week for a 24/7 site enough?Key Performance Indicator #4Page views per visit Is an average of 3 pages per p g p visit for a site that produces a lot of 23 content?
  24. 24. When audiences - new and returning - Wh di d t i come, are they staying? Key Performance Indicator #5 Bounce rate percent of the landing page where most visits start “I came. I saw. I puked.” -- Avinash Kaushik on bounce rateA bounce: a visit with only one page view 24
  25. 25. Bounce rate example 25
  26. 26. Bounce rate example 26
  27. 27. Is your site set up…….with navigation that uses termsthat appeal to your audience and help them find whatthey’re looking for? ….so you can track traffic by topic throughout so your site? 27
  28. 28. OnCentral believes that News & Politics stories are crucial toserving audiences who live and work in the Central Avenue area. How many News & Politics stores are produced each week? How much traffic do News & Politics stories get per week?
  29. 29. What is “news” and what is “politics?” How many political stories are there? What types of politics?How much traffic did political stories get the week of March 13?
  30. 30. Is each page coded in a way to get this information?
  31. 31. Web traffic data gives few insights…
  32. 32. …unless each story is coded or classified.Does OnCentral have enoughlocal politics stories to builda Central Avenue audience?How many stories on localpolitics did it have the weekof March 13? What percent of pOnCentral’s content is aboutlocal politics?How much traffic did localpolitics stories get the week ofMarch 13?Does it have enoughmultimedia content on local Note: In Google Analytics usepolitics? unique page views as a proxy for visitsDoes it have stories from allareas of OnCentral?
  33. 33. Should a site be a supplement to radio/TV or a 24/7 news source on its own?Metrics that show what type of content audiences useindicate how engaged audiences are with the news org Level of engagement g g - Listen to live stream - Listen to radio programming - Use web content - Listen to live stream/radio programming and use web content - Interact with news org. based on live stream or radio - Interact with news org. based on web content 33
  34. 34. Home page bounce rates for radio news organizations may need to be interpreted differently if the goal is to build the site to stand on its own g A visit that enters the site through the home page… …and goes only to the live stream and radio content… …is not counted as a “bounce” in Google Analytics. BUT it should be interpreted as a visit that’s not h ld b i t t d i it th t’ t interested or engaged with web content. 34Also, this is another reason why time-on-site for a radio news org isn’t a meaningful metric.
  35. 35. Two types of decision-making HIghest Paid Person’s Opinion Person s -- Avinash Kaushik, Google Decision-making with data • S t specific, quantifiable site goals Set ifi tifi bl it l • Use meaningful metrics; monitor weekly; y; distinguish between traffic from external events vs. newsroom actions • Analyze traffic by audience type and topic • Understand site goals and traffic before tackling attitudinal survey research, social media metrics, mobile metrics 35