Archive for the ‘News & Press’ Category

Tony Haile’s Data State of the Union

October 14th, 2014 by Alexandra

A few weeks ago everyone’s favorite Brit (who just happens to be our CEO) Tony Haile gave a talk at the annual Online News Association conference in Chicago. During his chat, officially titled “A Data State of the Union: Can We Make Quality Pay Online” he touches on the metrics that really matter, the challenge of metrics vs. mission that many journalists are faced with, and how we can fix some of the fundamental underpinnings of the media industry. Judging by the reaction on Twitter (check out #datasotu), a lot of attendees were digging what he had to say. Or maybe he’s just really charming. I’ll let you be the judge.

Don’t have time to check out the whole thing? Well, you should make time. Kidding! (Sort of). I get it—and so does Tony—time is scarce. Here’s the TL;DW version + slides:


Metrics vs. Mission

  • Many journalists are conflicted about data in the newsroom. Too often they feel they have to choose between metric or mission. It shouldn’t be an either/or.
  • Often, what seems like the simplest, most direct method of measuring success can actually backfire when it becomes the thing that’s most important. The job is not to chase traffic. In the business of news, random indiscriminate traffic is not what a business is built on.
  • It’s not traffic we monetize, but audience. Your audience knows who you are, likes what you do, and comes back. The goal is to build an audience—to acquire new people and convert them to loyal visitors.
  • And with this audience you’re not just after their index fingers, you’re after their minds. You have to create content that will make people like you and come back—and doing so often requires looking at data through a different prism.

  • Clicking and Reading are Different Things

  • Pageviews should not be privileged as the most important metric when 55% of clicks get less than 15 seconds of attention.
  • It’s not enough to get someone to click. We have to get them to read.
  • Newsrooms ought to be focusing on a reader’s propensity to return. That means thinking about capturing time, not just creating a catchy headline. A big spike in traffic doesn’t really matter if those readers don’t come back.

  • The Golden Metrics: Recirculation and Engaged Time

  • The key indicators of propensity to return are recirculation and engaged time.
  • Recirculation: the percentage of audience that has consumed a particular piece of content (e.g. actually read it) and chooses to go on to consume another piece of content. Are visitors sticking around to read another article, or are they leaving?
  • The number one way to increase recirculation is to write something good enough to make people want to read more. And then you have to give them somewhere to go. That means using referrer information to segment your audience (e.g. social vs. homepage visitors) and then promote the right stories in your side rails or through in-line links.
  • Engaged Time: The more time someone spends with your stuff, the more likely they are to come back. If someone spends three minutes on your site they are twice as likely to return as if they spend only one minute.
  • It’s important to remember that a visitor's default behavior is to leave. When you are trying to hold someone’s attention, you are competing with the entire sum of human knowledge. Every form of mass entertainment is simply a click away. You've got to win them with every single paragraph.
  • Recirculation and Engaged Time are balanced metrics. Often, going overboard with one metric, such as trying to boost recirculation with slideshows, will reduce Engaged Time. Think of these two metrics in context of each other and try to get them both balanced to reach an ideal state.

  • Metrics are important, but they aren’t the only important thing.

  • Even the most meaningful metrics can mess up a newsroom if they become the basis of incentive plans. Metrics should be used as a guide, not as a cudgel for compliance.
  • Metrics shouldn’t be tied to a journalist’s pay. A journalist doesn’t need external motivation to want to create great content. For the most part, incentive plans mean journalists stop relying on metrics and start resenting them. Metrics stop becoming a trusted feedback loop and become a cruel judge to satisfy.
  • An incentive system that can be gamed will be. Quotas are good for quantity, but they diminish quality and creativity. With quotas, journalists don’t take risks. They stick to what worked yesterday.
  • If you want your newsroom to embrace metrics, to learn and to seek a more effective path towards reaching your organizations's overarching goals, you have to give journalists the right metrics framed in the right way and trust their internal desire to do a great job.

