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In this ongoing series, I’ll walk you through tips and tricks for using Chartbeat data to full advantage — helping you connect data-driven actions to increased unique visitors, loyalty, and revenue.

It’s no secret that social media is a necessary tool in building an online audience. But how well do you actually know your social readers? Chartbeat’s Data Science team dug into the data to learn more about the habits and patterns of readers who discover stories via social channels.

Across our network of more than 50,000 sites, we found that Google and Facebook were the main drivers of traffic. On average, Facebook accounts for about 30% of external traffic. That’s a lot of readers!

Understanding the nuances of that social audience is critical to successfully converting social visitors to loyal returners. Experimenting is the best way to get a real understanding of your unique Facebook and Twitter audiences and to evaluate your social promotion strategies.

First, set up your dashboard to see the frequency of your social visitors:

  • Double pivot on “new” and “social” in your Real-Time Dashboard. The top pages list shows you which stories are doing the best job of attracting new readers to your site.  
  • Then, switch from “new” to “returning” and check to see if there’s a difference. Are there stories that are resonating with readers that are more familiar with your site, but not necessarily drawing in the new crowd? Could you promote these stories in a different way to appeal to new visitors?
  • For most sites, you’ll notice that Facebook drives significantly more traffic than Twitter. While there are a lot of great, journalistic reason to Tweet, when it comes to getting readers onto a story, Facebook is typically the better choice.

Next, try some experimentation. Post a story on your social accounts and watch the dashboard to see if that post actually brought more readers to your story. If your readers aren’t clicking, try a different approach next time: Use a quote or fact from the story, try a different type of image with your post. By running a few of these small experiments, you can build your own best practices for engaging your social audience.

In addition to varying the type and tone of your posts, you can also experiment with timing. As seen below, our research suggests that social traffic substantially underperforms overall traffic from the morning through to the early afternoon, and substantially overperforms overall traffic during evenings and nights.

 

So if your goal is reach, late afternoon through the evening is the best time to attract readers on social media and get them to click through to your site. That being said, this can vary based on your own content focus and promotion strategies – so make sure you experiment and find the times that see the most traffic from your unique audience.

And remember, to keep everyone in the newsroom on top of social promotion strategies and success, you can get a specific social view in your Big Board display. To do that, simply select the ‘Configure’ button in the upper right and choose “Social Traffic” from the “Traffic Sources” dropdown.

Have any questions or curious about a specific topic you’d like me to cover? Reach out to me at jill@chartbeat.com or @tumbling_after on Twitter.

In this ongoing series, I’ll walk you through tips and tricks for using Chartbeat data to full advantage — helping you connect data-driven actions to increased unique visitors, loyalty, and revenue.

Does your editorial strategy include video content? Did you know that video viewers who watch for a significant amount of time or watch multiple videos during their first visit, are significantly more likely to return and watch another video during the following 7 days?

Here at Chartbeat, we want to make sure we help you understand how your audience is connecting with your content at all times – no matter the platform, channel, or format.

Check out these three tips for enhancing your content strategy using your Chartbeat video data:

Identify successful videos

A video with a high number of starts and a low ad drop-off rate is a great money-maker. Not only are a significant number of people starting this video, but they’re also watching the pre-roll ad and sticking around for the actual content.

If engagement is high as well, you’ve got an all-star video and you should be promoting it as widely as possible.

 

Troubleshoot display and placement issues on high-performing pages

Curation matters as much as creation. Make sure you’re showing your video content the love it deserves by pairing it with relevant content and ensuring that you’re optimizing the user experience.

If a video has a low play rate, ask two questions:

– Does the video have a good thumbnail? If not, choose a more impactful still image.
– Is the video placed high enough on the page for readers to see the play button? If the scroll depth indicator is showing that most of the page’s visitors never see the video, move it up.

