Financial Times has a nuanced approach to Big Data, measuring the quality — not just the quantity — of audience engagement, Tom Betts, chief data officer at FT, said at the Big Data for Media Conference in London in 2017.

“Social media platforms are obviously massively popular as a source of news consumption,” Betts said. “They’re rising very quickly, and publishers will, if they don’t already, find it increasingly challenging to understand holistically how their content is being consumed.”

Historically, of course, publishers have managed their platforms. That has changed, making measurement tricky.

“I think it’s important we think about what we’re measuring and why. That we don’t just look at volume and growth metrics as being the only things that matter, but think about metrics of quality — metrics that show some level of loyalty and engagement with platforms. Because I think actually if we do that, then it will focus our attention much more on building healthy audiences.”

And what defines a healthy audience?

“A reader is in some way loyal to you, coming back more fequently. You see some evidence that there’s a level of habit in the way that they’re reading your journalism and that habit is definitely about you and what you’re doing rather than just a loyalty to the platform in question.”