  • We are NOT in a Golden Age of Journalism

  • We don’t actually monetize content at all. We monetize the links to content. If you click on a link and the page loads, it doesn’t matter whether someone even read the content, whether they liked or loathed it. The content itself doesn’t determine the value of the page.
  • The fact that it’s the clicking of the link (rather than the consuming of the content) that is the monetizable act, means we’re living in a world of infinite ad inventory where the marginal cost creating additional inventory is near zero.
  • In a world or infinite inventory, prices will always trend towards zero. The currency we predominately use to measure value is impressions, and thus pageviews, and that currency is killing us.

  • The Solution: An Economy of Scarcity

  • For us to be able to charge premiums we need to create an economy based on scarcity, where what happens with the content actually matters.
  • Time is the only unit of scarcity on the web, and it’s zero sum. A minute spent on one site is a minute not spent on another.
  • Attention correlates with quality. You have to be doing something right to capture that attention. And those who can capture more of it can charge more.
  • "If we can change the way we value what we do, then brands get happier, publishers have a sustainable business for quality journalism and the users get a Web... where anything that makes them want to leave is bad for business. That's a Web worth fighting for."

    - Tony Haile

    MRC Accredits 21 Chartbeat Metrics Including Viewability and Active Exposure Time

    September 29th, 2014 by Alex Carusillo

       
    mrc logo-01
      In summer 2013, we introduced our first advertising tool to help premium publishers monetize their audience’s attention. 15 months later, that one tool is now part of an expanded platform that provides media planning, reporting, and strategic services to premium publishers that want to measure and sell attention. Today we’re thrilled to announce that the Media Rating Council (the MRC) has accredited 21 of the metrics featured in our advertising platform. In the post below I explain what this accreditation means for Chartbeat and the larger attention economy.

    We got accredited!

    One of the stranger things about entering into ad tech for the first time is learning that all the stuff that made you successful elsewhere isn’t enough anymore. You can’t just build cool new technology or awesome interfaces. You can’t just have positive press. You can’t even just have people love what you do and pay to use it. Advertising is big and scary and impossibly competitive and the rules are just different and there are a lot more of them. While it’s been hard to find someone who thought the monetization of attention wasn’t worthwhile it has been even harder to find people who thought it was something they could actually do. No amount of desire alone can change the system - you need to change the structure first. And so that’s what we’ve started to do.

    This means we need to do more than just adding a new dashboard link to someone’s bookmarks or some vanity metric to someone’s spreadsheet. It means making a fundamental change to the way success on the internet is evaluated and rewarded, building an internet where our best instincts are also the right ones. And today - after nearly six months of sleepless detail work - I think we’re starting to get there. Because today I get to say that our metrics have been accredited by the Media Rating Council.

    So...what's the MRC?

    Like I said: the strangest thing about entering into ad tech is that it’s not clear what it takes to go from “neat service” to a world viable system. Pro-tip for those of you at home turns out the first step is passing a Media Rating Council audit.

    But who is this the Media Rating Council (MRC from here on out) and what are they about? The MRC is an industry body that audits and accredits internet measurements to ensure that they’re “valid, reliable, and effective.” There’s a whole lot of money flowing through the internet and there are a bunch of people with conflicting interests trying to say what portion of that rightfully belongs to them. The MRC exists to make sure that everyone is on equal footing and that people can trust the numbers they use. Without them you’ve got a bunch of conflicting and unreliable numbers that aren’t good for much more the decoration. With them you’ve got reliable metrics you can build businesses on. And now Chartbeat metrics can be counted among those reliable metrics.

       
    Chartbeat MRG
       

    What does accreditation change right now?

    So what does that mean? Well, it means we get to put a new logo on our homepage and talk about our “twenty-one accredited metrics that go beyond just viewability” but more importantly it means that this “Attention Web” we talk so much about can turn into an Attention Economy. We’ve been driving this idea for a couple years now -- we’ve always believed that the click and the impression are not the way advertisers should value content. It just doesn’t make sense. A heady piece on global policy in the Financial Times is just a fundamentally better opportunity for an advertiser (and for the internet in general) than one on some clickbait blog. It just is.

