Archive for the ‘Know Our Products’ Category

Webinar Recap: How Top Publishers are Putting Headline Testing to Work

July 28th, 2015 by Jared

Did you miss last week’s webinar on Engaged Headline Testing? Saw it and want to review the fundamentals? No fear. You can watch Adam and his friends here.

Last week, our illustrious Chartbeat Publishing Product Lead Adam Clarkson joined three top digital media specialists to discuss headline testing best practices, and how they use the Chartbeat Engaged Headline Testing tool to drive visitors to their most engaging content. Joining him were:

Ally Tubis — Head of Digital Analytics & Insights, Rodale
Joseph Merkel — Assistant Front Page Manager, Bleacher Report
Travis Hunter — Front Page Manager, Bleacher Report

Here are a few key takeaways:

  1. Data gives you an opportunity to learn. Take advantage! When testing, it’s critical to review why particular headline writing strategies succeeded and to employ meaningful metrics for measuring that success.
  2. With headline testing, you can be more creative, take more risks, and write more adventurous hooks.You’ll know quickly if a headline isn’t working as you expected, and losing headlines won’t get seen.
  3. This tool creates less, not more, work. By eliminating superfluous debate and deepening familiarity with your audience, Engaged Headline Testing streamlines newsroom workflow.
  4. The purpose of a headline is to get visitors into a story and reading it. As such, audiences respond to headlines with familiar language, imperative verb constructions, and teaser devices like ellipses or question marks.


Hungry for more? Here’s a condensed version of their discussion:



Adam: Before you started using Engaged Headline Testing, what was your headline writing process? How were you thinking about headlines?

Travis: Before Engaged Headline Testing, there was a much longer discussion that preceded choosing a headline. We’d still try to write a couple options, but, as you might expect, there’d be debate, clash, even arguments.

“Really, the big difference is now we have the freedom to try a lot of different kinds of headline options all at once. Engaged Headline Testing allowed us to take creative risks.”

Ally: At Rodale, we’ve had a similar experience to what Travis just described. Previously, editors wrote and judged headlines based on their experience, their insights. Now, we have cold, hard stats to help us make decisions and evaluate headlines. Headline Testing, it totally changed the game.


Adam: So how did it change the game? How did Headline Testing improve your operations?

Ally: In two ways. First, editorial teams are now much more open to trying new and different headlines. And second, they’ve learned a lot about their audiences and audience behavior.


Adam: Same question for you, Bleacher Report. How has Headline Testing changed your approach to headline writing?

Travis: The biggest change for us is the freedom it’s allowed us. The freedom to take more risks when writing headlines. The freedom to really get creative.

Adam: Right, the tests don’t last long. Even if you’re taking a big risk, it’s only for a short time. If a headline starts losing pretty dramatically all of a sudden, it goes away very quickly. The losers don’t get seen; it’s de-risking the whole situation.

Travis: Exactly. And as a result, our approach to headline writing has become so much more adventurous, so much more creative.

Joseph: I’ll also just add that now we know better how to avoid clickbait.

“We’re always keeping our eyes on the Engaged Time numbers, because we don’t want our headlines to mislead anyone, or oversell too much.”

Adam: Totally. The Engaged Headline Testing algorithm doesn’t only reward headlines that get clicks, but also the ones that generate fifteen seconds of engagement on the article itself.

Ally: Headlines shouldn’t preclude engagement. They should invite engagement. That’s why we’ve seen headlines evolve to become more social. But not clickbait-y. A headline should give enough information so that engagement doesn’t drop.


Adam: So let’s dig deeper. What are some headline writing strategies that you’ve developed?

Ally: We definitely have a bunch of strategies. But, sometimes, we’re still surprised by what people click on. So we’re constantly trying to learn, looking at the data and learning from it. As far as concrete strategies go:
  • We love using ellipses or question marks. They really draw the reader in.
  • As well, we’ve found that if you’re writing about a brand or an A-list celebrity, be sure to specify their names — more information can sometimes really work in a headline.
  • Finally, we’re always trying to use relatable language. Personal language.
  • Of course, keep in mind, that there is no full-proof strategy. It’s always dependent on your audience.

