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Chartbeat

NEWS

The best-read digital story of 2015? It's The Atlantic's 'What ISIS Really Wants.'

Metrics now allow a fairly exact measure of which stories attract the most readers and hold them for the longest time. By that standard, there will be one story best in engagement in a given year. For 2015, that was The Atlantic's "What ISIS Really Wants," according to Chartbeat, which earlier this month published a first attempt to crunch … Read More
NEWS

Most of your headline writing tricks don't work, apart from these two

Analytics firm Chartbeat has published a new study which finds that most of the conventions for writing catchy digital headlines don't work very well. Author Chris Breaux, a Chartbeat data scientist, summarized results of testing a dozen styles for optimal click-through rates as follows: “Use terse, punchy headlines”; “Ask questions”; “Name drop.” None of these properties show much predictive … Read More
NEWS

Who will block the ad blockers? Publishers are proceeding with caution

Along with Apple's latest iOS comes the ability to block ads. In photo, Apple's new News app is displayed on an iPad. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)Apple iOS 9 launched a week ago and with it comes the opportunity for users to install ad blocking software for its Safari mobile browser. So what are publishers doing to counter the added … Read More
NEWS

The politics of reforming digital audience metrics -- don't underestimate the status quo

Long-time critics of imprecise unique visitor and page view metrics like me have had reason to cheer in recent months. Both the Financial Times and Economist have started to offer advertisers the alternative of rates based on time spent rather than raw traffic numbers. Chartbeat corrected a major flaw in existing measures of time spent, then got its … Read More
NEWS

Chartbeat: Mobile traffic dropped 8.5 percent during Friday's Facebook outage

Chartbeat Facebook's 19-minute outage on Friday corresponded to a 3 percent drop in traffic at news sites, according to Chartbeat chief data scientist Josh Schwartz: Overall web traffic to news sites dropped about 3% during the FB outage pic.twitter.com/5A7uHW5Eo3— Josh Schwartz (@joshuadschwartz) August 1, 2014 In a blog post, Schwartz observes a decrease in mobile traffic correlated with the Facebook outage: As I discussed in my last post, a huge percentage of mobile traffic comes from Facebook. Given that, we’d probably expect mobile traffic to be hardest hit during the outage. And, indeed, entrances to sites on mobile devices were down 8.5%, when comparing the minute before the outage to the lowest point while Facebook was down. Traffic to desktop sites, meanwhile, actually increased by 3.5 percent, Schwartz noted: "While we certainly can't claim that the outage was the cause of that uptick in desktop traffic, the timing is certainly notable." Read More
NEWS

The Day in Digital: Inside the New York Times CMS and the impending Amazon phone

— Content management systems are so in this season. Luke Vnenchak has a fascinating look inside Scoop, The New York Times's "homegrown digital and (soon-to-be) print CMS." — Jeff Bezos is expected to announce an Amazon smartphone today. How can the company compete with Apple, Android and Samsung? Quartz's Dan Frommer has some thoughts on the strategy. — … Read More
NEWS

Why NY Mag and Chartbeat tracked what turns first-time visitors into loyal readers

Last year 46 million Web users visited New York magazine's pop culture site, Vulture, for the first time. Of those, 7.6 million came back at least once. To use a term and concept that free news sites haven't widely adopted, that's a 17 percent conversion rate. Because few media organizations without hard paywalls are focusing on what they can do to retain first-time visitors, it's hard to put that number into context, said Michael Silberman, NYMag.com's general manager. But he sees that 17 percent as a baseline from which Vulture can grow. “I see tremendous value in that gap and in figuring out how to identify those among the 46 million who with the right nudge would be most likely to want to come back again,” Silberman told Poynter via phone. “And once you get them coming back one more time, they’re that much more likely to come back two more times, three more times.” Read More
NEWS

Time to ditch uniques and page views for engagement in measuring digital audiences

When Nieman Lab's Josh Benton asked me in December for a New Year's prediction, I leaned toward the bombastic and led my wish list for 2014 as follows: Ditch uniques and develop a better metric. Then-Newspaper Association of America president Mark Contreras was right when he made this case four years ago. It still hasn’t happened. One- or two-time … Read More
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