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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
Last year, we launched the Daily Content Perspective to allow editorial and analytics teams to understand their traffic and audiences beyond their real-time data—armed with a full day of context for overall traffic volume, top stories and sections, and smart insights into that data. Our goal was to make it easy for folks to be able to get this data outside of watching the live numbers, and we focused on a metric that really matters: the total amount of time your audience spent reading.Now, based on feedback we’ve gotten from our users, we’re updating the Daily Content Perspective. The two main things we heard were:
- Can this be automatically delivered to my inbox?
- What about context and insight for authors?
Email Subscription to Yesterday’s Most-Read Content
You can now have your Daily Content Perspective delivered to your inbox every day. That’ll make it easier to report on the previous day’s top performers, set strategy for what pieces your team will focus on today given a killer story from the day before, and give everyone a rundown in your morning editorial meeting. And, as always, our focus in the Daily Content Perspective is total Engaged Time: the time your audience spent actively engaging with your content.
Arming Authors and Section Editors
You can also see a breakdown of your most-read authors for the day. Section editors and authors can subscribe to their own content and get a pulse for what their audience is reading in addition to their real-time data. That way, you can really help content creators get even more invested into how people are reading their pieces. Plus, with the takeaways included for each view, no one has to comb finely through data tables to get smart insights about their content.
So, you’ll be able to subscribe to two types of email subscriptions: one for a full-site roundup, and another for specific sections or authors. The full-site email will give you yesterday’s top 10 most-read stories, sections, and authors, and insightful takeaways around your visitors and traffic. The section and author emails are similar, but tailored to just that section or author.
You’ll also notice other changes to the Daily Content Perspective, particularly with takeaways. The takeaways have been valuable for editorial teams as a way of providing quick insight and color to the data without anyone having to spend hours combing through the data—like the top referrer for a given page, that a story had great reading time but few people moved on to read other content afterward, or that a given author had their highest social traffic this month. To help users get a quick pulse on trends and insights, we’ve put these takeaways front and center.
There’s more coming up for Chartbeat Publishing soon, like mobile app integrations to let you understand how your in-app content is performing. Details to come, so stay tuned. In the meantime, we’d love to get your feedback on the new Daily Content Perspective.
Wait! Before you tweet that awesome story, think: Have you done everything you can to capitalize on the instant exposure? With your Chartbeat Publishing Dashboard as your trusty sidekick, you can find the best content to share in terms of audience and Engaged Time before you ever post or tweet, and then watch the traffic roll in real-time. But you should also make sure those stories are optimized for the best experience of those who visit. Let’s consider an example. We pivoted to see what Gizmodo’s new visitors were reading, and noticed the top article: “If You Want to Watch Game of Thrones, Maybe Just Pay For It.”
Of course, you would pick this story, maybe fine-tune the headline, and then whip up a witty tweet, but you might also want to take a minute to set up the best page possible for this new audience. Don’t miss this opportunity! Before you take that story to the tweeple, spend a minute curating it for the influx of new traffic that we’re sure to see. Start by loading up the page in the Heads Up Display and then find your digital fold, i.e. “most visitors don’t read past here.” Then, embed links to related content that you know will lead to more recirculation and increased engagement. Notice how Gizmodo got its related links above the fold here?
If you have related on-topic stories that could help drive your visitors deeper into your website, embed ’em! You could add links in line with the text, or as part of a separate breakout box—both of which are employed by Gizmodo here. How about your other acquiring content that’s doing particularly well with your new audience? Put your links in great positions, and then maybe add a picture and snappy headline for good measure.
Check out last week’s Chartcorps Challege: “Zombies! What to Do When Newly Undead Articles Walk Again.”
Do everything you can to promote extra content that’s likely to do best before you share. Then tweet it out, and watch the traffic grow in real-time. Don’t forget, once you’ve got folks rolling in, revist the links on the page, continue to curate around the best performance, and keep tweaking until the tweets lived its short 140-character life. Rather than tweeting and hoping, take control. With the Heads Up Display and Chartbeat Publishing Dashboard, you’re able to react rapidly, increasing the odds that these fresh faces come back again soon.