    You can trust science, the market, or just common sense, but no matter which way you look at it you end with high quality writing being worth more than low quality stuff.

    But before this accreditation came through it didn’t matter how much you believed in that “attention is valuable” story because you still couldn’t sell it.

    That time is over.

    At its narrowest interpretation, Chartbeat’s MRC accreditation means premium publishers, advertisers and agencies can now use attention as a currency. But a whole new internet economy isn’t far away if attention is a fundamentally valuable thing on the internet – and Chartbeat gets to be at least partially responsible for that.

    What’s next?

    Here’s the cool part though - this isn’t just about money and sales teams getting higher CPMs. This isn’t even really about advertising.

    It’s about a better internet - the one we were promised from the start.

    This accreditation gives us the ability to express our core idea that the quality of website experience is, above all, universal. We’re getting closer to building a world where measurement arises from an ad experience’s purpose and not what was easy to track (clicks). Where the business side and the editorial side of a company believe the readers comes first. Where the the quality of a publication’s content sustains its business, not the number of people who click an ad near that creation. That’s a pretty cool world. And that’s the success we wanted all along.   Check out the Chartbeat Ads Platform for yourself

    The Financial Times Is Selling Time to Advertisers (with Chartbeat!)

    May 22nd, 2014 by Juliana

    The online advertising world is buzzing today over the announcement from the Financial Times, published in The Drum, that the company is starting to sell its ads inventory using time—audience exposure time to ads, specifically—as a currency. The Financial Times has partnered with Chartbeat to measure and now monetize their audience's time and attention.

    In The Drum, Jon Slade, the Financial Times Commercial Director of Digital Advertising and Insight, says, “We can now report back to a client and say ‘we served you a thousand ads, and of those, 500 were seen for one second, 250 were seen for 10 seconds and 250 were seen for 30 seconds,” Slade went on, “The next obvious step is to sell blocks of time."

    Advertisers can now buy inventory based on how long readers are actively exposed to ads, and according to Slade, so far so good: “We have three trials running at the moment, and we’re able to tell pretty conclusively so far that when we serve an ad to an audience that we know is going to spend a long time with the ad in view that the benefit to that client is far more profound.”

    And the data backs it up:

    brand-recall

    Here at Chartbeat, we're excited to help pioneer this movement of publishers going beyond just measuring their audience's attention, but actually monetizing it as a means to build sustainable businesses based on the quality of their content and loyal audiences.

    If you're interested in learning more about how you can sell ads based on your audience's time, check out our upcoming webinar. Want a personalized walkthrough of our Ad Sales platform? Get in touch with us. We'd love to show you what we've been working on.

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    Funding News: Investing in the Future of the Media Industry

    May 14th, 2014 by Tony

    I’m excited to announce that Chartbeat has accepted $3.1m in additional funding led by existing investors Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Index Ventures with participation from Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Freestyle Capital, LAUNCH Fund, SoftTech VC and Lowercase Capital. From two guys around one desk to today, Chartbeat is now a company serving 80% of the top publishers in the U.S. with clients in 35 countries around the world. Our ability to do this is because of the consistent incredible support we’ve had from a stellar group of investors.

    What will you be using the money for?

    HIRING! We’ve now got multiple product lines that touch content creation, promotion and monetization, including Chartbeat’s new paid content service, which we launched today! That’s a lot of moving pieces that require multiple engineers, designers, and product people to lead us forward. If you’re interested in building a web where quality content and good design can make money; if you want to work with one of the most interesting data sets and some of the weirdest people in the world, we want to hear from you.

    Why only $3.1m?

    To be honest, that’s all our finance guy told me we needed. We intend to raise a larger Series C towards the end of 2014 to fuel our expansion in the longer term.

    Why not do the Series C now?

    Because if you’ve ever raised a financing round you know it’s a pain in the arse and distraction from the job of building a company. Right now, we’re heads down on developing new products and working with our partners on some stuff I’m utterly in love with and I didn’t want the distraction of a second full-time job taking me away from the maelstrom. DFJ and Index told us almost nine months ago that if we ever wanted to build more of a war chest without having to go around the houses raising money they were keen to put money in at a healthy valuation. Given the product line expansion that’s been happening at Chartbeat, it made sense to make that call now. I’d like to thank DFJ, Index and our other investors for making this the easiest fund raise in history. You guys rock.

