I just booked my flights and am preparing to leave chilly NYC for....chilly Europe. All to spend some quality time with our favorite clients across the pond, and to share with Europe what we've learned here in the US - and vice versa. So what have we learned about the differences in the industry across different countries so far?
Well, at Chartbeat, we've always talked about the rise of the social web giving birth to the necessity of real time data. When search was king it was predictive and frankly not all that exciting, making optimization consistent and manageable. You knew which levers to pull to get which results. I'm of course simplifying a bit, but this was the general practice. But now with the social web completely taking over, we all live in an environment of complex and unpredictable traffic patterns and audience behaviors that require newsrooms and sites of all kinds and sizes to be set up to adapt to anything that's thrown their way.
Some of the most innovative newsrooms that are adapting the best to mobile and social unpredictabilities are outside the US.
We've been working with major publishers and media sites in over 36 countries for the last 3 years, so we're pretty used to seeing who does what well and who doesn't. We understand your challenges, your needs, your hopes and your dreams. And the best part of our day is helping you move beyond data to actionable, adaptable metrics, information, and insights to overcome, solve, fulfill and realize these.
Speaking with many of our current European publishers, we've learned a few things:
- The homepage is king, so you need help making your homepage as adaptable to a returning loyal audience as possible
- Mobile comprises a large (and growing larger every day) portion of your traffic, so you rely on the difference between mobile and desktop consumption -- not just from a push-to-mobile standpoint, but learning the differences in editorial and content choices on each device, each experience.
- Social media as a major traffic source is a future goal but not a right-now necessity, so you want to maximize your current social impact to learn from it before you truly need to live and die by it.
This is very different from many of the the side-ways traffic growing, mobile-learning, social-media-is-life US publishers. Clearly all media needs are not the same and that's why we have lots to share from each of you to each of you: from the growing importance of internal optimization to maximizing sideways traffic, from moving away from the page view as the metric for success to understanding your audience's true online experience (not just your headline clicks) through Engaged Time, from looking at social audiences as another traffic source to treating them like you treat mobile - as a completely different needs-and-wants-driven group.
The most untapped metrics across the globe
The one thing that newsrooms across the globe need to be using to make decisions is the qualitative measure of their audience's consumption of their content, their Engaged Time. This isn't something you measure in page views, since they just tell you if a link was clicked, or time on site, since it just gives you an estimate of how long your audience may have been on the page. Engaged Time , is a way of capturing if your audience is actually reading, writing, interacting with your content and for how long. It is a metric that allows you to make decisions based off the quality of your content and it's how and when you make decisions based off quality that should matter most.
The value of measuring Engaged Time, is not only that it measures the quality of your content and helps uncover the actions that you can take to provide that quality to a larger audience, but also in what happens when you take those actions. Let me explain.
Think about someone who reads an article that they like. What happens? They spend more time reading it. They might even comment/like/tweet it. Whatever they do/action they take, because they are engaged, they are also more likely to come back for that same experience tomorrow and the next day and the next day after that. (My good buddy Josh, one of our data scientists, will be giving you all the data work behind that formula later this week.)
That formula is the holy grail for creating a loyal audience.
Now, imagine being able to surface and promote these articles repeatedly to that right audience, the ones that are most likely to come back if they like what they read today. Now, think about what that means if you have a paywall.
No matter where you are across the globe, page views just don't tell you enough. The media industry can't get what it needs based on clicks alone. You need to know what's happening between the clicks to actually grow your audience.
That's what I'll be bringing with me to Berlin and London next week. Get your questions ready.