Archive for the ‘Event’ Category

Last Friday, we had a group of 10th graders from the The Young Women’s Leadership Schools (TWYLS) hang out at Chartbeat Studios. TYWLS is a network of schools focused on bringing high-quality single-sex education to predominantly low-income students between 6th and 12th grade, usually first generation college students in their families. Their ultimate mission strives to make higher education achievable and leadership opportunities accessible to aspiring young women across the country.

We’re pretty big believers in their mission and for the last three years we’ve had the pleasure of spending the day with these bright young minds to give them a glimpse into the tech startup space and world of entrepreneurship. Something not enough young women have the chance to see let alone be encouraged to pursue as a future career path.

The day was filled with equal parts snacks, puppies, and guided brainstorms aimed at solving a problem they cared about. After tons of ideas and voting, the girls settled on building a solution  for deciding how to dress depending on the day’s weather. (Hear that, friends at Poncho?).




We broke the girls in two smaller groups, both solving for the same problem. The outcome? An ingenious solution that began with thinking about potential customers and ended with an initial startup business plan complete with company names, a logo, app or website, and overall marketing plan for the company. It’s amazing what happens when you put people in a room and ask them to create a solution for something they care about.



A surprise appearance from CEO Tony Haile, during the presentation period was an extra treat for the girls, as they had no idea who they were pitching their ideas to. He treated them a little easier than the Sharks in “Shark Tank.”

These young women came up with amazing solutions and I think walked away from the day with a different perspective on career paths, entrepreneurship, and lots of goodies from our startup friends around the country. Huge thanks to:

Our goal was to educate them on the possibilities. Mission accomplished.

Chartbeat loves any excuse to party, and last Thursday, December 11th was no different: We got together with the Financial Times to co-host a party feting time and attention in digital advertising. There’s been a lot of discussions in the digital media landscape this year around moving past the click, valuing attention and using time as a currency, so we figured why not get some of the boldest minds in advertising together to share their ideas?

And so we did, with flash talks from these bright folks:

  • Nancy Brennan, Global Head of Marketing, Banking and Markets, Bank of America Merrill Lynch
  • Coleen Cahill, Executive Director of Communications, Brand Union
  • Brendan Spain, US Commercial Director, Financial Times
  • Tony Haile, CEO and Fearless Leader, Chartbeat
  • IMG_2667

    Nancy spoke about the need for brands to breakthrough to their users and capture their attention, whereas Coleen discussed the ongoing importance of narratives and storytelling as brands try to connect with their users. Things got more tactical with Brendan sharing his experiences thus far piloting time-based campaigns with clients for the Financial Times, and Tony wrapped things up with some of his predictions for 2015.

    It was a blast getting top publishers, agencies, and brands in the same room to talk about these hot topics – it probably helped that guests were fueled by an open bar featuring the Attention Grabber, the night’s signature cocktail.

    That’s all I’ve got to report but we’re planning our next event for early 2015. If you’ve got a hot topic or brilliant minds you want to hear about/from, let me know.

    We’re Heading to #ONA14

    September 24th, 2014 by Alexandra

    Tomorrow, the Chartbeat crew is headed to the Windy City to set up camp at the Online News Association’s annual conference. Tony, Dustin, Nik, Bill, Jared, and I are looking forward to catching up with some of the best and brightest in digital media to talk all things data, quality, and attention. If you’re attending, you should swing by our demo and catch Tony on the main stage.

    Nik Giving you the Scoop on Attention Metrics

    Building the Attention Web: Practical Applications for Your Team

    Swing by our booth in the midway on Thursday at 10:45 a.m. for tea, scones, demos, and discussion. Nik Nadolski, our lead Chartcorps member, will be breaking down the research behind the Attention Web, and explaining how Chartbeat tools can help organizations use attention metrics to boost return visits, build loyalty across platforms and formats (mobile/video), and prove the value of their engaging content.Read: He’ll be giving you the skinny on best practices and sharing tales of Chartbeat in action on the front lines.

    Tony Breaking Down The Attention Economy

    A Data State of the Union: Can We Make Quality Pay Online?

    Our beloved CEO (and everyone’s favorite Brit), Tony Haile will be taking the stage on Friday at 10 Chicago Ballroom VI. He’ll be diving into the challenges and promises of building a sustainable currency of quality on the Attention Web. Specifically, he’ll be helping you understand how and what we’re consuming on the web, from the state of the homepage to the rise of mobile to the opportunities for display advertising and the truth about native ads.

    Give us a shout if you’re heading that way. We’ll also be demoing products and talking shop in the Midway from Thursday to Saturday, so please come by and say hi! We’d love to hear your take on things.

    This week, the Chartbeat crew is leaving on a jet plane to set up camp at the Global Editors Network Summit in Barcelona for a few days. Tony, Adam, and Jared are looking forward to catching up with some of the best and brightest in digital media to talk all things mobile, video, and data. If you’re attending, you should swing by our masterclass and panel session.

    Adam Giving you the Scoop on Attention Metrics

    Adam Clarkson, our Chartbeat Publishing Product Owner, will be leading a masterclass on Thursday at 3 p.m. in Aula 2. He’ll be breaking down the research behind the Attention Web and walking through how Chartbeat tools can help editorial, display, and native teams take advantage of attention metrics to boost return visits, build loyalty across platforms and formats (mobile/video), and prove the worth of the engagement their ad campaigns receive.

    Tony Breaking Down How to Measure What Matters

    Our beloved CEO (and everyone’s favorite Brit), Tony Haile will be taking the stage with some bright minds from The Gates Foundation, Les Echos and ProPublica on Friday at 5 p.m. They’ll be diving into the data driven newsroom and the media metrics revolution.

