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Content Analytics for Publishers

The Publisher’s Guide to Content Analytics

How to use content analytics to grow your audience, boost revenue, and make your website more valuable to readers.

Terms like news value and editorial judgment get tossed around newsrooms each day, but increasingly, the real decisions at media publications are being made based on content analytics.

Content analytics platforms, like Google Analytics, Chartbeat, Parse.ly, and others, are providing publishers with the data they need to make smarter editorial and business decisions. Like what, you might ask?

Using content analytics platforms, digital publishers are determining which writers are generating the most page views, which topics are of the most interest to readers, and which stories are doing best on social media platforms, like Facebook and Twitter.

To better understand how digital publishers are using content analytics to inform their editorial strategies and refine their business practices right now, we put together this guide to content analytics for digital publishers.

How to Use Content Analytics – Top Strategies for Success

Strategy #1: Conduct internal benchmarking by audience.

Older readers react differently to content than younger readers, and engaged audiences care more about certain topics than drive-by website visitors. Digital publishers who are interested in reaching certain target demographics can use content analytics to pinpoint what those audiences are most interested in and then push that content to the max. This doesn’t just have to do with general article topics, either. Once they’ve targeted the demographic they’re trying to reach, publishes can hone in on the specific authors and types of content (videos, articles, podcasts, etc.) that certain readers are most likely to engage with.

Bringing targeted audiences back to the website isn’t just about creating more engaged readers. It’s also about demonstrating to advertisers the value that the publication provides and its ability to reach the audiences that advertisers are interested in selling to.

With content analytics, publishers can dig deep into the interests of certain audiences and then continue working to beat their personal bests, in terms of page views and engagement levels.

Strategy #2: Put conversions at the top.

Page views and average session duration are important metrics for digital publishers; there’s no doubt. But the most advanced content analytics platforms give publishers a way to associate conversions with content, as well. How effective was a native advertising campaign or a sponsored article at driving people to the advertiser’s website or the product being sold? With native app integrations, publishers can compare engagement and loyalty metrics for both native and web audiences. They can also evaluate the success of advertiser campaigns over a certain period of time, comparing total engaged minutes to page views and average engaged time for any number of websites or articles.

Strategy #3: Grouping websites together for comparison.

As the digital publishing ecosystem evolves, consolidation is occurring. It’s not uncommon now for local publishers to have not just one, but dozens—if not hundreds—of local news websites under their umbrellas.

Publishers who fit this description can use content analytics platforms to see how stories, writers, and referrers are performing across their entire network of websites. They can also compare metrics between websites in a network, or just in certain verticals. This strategy is particularly helpful as publishers look to measure the performance of smaller websites in their portfolios.

And what about publishers who don’t own a dozen or more online properties? Consolidation using content analytics can help them, too. These same techniques can be used by publishers as they compare traffic in certain sections of their websites. For example, how are the articles in the Sports section performing relative to the articles in the Arts & Entertainment section of a news website?

Strategy #4: Maintaining an analytics-informed approach, versus analytics-driven.

Publishers who focus too singularly on page views and website traffic are missing the point of content analytics. In an editorial setting, analytics let publishers know how different segments of their audience are interacting with articles and other website content.

The distinction here has to do with audience segment versus audience size. Experienced publishers know that there is more to growing a digital news publication than just attracting the greatest number of eyeballs. Publishers who want to reach out to certain segments of their audiences—for example, the most dedicated and engaged readers—will sometimes run stories that are of interest to those readers specifically, even if the public at large could care less. With the right content analytics platform in place, publishers can make sure their targeted content is reaching the right people and having the desired effect.

Have you tried using content analytics? If you’re not sure how to integrate this type of platform into your website, then now is the time to change that. We can help with everything you need to increase conversions and establish new revenue channels as a digital publisher.