Author Archive

The Whole Point of Social Traffic

January 28th, 2013 by Doug

Chartbeat Publishing: Exploring the Social View
As a member of the Chartcorps, our Chartbeat Publishing clients ask me all the time how they should be using the Social View. What are best practices, what are the other guys using it for and to what effect, that kind of stuff. In a nutshell, the Social View helps you understand more about why readers are sharing your articles, what they're talking about in relation to you and your content offsite, and how you can instantly spot every possible opportunity to grow your audience.  

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Social View 101
The Social View shows you how people are sharing your content on Twitter and Facebook. You have a feed in your dashboard of everyone who’s promoting your story and how they’re doing so. You can put a face to your legions of fans. But more than that - and of course more important than that - you know who is advocating for you and can act as a content guide for you. The content that resonates with your core audience will bring them back again and again leading to not just return visits, but a loyal audience. And every article is an opportunity to build those loyalists.
Readers connecting with your content
With the Social View, you have insider access to the conversation surrounding your story – why people find it interesting, what elements of the story are compelling enough that people are sharing that link. Sure, you can always look at the comments section on your page, but with the Social View you’re not limited just to your commenting audience, which is generally a small portion of the most outspoken in the bunch - you can see everyone who’s tweeting a link to that story. This gives you a real sense of the relationships readers are establishing with your content and therefore you (read: more loyalists.) 

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It's all about tactical insights
Knowing who loves your content, who's sharing it, and when doesn't amount to more than a pat on the back - unless you do something about it. The data you’re getting from your Social View helps you execute on your content strategy. Once your story’s out in the world, it's time for you to make some key, traffic-driving decisions. Maybe your story’s current title doesn’t reflect why your readers find that story compelling (your concurrents are lower than you know they should be), so you could switch in a new headline that relates to those specific story points that your Twitter fam is calling out most. Or maybe, in response to a specific point your readers are hung up on, you can edit that piece to add some clarification or further insights or get a followup piece up and live ASAP. There are always ways to build on the dialogue your initial story started - the beauty of the social web means news is never finished. Chartbeat data's just like a compass for your editorial strategy. You can't possibly pay 100% attention to every scroll, every tweet, every share - but Social View points you to the ones you do need to see, the impact makers, the audience builders. But share in the comments how you've used social traffic and to what effect. And as always, feel free to shoot me an email if you have any questions.    

Your Site, the Socialite: Introducing Social View & iOS Tracking Beta

May 3rd, 2012 by Doug

The world outside your website is tough to manage. You have die-hard fans extolling you in 140 characters. You have newbies who aren’t quite your target stumbling upon you via, er, StumbleUpon. And your regular guys constantly checking up on you through their iPhone apps. For a long time people have looked at the social audience, in particular, as its own discrete segment living in a vacuum to be treated totally differently from the rest of your audience. But really, they affect your site traffic and engage with your content like everyone else, don’t they? Shouldn’t you know just how much they're affecting your site? We sure think so. So within the new Social View on your Chartbeat dashboard, you’ll see the whole world of your social visitors. There’s a ton of easy-to-digest information about what’s going on with your site as seen through the social web.

In a single view, you can see what people are saying about you, how many of your current visitors came from social channels, and what pages are powerhouses on social networks. Social traffic can make the difference between an ordinary day and an extraordinary day. It’s important that you can now dig through that list of your most social pages and figure out what makes them different, so you can get the same kind of oomph out of the rest of your pages. If you see a big spike in traffic at the same time as you’re blowing up on Twitter, embrace it – see what people are saying, engage in conversation, retweet. People want to interact with you – make it easy for them to know there’s a real person behind all that HTML...

...and behind all that iOS code.

Your iPhone and iPad app is kind of like an entirely different site. It reaches a potentially totally new audience for you. It's important to track the differences between your site and your apps. So, we’re beta testing an iOS app tracking feature, too. If you have an iPhone or iPad app, install away through your dashboard sites page and let us know what you think. (Remember: the key word is “beta,” so we’re looking for your feedback and understanding that it’s not done yet). And don’t forget to sign up for the Chartcorps virtual workshop to get a more in-depth look at social, iOS tracking and everything in between.

Give into the Pressure. Introducing Peer Stats & Notable Pages

April 29th, 2012 by Doug

We hate to break it to you, but you’re not in a monogamous relationship. Your audience has been seeing other sites. While your site is amazing at some stuff, it probably needs some TLC in other areas. But which ones? Is your audience ending up with your competitors because their search results are amazing while loving you because you’re killer at social? It’s time you knew how you stack up against sites like you. As part of the Chartbeat network, you’re one of thousands of sites we monitor every day.

Peer Stats

We’ve anonymized (so no one knows your site is compared to theirs and you won’t know exactly who is in your Peer Group either) and aggregated our network of data, filtered it through some intense algorithms and will now be delivering it in context for you in a new feature called Peer Stats.

