Twitter Tweet Chat
Elijah van der Giessen / FundChat

Attention Stations! NPR Digital Services will be hosting an all-station Twitter chat to explore the Station Analytics System's Analytics Dashboard on Wednesday, March 4th from 3-4 p.m. ET using the #NPRChats tag.

#NPRChats is an informal way for NPR Digital Services to talk with and answer questions from our Member Stations about a different topic or theme each month.

The upcoming March 4th chat will focus on the SAS Analytics Dashboard—one of the most important tools available for evaluating your station’s digital strategy! NPR Digital Service’s own Michelle Bellettiere (@NPRBelle), Digital Analytics Senior Manager, will be joining the chat to answer any questions you may have about Analytics Dashboard features and benefits.

The Core Publisher development team has been working hard to introduce a fully functioned responsive web theme. Over the past few months a handful of sites have moved to this new theme which provides a cleaner look and allows a consistent experience across devices. While we can't share sites confidential details, we can point to a few positive trends that we have seen post launch.

Lately lots of people have been emailing me links to articles about a phenomena called "dark social." This is interesting because "dark social" is the phrase coined to describe what was originally thought to be impact of the social sharing of links directly between individuals through email and chat.  Back in 2012, Alexis Madrigal wrote an article about a concerning trend that he was seeing on

NPR member stations are successfully using a web first approach to digital news that is rapidly capturing new online audience. We have watched our social media traffic grow and are consistently improving our reach through new tools, platforms and partnerships, but to fulfill our long-term goals we'll need to encourage deeper engagement and direct relationships between stations and their new audience.  

On our December Station Analytics Insights webinar we presented some data about the tremendous audience growth coming from mobile devices.  If you have ever wondered how mobile users get to your site or what the best platform is for growing new audience, then you'll want to set aside 10 minutes to watch the video.  Once you've watched  - join the conversation by tweeting your thoughts using #PubMetrics

There are two parts to turning on E-Commerce Tracking:

#1 - Add Code to Your Pledge Form:

Special Google Analytics code needs to be added to your pledge confirmation page. The specifics of what code needs to be added depends on your pledge form and how it is coded, but in most cases it will capture information on what the transaction is, and how much money it represents, and send that information to your Google Analytics account.

via flickr/writetoreply (CC-BY)

We're working on a broader best practices document to outline methods for engaging the newsroom in analytics. For now, though, here's a way to start the conversation. No metric is a one size fits all. But there are two high level questions that should form the basis for any benchmark. Those are:

Is my audience growing?
Is my audience engaged?

The following updates were made to Core Publisher this week:

Station Analytics System

Core Publisher stations are now ready to move over to SAS tracking. We will be moving stations to SAS tracking over the next few days. Along with this comes some additional data in Google Analytics, namely author, tag, and keyword popularity. And much more to come. Stay tuned.

Here are some frequently asked questions around the Station Analytics System (SAS):

Q: What is SAS?
A: SAS is the Station Analytics System –it’s comprised of two main parts: the Tag Management System (TMS), which generates a custom analytics tag for all your pages, and dashboards showing your station’s site and stream metrics.

Having trouble getting setup in the Station Analytics System?  Not sure what you need in order to get started?  Follow the steps below to get your station up and running on the new system and start benefiting from the new tracking tag today! 

Creating a Login at :

Confused Stormtrooper
DoodleDeMoon / flickr

You may have noticed something cryptic in your keywords reporting - "(not provided)".  This item has been creeping up in the ranks for many sites and is now in the top slot for many of our stations.  Wondering what this is and what you can do about it?  Well, here's some background:  The keywords that visitors typed into search engine are usually added to the referring url so that they can be captured by Google Analytics for search engine referrals.


Knowledge is power. A cliche, yes, but it's something that many digital newsrooms forget about when it comes to studying analytics. Or maybe they're selectively ignoring the numbers. Is it because the audience might be too small? Or that story they invested huge resources in is only managing a few retweets and likes on Facebook?

Why Reporters Need to Understand Analytics

Apr 8, 2013
Gabe Bullard

Knowledge is power. A cliche, yes, but it's something that many digital newsrooms forget about when it comes to studying analytics. Or maybe they're selectively ignoring the numbers. Is it because the audience might be too small? Or that story they invested huge resources in is only managing a few retweets and likes on Facebook?

NPR is undergoing a Webcast Metrics measurement project in order to move to a common system for measuring the larger digital audience. NPR Digital Services is facilitating this project by working with stations on setting up measurement accounts for all NPR Member Stations. Triton Digital was chosen as our vendor and partner in this process.

Getting started with Google Analytics is pretty simple, but maintaining accurate reporting can get complicated. Using the Station Analytics System can help you tackle tagging issues but this has some great tips on setting up profiles and filters that will keep your data clean and accurate.

With mobile and desktop streaming on the rise, it’s essential to know how many people are listening to support your revenue and audience goals.

 To initiate set up your stream measurement, please send an email to your streaming vendor to authorize NPR DS and Triton Media access to your log files.  Plus, request the access details to expedite the setup. Below is a list of what you will need your CDN to provide for us to complete the set up:

Looking for some basic training about the metrics available in Google Analytics? Wondering which report will help you to find the answers that you need? Hoping to find help on how to customize your tracking? Find all of that and more in a series of video tutorials available directly from Google. I highly recommend that Station staff who are working with or interested in GA complete "First Steps", "Interpreting Reports", and "Fundamentals." Broken up in to short videos that cover specific topics these training resources will make you a Google expert in no time (or under 2 1/2 hours).


We're excited to announce the launch of a new Digital Services offering: Station Analytics. Its purpose is to provide stations the best business intelligence on your site and your streams, so you can measure your digital performance, benchmark your progress against other stations, and discover insights that support your decision making for all things digital.


The Station Analytics system provides:

From time to time I've gotten questions about why stations would need Chartbeat now that there are "real-time" stats in Google Analytics. Here's a link to an infographic where Chartbeat does a great job of answering that question and making it clear why you need both.

This is an interesting take on how our social metrics may be failing us, by undercounting the sharing that happens outside of social media. Still, I wouldn't start assuming that all of your direct traffic is actually "Dark Social" until you take a look at your campaign tracking strategy; it could be your email newsletter or your RSS feed that's sending this "direct" traffic... or it might actually be Aunt Marge sending you a link.