Posts Tagged ‘Engagement’

I recently partnered with Ro Gupta from Disqus on this webinar for the Newspaper Association of America. Check out our discussion on topics like below-the-fold engagement, the value of consumption metrics like Engaged Time and how you can take advantage of readers who are spending time on your site and with your content.

Follow up questions are welcome – post them in the Comments section and I’ll get back to you.

If you haven’t read “You Won’t Finish This Article: Why People Online Don’t Read to the End“, check out Farhad Manjoo‘s piece in Slate – it’s an honest and in-depth look at Slate’s audience behavior based on Chartbeat’s engagement data, researched by our Data Scientist Josh Schwartz. Manjoo explores a major editorial –and in Manjoo’s case, personal – pain point, which is the fear that readers aren’t reading the entire story– or reading the story at all sometimes.

And sure, that’s a valid concern. As Manjoo says, 50% of Slate’s readers scroll to the midway point of a Slate story. There’s also data that shows people sometimes tweet about stories before they’ve actually finished them. And that probably stings when you’ve spent hours, days, and sometimes longer crafting the perfect article.


But we actually don’t see this as a Debbie Downer tale of woe. We’ve always known not everyone reads a full story. But until now, we haven’t had a way to prove it since our only metric, really, has been page views. They click. The end. But that’s so far from the truth.

And honestly, some reader drop-off is to be expected –it’s impossible to lock down 100% of your readers for 100% of your story. What you want to focus on are those readers that are actively engaging with your content at all. The people who are interested enough to get past the headline and start engaging with the info. As Josh has said before, this is about matching the best, most-engaged readers to your content, as these folks have the greatest likelihood of becoming your loyal, returning audience.

As for that 50% reader bail stat Manjoo speaks of – in general,  we think the most important thing to understand is not that they’re bailing but where on the page you’re losing your readers because that starts to tell you why they’re leaving. That’s helpful data you can act on — maybe a paragraph needs to be restructured and clarified or the accompanying video needs to be promoted higher on the page.

And take note: Slate gets awesome below-the-fold engagement. A whopping 86% of the time Slate’s readers spend engaging on the page takes place below Slate’s digital fold. Ad Sales teams, this is yet another example of why your most valuable ad positions aren’t always right at the top.


As readers, this data has lead loads of people to defend their reading habits and explain the “why” behind bailing mid-post – so please share your thoughts in the comments below or tweet at Chartbeat. Josh is on deck to answer any data science-related queries and if you’ve got some ideas on what he should dive into next, let us know.

Remember the Internet Week event we produced with Disqus – Beyond the Click: Getting to Actual Engagement? A few weeks back we got together a whole roster of content strategy geniuses like Phillip Smith, Ro Gupta, Sam Slaughter, Stuart Schwartzapfel, John Keefe, and Chartbeat’s own Joe Alicata to talk shop about how and why audiences need to be interacting with your content. And now we have the video of that uber-helpful discussion so you can relive the magic for yourself.

So get out the popcorn and settle in for an engaging chat about engagement – whodathunkit?


disqus event

At 5pm yesterday I was still recovering – yup, from the night before. That slightly dehydrated feeling, the craving for left over snacks in the fridge, and the sweet scent of stale keg beer are pretty solid signs of an incredible event. So let it be known, Chartbeat and Disqus know how to throw a party.

And throw one we did. With our two companies focused on a similar goal of getting publishers and brands to understand the importance of true engagement — with our recent Chartbeat Publishing for Ad Sales launch and Disqus’s emphasis on transforming time spent into time invested — we decided it was high time we paired up to tell this story together….over a few kegs and some Pies-N-Thighs deliciously deadly sliders.

So we called in a couple of friends to help us tell the story around engagement from their points of view:

  1. Phillip Smith news innovator and publishing consultant lead the discussion and kept the rest of the gents in line.
  2. Joe Alicata from the best real-time data service out there (please don’t tell me I have to clarify: Chartbeat) also bringing with him loads of experience leading product for ESPN.
  3. Ro Gupta VP of Strategy for Disqus and fantastic partner in crime
  4. Sam Slaughter VP of Content for Contently, an incredible company helping brands tell powerful stories
  5. Stuart Schwartzapfel VP of Audience Insights for Big Fuel, who’s about the best advocate for the right kind of social and engagement measurement you could hope to find.
  6. John Keefe Data News Editor for spreading the word about what his team has been built on – build amazing content people engage with, and the rest will come.

To those of you who were able to make it, thank you for coming and bringing your thoughts and questions. It was fun sharing drinks, laughs, bean salad, and geekery with you. If you’d like to be kept in the loop for our upcoming events, just shoot me an email and I’ll keep you posted. If you missed us this time, we’ll have all of it available for your viewing pleasure via a video of the talk in the coming weeks. We’ll kick it your way as soon as it’s available.

Until then, cheers to spreading the good word about engagement!

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After wrapping up some exciting additions to the Heads Up Display, I’m diving into my second Hack Week here at Chartbeat. For those of you who don’t know, the Chartteam has a Hack Week every six weeks where people can work on a project of their own choosing. The only rule is that you have to have something to show at the end of the week – in the past people have built new dashboards, apps, robots, and explored the Chartbeat API extensively (you can see past projects on our Labs page).

Goodbye Google Reader

Feeling inspired by the recent departure of Google Reader, I’ve decided to attempt to create a feed using content trending on Chartbeat’s partner pages. As most developers know, creating a compelling Hack Week demo in just a week’s time is a pretty ambitious goal, and building a new type of content aggregator is definitely going to be a challenge. 

My Project: just a bit ambitious

Most reader services focus on new and trending content. But usually when I’m looking for new content, I want to make sure not just that it’s new, but that it’s actually interesting and worth my time – it has to be a quality piece. But to date, I haven’t seen a real measure of these stories’ quality in a reader. That’s mostly because readers measure only metrics like page views, shares, and likes, which indicate that people enjoy sharing a story, but I want to know if a story holds peoples’ attention and keeps them engaged.

At Chartbeat, we’ve built our metric Engaged Time to do just that – measure more than just those people that click and bail, but the quality of that content as defined by a reader’s experience – if they choose to give a story their attention, their time. So I’d like to see how factoring in Average Engaged Time data will affect how my Hack Week feed sorts and ranks stories.

By displaying a list of content filtered by Average Engaged Time and by the average reading time each story takes to finish, I think readers could find the content that’s more likely to keep their attention, keep them engaged.

Over the next week I’ll build an application that uses data available through the Chartbeat API* to build a reader that aggregates content based on how Chartbeat measures quality – through Engaged Time as well as some of our other metrics – including one I’m hoping to create with this hack project.  I plan to share what I learn from this experience with you. 


Technical details

As with all Hack Weeks, the goal is not only to create something new, but to challenge ourselves technically, so I decided to do this project in Python, a language I have only recently dabbled in. Focusing on the backend of the application first, I will build an API to report the necessary data along with a few new metrics related to the task at hand. From there I will create a basic user interface, in Google’s Closure JavaScript library and test out the concept from there. If I am happy with the results, the UI will be polished, and maybe added to our Labs section of our website.

As usual, any comments or suggestions are appreciated. See you all next week!

*While we experiment with the data available from our API, our clients’ data is kept private and never shared publicly.