Subscriber Analytics: Enhanced and Empowering Publishers in Real Time

Digital publishers are increasingly shifting toward subscription models to generate reader revenue. In fact, digital subscriptions were listed as the most important revenue stream for global publishers, according to a 2018 Reuters Institute survey of nearly 200 executives.

It feels like we’re going “back to the future”—revisiting an era where print media could rely on subscribers to improve their bottom line, particularly when publishers have heavily leaned on advertising revenue in recent years.

The new enhancements to our subscriber analytics, as was the case in our previous updates, were created with our partners’ long-term strategies in mind, giving them more touchpoints within Chartbeat to track subscribers. This is particularly important as we continue to build analytics that drive connections between audience engagement, loyalty, and more paying subscribers.

More on our new subscriber enhancements below, along with a short Q&A with Chartbeat’s Supernova, a team of specialists across data science, design, engineering, and product that will be leading our research on subscriptions over the coming months.

Your Big Board, Now With Subscriber Status

Keep your most important readers front and center in the newsroom by displaying a real-time view of the stories that are engaging your subscribers. Now you can filter by subscriber status in the Big Board with a quick update to your current settings.

Big Board with subscription enhanced features

Better Audience Data in Your Hands

Subscribers have different reading behaviors than other reader groups, especially when they’re using your apps. Get a deeper breakdown of your app audience, broken down by Subscriber, Registered, Guest, and Unclassified. Updates are available for Android and iOS SDKs.


Subscriber Account Types Featured in Your Real-Time Dashboard

How much of your real-time audience is made up of subscribers? Subscriber account types are now directly below the Concurrents dial, giving you easier access to your most dedicated audience segments. Use this module to filter by audience types to dig deeper into their preferences, behaviors and habits.

Real-time dashboard with subscriber module

Subscriber Tracking Where and When You Need It

Subscriber breakdowns are now accessible in the Chartbeat mobile app, for iOS and Android. Just update your settings to get started.

Last word: Subscriber Analytics and the Content Connections that Empower Publishers

Our enhanced subscriber analytics are built to help you better understand your readers, while increasing the visibility of subscriber data for your entire team. Publishers can also benefit from:

Analyzing activity between paid and non-paid subscriptions groups

Chartbeat publishers now have the ability to track paid versus non-paid readers’ content consumption in multiple ways. This matters. There’s endless value in tracking the pace of subscribers’ consumption in real time across your sites and apps and identifying retention-friendly content wherever your readers live.

Connecting engagement, loyalty, and subscriptions groups

Refinement isn’t advice we only confine to our Headline Testing tool. Breakdowns of your paid/unpaid audience allow for real-time adjustments to your homepage or app strategy. This helps when you have a mix of Concurrents, Engagement, and Loyalty metrics to analyze every day.

That said, your insights help us improve our products, so please contact us at We want to hear from you.

Subscriptions, Technology & Songs That Matter: A Q&A w/Chartbeat’s Supernova

Meet Nancy (Senior Product Manager), George (Director of Product Design), Su (Data Scientist), and Albert (Software Engineer). Their mission? Just reimagining a sustainable subscription revenue model for publishers. No big deal.

Editor’s note: The interview has been edited for clarity.

CB: Tell me more about Chartbeat’s recent subscription enhancements.

Nancy: We recently made the subscriber component more prominent in our Real-Time Dashboard. The results have been really interesting so far—the number of people that interacted with the component doubled since 24 weeks ago. For us, it’s saying “this is important and you should be thinking about it.”

CB: Subscriptions have a mixed history in publishing. How will Chartbeat’s research put fresh eyes on it?

Albert: Subscriptions have always existed but it was more of a loyalty program. We see now that it has to be a main driver of revenue since advertising revenue is falling.

Nancy: I like to think of newspapers as the original subscription models, because they had circulation and an opportunity to extend their reach to a specific audience. Publishers still needed to make sure people paid for content when the shift to websites happened, since ads became such a big part of their business model. It’s not their fault, they needed to survive.

CB: How can Chartbeat help publishers get closer to a sustainable subscriptions business model?

Nancy: Publishers are internally doing this already, but the question is should it be a product team’s main function? You want the product team building cool technology, not necessarily obsessing over newsroom business intelligence.

You want the product team building cool technology, not necessarily obsessing over newsroom business intelligence.

CB: What role can design play in making subscriptions businesses sustainable?

George: Design can help with acquisition by creating high-quality experiences that get people excited about your brand. Later on it could be used to sustain that relationship by continuing to provide compelling experiences through the innovative packaging of content, personalization, etc.

Nancy: It’s not just writing, but images, videos and experiences publishers are trying to develop. For example, NYT Magazine did this feature on The 25 Songs That Matter Right Now. It was a mix of interviews, lyrics, and it matched to a playlist you could save. It was a really interesting way to not only give you content, but have you engaging with content. It gets us asking ourselves how publishers can continue to evolve and not only give you a bunch of words on a page.

CB: What’s next for Supernova’s work on subscriptions?

Albert: We are going to learn a lot from our publishers and we think they can learn a lot from each other. The real project will be making sure that Chartbeat has a more fundamental place operating in this new business model. We can ensure all publishers have a chance to move into this new business model, especially those without the internal resources to do it on their own.

Su: Everything Albert said and for me, I’m excited to go on site and discover the real problems publishers are facing every day and come up with concrete solutions to concrete problems.

George: Even these small enhancements on our end will help us surface subscriber data that’s increasingly important to publishers. I’m also excited to think about a new audience in marketers who weren’t historically part of our user pool and we haven’t had a lot of interaction with. I’m excited to learn about these new types of customers and potential customers and the ways we can leverage our data and technology to help them.

Nancy: I’ve been obsessed with this idea of subscriptions at scale. It’s really about finding the right people who would pay for something indefinitely. I think part of that is figuring out where the market is and where the audience is. Tell them “we’re an authority on this specific topic or matter and you’ll want to learn from us perpetually.” I’m excited to get the opportunity to work with marketers again. And that’s what marketing is, finding the people that understand the brand and value of the brand. It’s a bit more nebulous because it’s about content, not about a material object. How do you find the people that can really understand that value? Are they super broad in content, like a New York Times, or super in-depth like a Financial Times? In both datasets, we have to understand how they interact with audiences, the messages that are targeted to them, and if they’re engaged enough to see that value over the long term.

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