    Specifically, he’ll be helping you understand how your organization and front-line teams can adapt to the right metrics (hint, not just the clicks and pageviews we’ve come to rely on) to make smart decisions in real time.
    Give us a shout if you’re heading that way. We’d love to hear your take on things read: let’s grab sangria and tapas at L’Ovella Negra and talk shop.


    With a few days to reflect, review, and receive feedback, one thing is pretty clear: Monday’s “Breakfast Engagement” event was just the beginning of a very necessary conversation. What advertisers and publishers measure, and what matters to audiences is still evolving rapidly.

    Big Questions

    When we dived into producing this event, we were convinced that—just as the conversation about new ways of measuring engagement was coming to a head—there were still few good answers about what the shift toward measuring engagement versus measuring clicks or pageviews means. And publishers were at a loss as to how they can take advantage of it.

    As much as it pains us, we still live in a pageview world. The majority of the web’s advertising infrastructure is set up to work that way, and that’s what advertisers and agencies are familiar with. At the end of the day, as much as the problems with the model are obvious—click farms and fraudulent clicks, low user engagement, and so on—it’s a model that scales impressively.

    At the same time, many people are troubled by the way that advertising is moving: More publishers are launching non-standard ad units, native advertising, and so on. The pressing questions for publishers and advertisers are simply about how to make an honest buck.

    More aspirationally, how does the industry move from cramming as many ads as possible as quickly as possible in front of people toward something that is fundamentally more honest. In other words, how do we avoid pissing off the people we’re trying to reach, while continuing to recognize the fact that, for the most part, advertisers continue to pay for a large share of content that is produced and consumed every day. That’s what we wanted to grapple with.

    The Experiment

    So where does that leave things? Well, as far as we can see, most people are saying “it’s the advertising industry’s job to change” if the model is broken. But that’s not happening yet.

    So we set out to ask:

    • What can we do to bring more attention to these questions and challenges?
    • Who’s actually doing great work already? Who’s taking action? Who are the role models?
    • And, if it’s not an issue of technology anymore—that is, the technology is there. We’ve got the tools! We’ve got the experience!—why isn’t change happening more quickly?

    Those questions in hand, we set out to advance the conversation. To do that, we brought more than 100 people together for three hours of discussion in the heart of Silicon Alley. In addition to the lineup of smart folks we gathered from Union Square Ventures, Disqus, Chartbeat, Quartz, Mashable, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Etsy, Sunday Dinner, and Comedy Central, we also had a room full of industry representatives: Edelman, NBC, Martha Stewart, Huffington Post, Conde Nast, Business Insider, Quantcast, Mediacom, Digitas, Harvard, The Guardian, CUNY Journalism, and the IAB, to name just a few.

    10 Lessons

    Starting with the evocative Fred Wilson interview and concluding with the incredibly informative head-to-head with Tony Haile and Jay Lauff, here were my key takeaways:

    1. Paywalls vs. user engagement. Fred Wilson doesn’t believe they can co-exist. This played out as one of the more interesting dynamics that was debated that morning.
    2. When you’ve got engagement nailed, you’re able to tell a story that’s meaningful and users don’t have a shitty experience.
    3. If we can put a new focus on what the goal is for everybody, maybe we can get away from the unproductive debates about new forms of advertising, like native ads or branded content, and get to work experimenting instead.
    4. A person’s “attention” is definitely one of the more valuable measurements we have. Let’s start sharing that story with advertisers.
    5. However, on the flip side, measuring attention isn’t easy! As Tony asked “What’s worth more: when a user views all of short video, or half of a long one?” Each publisher is going to need to figure that out.
    6. Resolving the tension between “viewed ads” (the ideal) and “delivered ads” (currently measured) also isn’t easy. There’s only so much above-the-fold real estate to go around.
    7. More publishers are finding that it’s not about the amount of time someone spends during one visit to their site but, instead, the total attention captured over time. Getting people to come back has to be part of the equation, and part of what’s pitched to advertisers.
    8. Premium quality content works when you get the right audience & their attention, and impact their experience.
    9. We too often confuse user engagement with social sharing. We need to define good engagement: it should be memorable, relevant, and eventually drive some kind of action.
    10. As several people mentioned during the event, clicks can’t possibly measure the reach of a good campaign with thoughtful and engaging creative. The same goes for good content.

    Steve Roy, VP of Marketing at Disqus has also done a good summary of the event, which includes videos from the Fred Wilson interview, and the Tony Haile and Jay Lauf debate. If you were there, let me know your key takeaways in the comments below or on Twitter.

    What’s Next

    Looking back—if I were to do it again—I would push to invest a lot more time getting the folks who were not on stage actually wrestling with the questions we were hoping to shed light on.

    We started with the mandate of “No. Boring. Panels!” and I think we achieved that to a degree. We heard from the people in the audience frequently and repeatedly, and their questions and analysis were bang-on. What I really longed for was to have the people in that room talking to each other, trying to figure out some solutions.

    I’m more convinced than ever that we’ve just touched the surface of this conversation. I’m convinced that there are solutions within reach. I’m confident that we just need to get the right people in the room one or two more times to see this conversation move forward with some impressive momentum.

    And a key lesson for me, gleaned in those anxiety-ridden moments of creative constraint—as the clock ticked toward 9:30 a.m., realizing that Christina Warren our star interviewer was still stuck in traffic—we ran through the options in the case we needed to start without Christina. In seconds it was clear what the best option would have been if we had to choose: let the people in the room lead the interview.

    That will be the core of our next event, which we hope to announce soon, as we continue to try to close the gap between publishers, advertisers, platforms, and people, by actually bringing them together to get their hands dirty. If that’s appealing to you, please stay in touch.

    Phillip Smith is a veteran digital publishing consultant, online advocacy specialist, and strategic convener. You can find him on Twitter and at