    What should we expect from Chartbeat in future?

    I made our position pretty clear in an article I recently wrote for TIME. We believe that for quality content to thrive on the web we need to value people’s attention as much as their clicks. We’re going to make that happen. We’re building an ecosystem of SAAS tools that enable people through the media/advertising world to do more with less and value content more effectively. If we succeed, then content creators can charge more for quality and advertisers can buy media based on their actual goals not proxies. It’s going to be a long road, but we’ve got the right partners with us and that’s half the battle.

    Meet the Chartbeat Paid Content Solution

    May 14th, 2014 by Mona

      Chartbeat Paid Content Solution    

    The need for attention metrics

    A few months ago our CEO Tony Haile wrote a piece for TIME that rebuked commonly-held assumptions about the internet. One fact in particular – that only 24% of readers exhibit any sign of engagement at all with sponsored, branded, native or as we call it, paid content – specifically struck a chord with many folks who read Tony’s piece. Our data science research confirmed something many of us already assumed or suspected – that most paid content failed to capture audience interest and attention – that most paid content failed to match the quality of the editorial content surrounding it.

    At Chartbeat, we see these low engagement numbers, depressing as they might be, as an opportunity.

    Right now we're seeing that most paid content isn't being measured by audience attention at all. A lot of publishers are tracking and reporting on paid content performance using things like clicks and impressions and shares. Metrics we’ve long-known don’t help us wholly understand content performance in terms of audience engagement. There is a clear dearth of metrics for publishers that speak to the impact of advertisers’ paid content. Publishers can't get the data they need to answer key questions around paid content performance:

    • Did their message got in front of a quality audience?
    • Did that quality audience actually spend time actively reading that content?
    • Did that paid content ultimately perform similarly to that publisher’s editorial content?
    At the end of the day, we knew that answering these questions for both publishers and advertisers and aligning their goals and success metrics required a new product that provided core attention metrics to paid content teams.
    Today we’re excited to introduce the Chartbeat Paid Content Solution.
    We’ve built a product that brings content quality measurements to those on the frontlines of paid content. We created this product because we have the knowledge and the network to actually help clients better understand their paid content – the traffic it gets, who spends time with it, what social activity is relevant to this piece, and whether or not this paid content creates a native reading experience for the publisher’s audience.

    Because our editorial and advertising products are built on the strength of the thousands of sites we work with – 80% of the top media sites in the US and across 35 countries – we understand their goals and performance at both a mass and individual site level,  we're set up to help the industry solve this issue at the entire ecosystem level.

    Building this product reflects the fact that we know paid content can get better – and we know that advertisers’ and publishers’ goals can be aligned to ultimately result in a better paid content reading experience for audiences.

    Three Things to Know about this Product

    We wanted to bring the critical answers you need front and center, within one dashboard that helps you tell a complete story around how your paid content is performing. While I hope you’ll explore the product demo on your own, here are a few quick things to know about this new product:
    1. You can show your advertisers if their paid content is actually being consumed, rather than just provide click counts. You can provide advertisers with clear audience insights around how many folks begin and finish reading a piece of paid content.
    2. You get an in-depth understanding of where your audience is coming from and how much time they're spending with your paid content. This product lets you dive deep into a piece of paid content’s traffic sources so you can see what kinds of traffic are spending the most time with your paid content.
    3. You can benchmark your paid content’s performance. See how audience attention on a piece of paid content measures up against the attention on your advertiser’s campaign overall, the attention across your whole site, or the attention averages for your site’s competitive set.
    Want more?

    You have a few options for getting the scoop on our new paid content product:

    • You can watch the nifty product video below
    • You can explore a demo on your own here
    • You can read more about the product here
    • You can get in touch for a personalized walkthrough here

    Chartbeat Paid Content Solution from Chartbeat on Vimeo.