Author Archive

We’re headed to the ONA!

September 22nd, 2011 by Dawn

The people in the newsroom are the heart and soul of newsbeat, so we’re really excited to be heading to Boston for the ONA conference this weekend. Tony Haile (our newly minted CEO!) and I are going to be attending sessions to learn more about what makes great news organizations tick, showing off some of the new things we’ve got in the works, and reaching out for your feedback on newsbeat (and chartbeat!). We’ve also proposed a session for the ONA unconference about the move to a real-time newsroom - what works, what doesn’t, and how newsrooms are adapting to a real-time news cycle. You can check out the details here and then vote for the session if you’d like to join us! Tony and I will be at the conference tomorrow and Saturday, so feel free to grab us if you’d like to chat. Or send me an email at dawn@chartbeat.com if you’d rather schedule time to talk. We’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas!

Celebrating your Chartbeat triumphs

September 8th, 2011 by Dawn

One of the most exciting things about having chartbeat running on your site is that moment when your traffic goes nuts and you can watch it unfold on your dashboard. Busting through your 30-day traffic high is a great feeling. Even we at chartbeat aren’t immune to it. Immediately after the earthquake rattled the Northeast a couple of weeks ago, everyone at chartbeat HQ dropped what they were doing to gather around the “total total” dial we display on a big monitor in the center of our office. The “total total” shows cumulative traffic across every site running chartbeat and we all wanted to know, “Would the earthquake news drive enough traffic to break our previous record?” As people across the east coast, and then across the rest of the country, went online to find out what happened, traffic to chartbeat sites went through the roof. In less than 10 minutes, we zoomed past our previous all-time high. As we cheered, did the requisite high fives (we really like high fives around here), and tweeted links to our new record-breaking dial, it made me think of other people who have shared similar chartbeat triumphs. From new 30-day traffic highs, to watching a product launch take off, it’s exciting to see pictures of companies gathered around their dashboards or screenshots of dials, dashboards, and big boards being shared with the world via Twitter, tumblr, and flickr. To continue in this spirit of celebration, we’ve started a gallery to capture these publicly shared chartbeat moments. Head over to http://gallery.chartbeat.com to check out how people are displaying chartbeat in their offices and sharing their chartbeat triumphs with the world. And if you have your chartbeat data displayed in your office or want to share a photo of one of your exciting chartbeat moments, we’d love to add it to the gallery! Just send me an email at dawn@chartbeat.com or post it on Twitter.

Making new vs. returning visits more human centric

September 6th, 2011 by Dawn

This past Sunday morning, we made a change to the way we measure new vs. returning visitors to your site.

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We think it’s important to measure humans rather than clicks, which often means a departure from traditional analytics. Up until Sunday, we considered a new visitor anyone who was on the first page of their first visit to your site in the past 30 days. This was useful for identifying which pages were most effectively driving new traffic but caused issues when trying to understand the broader behavior of new visitors. We wanted to take this type of behavior into account, so for people who are coming to your site for the first time in the past 30 days, we're now counting them as "new" for the first 30 minutes they spend on your site, regardless of how many pages they have visited.

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After this time, they will be considered a “returning” visit, which will also be true if they visit your site again within 30 days. If they haven't revisited your site in 30 days, the clock resets and they're treated as a new visitor again. This change means you might see a slight increase in the percentage of new visits on your chartbeat or newsbeat dashboard. If you have alerts set up for new visits, there’s a chance this increase will trigger an alert for you. Please let us know if you need help managing the alerts. (For all of you who are thinking “What’s an alert? Chartbeat has alerts?” don’t worry! You can explore and set up customized alerts through your chartbeat alerts tab or newsbeat settings page.) As always, we really want to hear what you think. Send us your feedback, thoughts, and examples of how you use new vs. returning metrics, on our site or elsewhere.

The EU cookie directive and chartbeat

August 24th, 2011 by Dawn

We’ve had a few of our European clients ask about the new EU cookie directive and how this affects their site’s use of chartbeat or newsbeat. The EU law, which requires that all users are asked for consent before using any non-essential cookies, will have an impact on the cookies served by chartbeat.
Currently, chartbeat uses two cookies. One cookie (_chartbeat2) is used to register if a person has visited the domain before (to calculate “new vs returning” users). The other (_SUPERFLY_nosample) is used only if you go over your plan’s traffic limit. At that point the cookie is set and will disable the beacon from that visitor for one hour. The _chartbeat2 cookie is valid for 30 days. The _SUPERFLY_nosample cookie is valid for one hour. For more information about the chartbeat code, please see our docs page.
We’re in the process of building support for a cookie-less mode of chartbeat and newsbeat. Once available, the “new vs. returning user” data point in the chartbeat or newsbeat dashboard will not be accurately reported if you choose to allow users to opt-in to chartbeat cookies.

We’ll send out an update when a cookie-less mode is available. In the meantime, please contact us at support@chartbeat.com with any questions.

Tools for sharing your data with the world

August 8th, 2011 by Dawn

Displaying data about your site, on your site, has become part of the standard user experience - from the number of Facebook and Twitter shares to the total page views on every article.

Business Insider's Engage-O-Meter

Last Wednesday, Business Insider took it one step further when they launched the Engage-O-Meter, a customized chartbeat-powered widget showing how many people are on their site right now. They also made their chartbeat dashboard accessible to the public. By opening up their real-time data, Business Insider joins a group of other chartbeat users who are showing off their numbers:
  • Midi Libre is displaying both active visits and traffic to top stores at the top of their home page
  • Hark.com has a real-time feed of where their users are arriving from and what they’re reading
If you want to join this growing list of users, we have a few tools and widgets to get you started. And don’t worry if you aren’t a coding genius - many of these options require minimal engineering skills.


Active Visits

The Active Visits Dial shows the total number of visitors across your entire site with the classic chartbeat gauge. You can customize color and size, refresh rate, and the widget label. Please note that you will need to proxy the api request to use this, so it's a little more developer intensive than the rest of the widgets.



Active Visits by the Numbers shows the number of people that are currently on a specific page or across your entire site. It can show either the total number of people, the new vs. returning users, or the reading/writing/idle activity on a specific page or the entire site.

Mapping Your Visitors

The Incoming Visitors Map is a simple mashup of Google Maps and the chartbeat ‘recent’ API call that plots the physical location of visitors to your site, along with what page they’re reading. The mashup is open source. View a live demo.

Top Stories

The Big Board is a dynamic overview of which articles are trending at the moment on your site. As traffic moves around your site, the pages will automatically rearrange themselves in order of popularity and arrows will indicate the direction of the traffic to that page. The Big Board is an open source project. View a live demo. The Top Pages widget is a list of the current most visited pages across your site. You can select the number of stores to be shown in the list.

If you’re interested in displaying recent visits and referrers data, check out our Site Widgets page for easy-to-embed widgets. Or, if you want to build something from scratch, sign up for an API key and have all your data at your fingertips.

As always, we're here to help. If you run into any problems installing the widgets or have an idea for other tools you'd like to see, let us know. Or, if you do something amazing with your chartbeat data, drop us a line. We'd love to see it!