Metrics for News enables newsrooms to act on analytics, engage new audiences and grow reader revenue
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Overview of this campaign
All publishers want to become indispensable to their audiences. They want to know what drives engagement and subscriptions, how to make their work part of a reader’s daily habit and how deeply to cover topics that matter. Those questions are not easily answered with conventional web analytics that were never intended for journalists.
What people click on, spend time with, subscribe to and share can reveal why they rely on a publisher for their news and information. But data overload can become overwhelming, even paralyzing to decision making.
To solve these problems journalists face with existing analytics platforms we built proprietary software – Metrics for News. It’s a strategic analytics tool that can transform how a newsroom operates with dashboards designed for every staffer from reporter to senior manager.
Metrics for News was built to:
- Simplify data by blending important metrics into a single engagement score.
- Automatically identify data trends by topic, story form and other journalistic qualities. Metrics for News uses AI and rule-based tagging to automatically track and group articles that share similar characteristics. This allows newsrooms to analyze data through dashboards specific to the author, team, topic or audience segment.
- Show what drives engagement among key audience segments. For example, newsrooms can identify what’s engaging locals, newsletter readers, millennials, female readers, etc.
- Access funnel analytics to help newsrooms identify what drives engagement from a casual user to a paying customer. The “Path to Conversion” dashboard helps newsrooms see the topics and stories that led to new subscriptions and retain existing ones.
- Make analytics accessible to all newsroom roles with an easy-to-use interface and intuitive design.
- Allow for client customization to account for different types of newsrooms, markets, goals and business models.
- Communicate newsroom priorities through data. Not every beat or team can be measured in the same way. For example, in MFN the engagement score to measure “acquiring new subscribers” will be a different set of metrics from the score designed to measure engagement among local users.
Results for this campaign
Metrics for News has driven results in a number of ways across the 104 newsrooms we’ve worked with in the U.S. and internationally. Publishers have used it to identify new audiences, new beats, reorganize their newsrooms, create new products, identify what stories to stop doing and how to deepen engagement and win more subscribers.
First, it has helped foster a culture of using analytics to learn about audience and improve coverage. As a result, it has helped newsrooms big and small conduct a cycle of editorial experimentation to test new ideas, products and beats in their mission to serve their communities.
Second, it surfaces insights that surprise newsrooms and open up new opportunities.
Lastly, it helps newsrooms identify key drivers of engagement along the customer journey that can trigger subscriptions.
Among many examples:
- A Connecticut newsroom used their MFN data to give a columnist permission to scale back weekly quotas. That change in frequency meant fewer articles but higher engagement by pursuing the most impactful and emotional stories.
- An Alaskan newsroom used it to reorganize their newsroom, identify which beats to focus on with shrinking resources and re-imagined coverage of the annual Iditarod race, which brought in more and deeper engagement and new subscribers.
- A Virginia newsroom learned consumer-related news was attracting a loyal and dedicated audience but wasn’t covered often. They devoted a reporter to covering stories that helped people identify how and where to spend their money. It quickly became one of the highest performing beats and consistently ranks among the top 5 topics driving engagement, performing 100% better than average newsroom stories. This one-person beat grew into a team of four.
- A Texas newsroom discovered passion topics can drive subscriptions. By changing their KPI from page views to conversions, they learned coverage of a college football team, among their lowest performers in views, ranked first in digital conversions with a niche but fiercely loyal group.