Peer Stats let you see information about sites that are similar to yours. What does similar mean, you ask? Great question. Right now it’s based on a bunch of stuff like your daily traffic pattern, size of your site, and your industry. This last part we need your help with. The first time you log into your dashboard, we’ll give you a quick survey asking you what kind of site you have, so we can make sure you’re matched up with the right competitors.

Big sites are different from small sites, and your tech blog is different from that guy’s Tumblr with pictures of dogs standing on things. You treat yourselves differently, and so do we.

Notable Pages

In fact, because we know your site is different from all the others, we’ve also given you new ways to learn about your own content. Until now you’ve seen top pages content - only those pages with the most traffic. Now, we’re introducing Notable Pages, which highlight the most interesting aspects of your site, regardless of the amount of traffic they’re receiving. Say you have a page that’s suddenly getting 99% of all traffic from Social sources. Whoa. Huge. Important to know why that’s the case when the rest of your site is averaging around 20% of its traffic from Social, right? Maybe you can learn from this page and apply those insights across your site immediately. Or there’s a page that’s suddenly surging with new user visits vs. the returning users that it normally gets. You should probably create some new content or related links or the like to make sure you treat these new users carefully to convert them into loyal members. Notable Pages and Peer Stats give you a bit more context to the story of your site. They give you an instant answer to how your site’s doing today. Remember, our Chartcorps team is hosting a weekly virtual workshop for you to get the full rundown of all the new dashboard can do. Sign up!

Chartbeat Is Engaged! Introducing Engaged Time

April 24th, 2012 by Doug

Engagement: That elusive beast.

Everyone wants it, no one knows just how to pin it down. So we’ve all been stuck with our second choice, the back up, plan B -- the page view. Ick. Who cares that people are loading your page? We need to know how they’re interacting - with what and for how long. As we’ve already ranted and raged about back in January, that’s the only real measure of great content. Well, it’s your lucky day/week/forever, friend. We’ve wooed engagement out of her secret hiding place and pinned her down for all to use. So let’s show off your newest metric Engaged Time:

Engaged Time is dissected in a few ways:

  1. Total amount of time your visitors are have spent actively browsing your site – in human terms: days, weeks, months or years. Not billions of absolutes because, well, what the hell would you do with those massive numbers?

Think about it this way: Total Engaged Time is how long you’ve had your users’ undivided attention today. If 2,000 people have been interacting with your site for an hour each today, that means you’ve had about three months of attention on your site in one day. Three months is how long it takes Mercury to orbit the Sun. Your site engagement being that long is pretty nuts.

Oh, also, since today is Monday, we also let you compare today’s total to Monday last week, the week before, and so on for the past month. You can gauge how your site is doing and see if your sparkly new content is making the difference you’re hoping it does. It shows if you’ve had a good day compared to your usual days.

  1. Average amount of time your visitors are spending on each page.  There’s more to understanding a page than just seeing how many people are there – let average engaged minutes help you understand how much they really like it – like, this very second.
Oh, and there’s more! Check out the Content View in your dashboard. See that list of pages? Below each one, you’ll see how many visitors are on that page (like you always could), but now zero in on that nifty little click icon on the right.

That’s the average engaged time for that page – and you can compare and contrast to see which of your pages are doing well at keeping people’s attention. See a page that’s getting a ton of engagement? Click on that.

This is your Page View that has detailed information on its traffic and engagement. Right under your usual traffic timeline, you get a timeline of average engagement over the course of the day. And that number on the right? That's the total amount of engaged time it's gotten today.

Now do something about it

You know what everything is, so let’s talk about how you should put it into action. Picture a page on your site with particularly low traffic. It happens to all of us. But then you notice that this page has ridiculously high engagement compared to your other pages. People are into this page, way into this page. The people who come to it aren’t just bouncing off, but actually sticking around to check out the content you’ve crafted.

A page with high engagement but low traffic

You made this, so give yourself a pat on the back. But then get back to work. You need to make sure other people see this page too, so send it to everyone you know: put it on Facebook and Twitter, and make sure people notice it on your homepage. Figure out what it is about this page that’s keeping people engaged and apply that genius to the rest of the content. Oh, but you work isn’t done with that one page. Not when you notice something about another one of your pages - that one that you’ve known to have a ton of traffic, so you generally left it alone.

The flip side: high traffic with low engagement

But, now that you have Engaged Time, you see it has really low engagement. So, there’s something about it that’s drawing people in – maybe a good title, an interesting topic, or you got lucky with a link from Reddit. But the low engagement stats are showing you that it just isn’t keeping people’s attention. Is it the writing? Do you need to spice it up? If your traffic is coming from a link, do you need something that’s more interesting to visitors from that other site? The possibilities to awesome-up your pages are endless. In fact, our Chartcorps team is hosting a weekly virtual workshop for you to get the full rundown of all the new dashboard can do. Sign up! How are you hoping to/already using Engaged Time as the ultimate kick-ass metric?