    Joseph: I agree. People respond to conversational hooks. They respond to the kind of language you’d say out loud. Hipper diction almost. It gets the reader more involved in the content, and it vitalizes the page.

    Travis: Certainly our strategies have evolved over the years. Even our goal in writing headlines has evolved with the company. For example, used to write a lot of puns. But now, no more puns. Maybe every once in a while, we’ll throw in a pun. But like Joseph said, mainly lots of conversational language because that’s what get’s readers from the headline into the story.


    Adam: After all, the point is to get people into the story and get them reading. That’s the point of a headline. On a separate note, do you guys find that headline testing is more work? Do you need additional, dedicated personnel.

    Joseph: No, quite the opposite. If anything, it’s sped up our work. We don’t waste time debating or arguing over headlines. Now, it’s just — go.

    Ally: Most importantly, Engaged Headline Testing gives us opportunities to learn about the headlines that succeed and those that doesn’t.

    “Learning from the data is critical and makes our work easier, more efficient, and more effective.”

    I’d say that Headline Testing saves us prophylactically from work we’d otherwise have to do.

    As well, the crew answered some questions from our live-studio audience!

    What is the recommended number of headlines to test?

    Certainly, there is no set number. Your headline creativity should flow straight from the content, so the total number of headline variables might depend on a case-by-case basis. Generally, you should avoid subtle tweaks in the headlines to increase the number of test variants. Try to make sure that each headline variable is sufficiently distinct when running a test. For those looking for a concrete answer, in the Webinar, Ally suggested that four is the ideal number of headlines to test.

    To give some context, here is a graphical distribution of Bleacher Report’s headline testing numbers:


    Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 5.53.52 PM

    What kind of headlines yield engagement with subsequent content?

    Engagement starts at a concept level. After thoroughly thinking out the concept and writing quality content, the next step in promoting audience engagement is a good headline-content fit. Flashier pieces require flashier headlines; shorter pieces require shorter headlines, etc. Travis put it best: the Engaged Time metrics on your Headline Testing display are “clickbait insurance.” Audiences don’t like to be bamboozled. So, headlines should accurately reflect the substance of the content.

    Ready to get started with Chartbeat Engaged Headline Testing? Want to learn more? Get in touch.

    Engaged Ad Refresh 101

    July 23rd, 2015 by Jared

    What is Engaged Ad Refresh?

    Engaged Ad Refresh brings attention metrics to ad refreshing technology. By requiring that a visitor spend time with a viewable ad before that ad refreshes, this tool is changing the landscape of display advertising. Sounds cool, no?

    Think of Engaged Ad Refresh as the Internet version of the thirty-second TV ad spot. The same commercial doesn’t show for three straight minutes, because three minutes of commercial time generates more collective value to advertisers when it’s split up into thirty-second spots. You can apply that same principal to digital advertising. And — by adding Chartbeat attention metrics, you can make refresh decisions based on the maximum amount of time you want visitors to spend with each ad.

    Publishers have been refreshing display ads for years, but Chartbeat Engaged Ad Refresh introduces new levels of precision and transparency. Keep reading to find out what we mean by that.

    What’s the deal with traditional ad refreshing?

    Traditional ad refreshing technology, like a good outdoor reading spot, can sometimes be shady. More ads loading means more impressions, and more money for sellers — yet those impressions are not always worthwhile. Triggered by time simply passing on a clock, standard ad refreshing can’t guarantee that an ad was viewable, let alone exposed to a live person for a meaningful period of time before the slot reloaded. As a result, traditional ad refreshing often exacerbates viewability issues.

    How does Engaged Ad Refresh work?

    Engaged Ad Refresh is triggered by active consumer attention, not wall clock time. A visitor has to see an ad for a minimum amount of time before it refreshes — a minimum amount of Active Exposure Time. What is Active Exposure Time, you ask?

    Active Exposure Time measures the amount of time an ad is in view while a visitor is actively engaging on the page.

    By employing this metric, we confirm two things — that the ad is viewable and that the visitor is engaged — before refreshing the ad. The best part? Engaged Ad Refresh is flexible: You set the Active Exposure Time threshold required to refresh an ad on your site, you can customize this interval for individual campaigns, you can combine interval rules, and you can exclude specific campaigns or creatives from refreshing.

    Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 11.13.54 AM

    By taking audience engagement and ad viewability into account, Engaged Ad Refresh enables publishers to give each ad the best chance to succeed while still getting the most value from every second visitors spend on their sites. Sites can gain more quality, viewable inventory or increase overall site viewability because refreshed ad slots are more likely to be viewable. Just look at PGATOUR.com, which increased its viewable inventory by more than 10% by using Engaged Ad Refresh.

    For buyers, Engaged Ad Refresh means the opportunity to increase branding campaign KPIs and the potential to exercise more control over how creative is experienced. Our data has shown a strong correlation between Engaged Time and brand recall – that time matters when it comes to ads making an impact. After all, brands need time with an attentive audience to get their message across and build an audience. Engaged Ad Refresh enables just that – ensuring an actual, live person will see an ad before it refreshes. Compared to other ad refreshing technology, Engaged Ad Refresh better ensures that brands get the opportunity for their ads to succeed.

    All in all, Engaged Ad Refresh means brands get actual audience attention, not just a page load. It means that publishers can directly monetize the attention of their audience, not just their clicks.

    What a refreshing concept :).

    Ready to get started with Engaged Ad Refresh? Want to learn more? Think we’re awesome? Get in touch.

    Headline Testing 101

    June 24th, 2015 by Chris

    Already familiar with Chartbeat Engaged Headline Testing?
    Hop down to our 101 section for tips on how to get the most out of your headline tests.

    BUT, WHAT IS ENGAGED HEADLINE TESTING?

    Engaged Headline Testing is like a laboratory. In this lab, you run the experiments. You determine the variables. But we provide the measurements. Our algorithm handles the heavy lifting. Engaged Headline Testing maximizes the effectiveness of your content by combining your own editorial expertise with real-time performance metrics.

    04. Pin open - headline test - form 2@1x
    You’ve got the great content—but are people seeing it? Are you driving readers to your most engaging content—the content that will keep them coming back again and again? Engaged Headline Testing helps you 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.

    You’ll know which headlines resonate best with readers so you can increase engagement—and improve headline writing in the process.


    WHAT MAKES ENGAGED HEADLINE TESTING UNIQUE?

    We understand that audience attention is an important measure of success. Chartbeat Engaged Headline Testing identifies not only the headlines that are being clicked on, but also the ones that lead to engagement with your content. Using our Quality Clicks metric, the testing tool tallies the clicks that correspond to a user actively engaging with your content for at least 15 seconds after clicking the headline.

    Clicks are not enough; your most successful headlines are those that grab users’ attention and position engaging content. Engaged Headline Testing ensures your headlines do both.



    HOW DOES IT WORK?

    The setup is simple: pick a story that you want to test headlines for, enter a series of different headlines, and launch the experiment. Chartbeat then serves those different headlines to your audience and measures how many clicks each version receives—and more importantly how much Engaged Time those visitors spend consuming the content. Tests run in real-time, weighting the winning headlines based on what’s driving the most post-click engagement with each audience.


    Ready to upgrade to the Engaged Headline Testing tool? Let your account manager know—or shoot us a note to learn more.


    Headline Testing 101

    WHAT SHOULD MY EXPERIMENTS LOOK LIKE?

    Since a headline test is an experiment, you should structure it that way — hypothesis, variables, results, and conclusions.

    1. Leverage your own experience and insight. When deciding on headline variants, consider what kinds of headlines have been successful in the past. Maybe one that’s interrogative, one with numbers, and another written in the second person.

    2. It’s multivariate headline testing after all, you’re not limited to two choices. Pick a series of different kinds of headlines, at least 4 or 5. And make sure they’re different.

    3. Make sure your headlines are different. You’re testing to see how your audience reacts to different styles and tones, not slight changes in word order or punctuation.

    4. Analyze your results. Look back at those headline writing strategies you started with. Were your hypotheses correct? Every time an experiment completes, you have a chance to learn a little bit more about your audience’s preferences and how they respond to different styles of headlines. Which approaches were more successful? Under what conditions? Do certain approaches work better against certain content topics (e.g. sports or tech or entertainment)?

    Chartcorps Insight: High clicks with low engagement might mean that the headline didn’t communicate the message of the article. Is your headline too sensational, too much of a stretch? Low clicks with high engagement can tell you that the article could use more exposure. Have you shared it on social media, are you linking to it from your home page or other article pages?