 

Monitor drop-off and completion rates for autoplay videos

No matter how well a video is performing in other areas, if it has a high ad drop-off percentage most people aren’t even getting to the real content – drastically reducing their chances of becoming a loyal viewer. If you see a high drop-off rate, flag the situation to your ad team.

 

Our Video Suite is tailored to help you not only understand how your videos are consumed, but also use that data to validate and enhance your larger content strategies. Remember that your Video Dashboard exists alongside the entire suit of Chartbeat tools, and many of the key video metrics like Watching Now and Engaged Time appear in the Real-Time Dashboard as well. Jump over there to quickly get more context around how your viewing audience compares to the rest of the readers on the page, or go to the actual page your video appears on and see firsthand how the video’s placement on the page relates to scroll depth.

Have any questions or curious about a specific topic you’d like me to cover? Reach out to me at jill@chartbeat.com or @tumbling_after on Twitter.

Headline Test to Success

February 13th, 2017 by Jill

In case you missed it, we recently held a live webinar on how to optimize your homepage and use Engaged Headline Testing to its full advantage. Check out the recording here.

We all know that a headline can make or break your stories, but given all the competition for reader attention, your ability to write engaging headlines is critical to your audience’s health. Audience data can help with headline writing, but at the end of the day, it’s more art than science. Metrics are there to supplement your news judgement — not replace it. By experimenting, we learn more about how to connect with our audience.

Make the most of your homepage audience with Chartbeat’s Heads Up Display and Engaged Headline Testing tools. By combining your own editorial expertise with real-time performance metrics, you can maximize the effectiveness of your content, get to know your audience on a deeper level, and promote your content with headlines that you know are more likely to grab — and keep — readers’ attention.

The first step is to identify headlines you want to test. Choose the stories that will have the most impact on your readers:

  • Test in high-traffic areas: Optimize the marquee areas on your site to make the best use of your time. It can be tempting to test every single headline, but time is limited, so make it count. Stick to the top of the homepage.
  • Fix your underperformers: Chartbeat’s digital overlay will alert you in real time if one of your headlines isn’t performing as well as it should. That doesn’t mean the story is bad — it means you need a new headline. Perfect opportunity to test.
  • Spend extra time on your high-value journalism: Getting readers to click on the mayhem stories — the bleeders, the burners, the scandals — is easy. Getting them to click on serious, investigative journalism is hard. The deeper stories need the right headline to accomplish their purpose of informing readers. We spend more time to produce these stories. Let’s give them some love after they’re published.

Once you’ve decided where to test, keep these six tips in mind to make the most out of every experiment you conduct:

  • Always be testing: Since there’s no limit on how many experiments you can run at the same time with our Engaged Headline Testing tool, you always have the opportunity to learn from your audience’s behavior. Our research shows that the winning headline in a five variant experiment typically has more than a 50% higher CTR than the average headline, whereas you may only see a 23% benefit for a standard A/B test – so the more options you test, the better!
  • Know which audience you’re testing: Homepage audiences are usually loyal, visit often, and know what to expect, whereas social visitors tend to be new and interested in the buzz of the moment, so it’s likely they’ll prefer different headlines.
  • Don’t stop tests prematurely: It might be tempting to stop a test when one headline quickly takes the lead, but you’re likely to see cases where the tides shift halfway through the experiment and the initial success trails off.  
  • Don’t get discouraged by ties: It’s possible that two great headlines are attracting similar levels of engagement. If you’re frequently seeing similar results, it might be that the headlines you’re testing are too similar.
  • Keep track of what works: We found that a lot of the common headline-writing tips, such as  “Use terse, punchy headlines”; “Ask questions”; “Name drop.” showed little to no significant results in their ability to capture audience attention, but that that headlines with direct quotes are 14% more likely to win headline tests than average headlines – does this hold true for your audience?
  • Don’t forget to follow through: That’s why we’ve made you this fun headline test tracking template to keep you more organized than the Container Store.

Check out a full recording of the webinar here, download our Headline Testing Insider Guide here, and reach out to productoutreach@chartbeat.com for more information.