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.
We’re rolling out some big additions to Chartbeat Publishing for Ad Sales this week and with these new features come some new ways of thinking.
For a while now, we have been talking about Active Exposure Time (how long people spend actively reading while ads are in view) as the best way for publishers to focus on selling against what matters (you only perform well on this metric if people are actually reading your stuff) while giving their clients the greatest chance for their campaigns to succeed. But as our clients have started selling on time we’ve seen a surprising thing develop – it turned out there was more to all of this than just getting your ads seen for the longest amount of time. In reality every campaign was different and some advertisers just wanted to be sure their ads were seen while other advertisers want to get their message in front of audiences for as long as possible.
In response we’ve added a bunch of stuff to our product to let our users build different campaigns for different needs: the two biggest of which are our updated campaign report and that all new goal-based package creator.
It’s covered in more depth here but – in short – we noticed that impressions seen for 1-5 seconds are good for advertisers with simple messages while impressions from 6-10 seconds are ideal for those trying to tell a larger story or create an emotion (impressions longer than this are good too but begin to see diminishing returns.) We looked at all the sites using our product and found about half of all impressions are in that 1-5 second range while the rest are distributed through the remaining times.
New: Campaign Report
Our campaign report sees the first big change. After people sell on our metrics we wanted them to have the ability to report on them and we initially built this tool to do just that. Once the reporting tool was in the hands of our clients we heard three really common requests:
Clients wanted to see our data in conjunction with their ad server data.
They wanted to understand where their impressions fell in time ranges.
They wanted to compare their performance against the internet.
As of today all three are in the product.
The most immediately apparent is the ad server data. We wanted to show our metrics in line with more conventional ones so we’ve created a link with Google’s DFP that allows advertisers to see how each part of their campaign performed on the metrics you probably already know (CTR, viewable impressions, etc) and compare that with our time-based measurements.On the third screen of the report we now show a breakdown of a campaign’s impressions and what time periods they fell into so our clients can better understand if a campaign received the kind of impressions that were best for it. And – of course – all of this is benchmarked against the internet so when something’s great it’s easy to prove it.
While these are the big updates to the campaign report, there’s a ton of new stuff in there – everything from geographic data to more data science insights that help tell the story of a campaign – so go ahead and check it out.
New: Target Packages
We’re pushing out more than just new ways of telling stories about campaigns. Our goal has always been to make it easier to sell quality writing and so we’ve created a new tool to help making packaging inventory easier. We call it Target Packages.When we first released our product the only pitches that were happening based on time were really custom campaigns and we built an interface that was perfect for exploring and meticulously developing packages.
But over time, this idea of creating campaigns based on audience time and attention has become less scary to folks and there’s been interest in a more automated process. As such we’re releasing a tool that automatically creates an optimal package based on an advertiser’s goals. Just tell us what you’re looking for (high engagement impressions in the Sports section, ads that are almost always seen in Finance, and everything in between) and we’ll do the work and put together the ads that will most efficiently hit your goals.So that’s what I have for you for now. We’re working on a whole lot more new stuff right now (big updates to the campaign report coming soon) but hopefully these additions make it a lot easier for all of you to sell pixels. If you’re interested in learning more about our advertising platform, feel free to get in touch.