    5. Apply your findings time and time again. Some of the best headline testers write wrap reports and have daily meetings to go over results. Creating and sharing a summary of the insights you gained from previous experiments helps all editors and content producers benefit and learn.

    6. Test again.
    And again. Test deliberately and in ways that confirm or deny a single hypotheses.


    WHAT ELSE SHOULD I KNOW ABOUT ENGAGED HEADLINE TESTING?

  • Always be testing — since there’s no limit on how many experiments you can run at the same time, you always have the opportunity to learn from your audience’s behavior.
  • Know which audience you’re testing — homepage audiences are usually loyal and visitors from social tend to be new, 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 a tie — 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.
  • Higher traffic pages will turn results faster — since experiments are based on how many clicks your articles are getting, a bigger audience means more clicks.
  • Ready to get started with Chartbeat Engaged Headline Testing? Want to learn more? Get in touch.

    Report Builder 101: Historical Reporting Made Easy

    June 17th, 2015 by Chris

    But, what is Report Builder?

    One of Chartbeat’s core beliefs is that your data should work for you; real-time updates to drive decisions and historical trends to better inform strategies. Report Builder is our latest push to help you understand how the actions you apply in the moment pay off over time.

    In addition to our pre-built daily and weekly reports (Perspectives), Report Builder now gives you complete freedom to create custom reports with the metrics and filters you need to evaluate and measure the success of your unique goals.


    So, how do I use it?

    Each report is generated by inputting a combination of:

  • Metrics: the actual data point that you’re interested in seeing (e.g. Average Engaged Time, unique impressions, or scroll starts)
  • Filters: a certain breakdown that you want to focus on in your reports (e.g. you want to see the data for just a particular section, referrer type, or page path)
  • Group by: how you want to organize the data that’s returned to you (e.g. you want to group your data results by city, loyalty types, or a series of hours throughout the day)

  • Report Builder’s functionality is as limitless as your imagination—you can create any number of reports to help you better evaluate your content’s performance.

    To get you started, let’s take the following question that editors commonly ask:

    Over the past week, which articles have had the highest average engagement, and how does that compare to the amount of traffic they received?

    With Report Builder, we can set:
  • A one-time report over the last 7 days,
  • metrics as Average Engaged Time and unique cookies—because we want to compare quality time to simple unique visitors,
  • and group by page path—so that we get the engaged time and unique cookie metrics sorted by a given page path (the reported URL that comes after the .com)
  • Image 1

    And now we can see the most popular pages from the last week showing exactly how much traffic and Average Engaged Time each received.

    But why stop there? Add another group parameter like section or author, and you’ll be able to see which sections or authors those popular pages belong to.

    Image 2

    Or, if you see a high performing article that catches your eye, try filtering on that page path, and you can start building reports for that specific article.

  • You can group by referrer type to see which traffic source drove the most attention to that article,
  • or by hour to see how attention changed throughout the day.
  • Image 3

    What other reports can I make?

    The sky’s the limit. It all depends on what you want to know.

    Want to track your audience’s internal navigation from the home page? Plug in the specific metrics you want to evaluate (e.g. Average Engaged Time, unique cookies) and group by internal navigation path and page path.

    You’ll get a historical look at how people were navigating from page to page on your site—and see how much time they spent there.

    Image 4

    Notice any trends or connections between the content? Use this data to adjust your link strategy: change the way you link your content together to optimize recirculation and keep your audience engaged—and likely to come back.



    What else can I do with this tool?

    Do you build a report that you want to download into a spreadsheet every week? Go further with the API endpoints and program a spreadsheet to automatically call and receive the same report over and over again for your team to use.

    And, in case you missed the Report Builder launch webinar and are looking to get inspired, you can check it out here on the Chartcorps Support Site.

    Stay tuned for more tips, best practices, and advanced report ideas.

    Don’t have Report Builder yet? Contact your account manager or shoot us an email to get set up today!

    MRC Accredits 21 Chartbeat Metrics Including Viewability and Active Exposure Time

    September 29th, 2014 by Alex Carusillo

     

     

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    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.

     

     

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    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