Analytics

In the past our analysis has looked at user behavior to try and understand how different users interact with content and what drives them to return. In the September 2017 webinar we took a look at how station strategies play a role in the size of their loyal website audience (users who visit 3 or more times in a month). Here are 3 things we discovered:

If you'd like to start measuring the size of your website's loyal audience, you can start by importing the Loyal Users Segment (3+ Sessions) into your Google Analytics account. Once you have this segment in place you can add it to any standard or custom Google Analytics report in order to understand how this group of users interacts with content or how they compare to other types of audience.

Member Station website audience crossed an important threshold in July 2017. For the first time since NPR has been tracking aggregate station web traffic, there were more sessions on mobile devices that on desktop/laptop devices.  

Here's why it matters:

We spend a lot of time talking about user engagement, how to measure it and how to encourage it. We want to be sure that our content reaches the right audience, but when much of our audience only interacts with a single page how do we know that we are encouraging the right behaviors to build audience and membership? For each page a user sees we have a chance to encourage them to interact with our content but a single page of viewing only gives us one chance to capture their attention.

Last week was our monthly analytics webinar, where we gather together the top insights across the system on both audience and engagement. 

As you might expect, election coverage was a big focus for the system this month, and we broke down  audience consumption of election coverage, as well as its impact on retention rate. And the results are significant: politics and election coverage had more than double the one-week retention rate of the previous 12 weeks. 

Over the past few years we've used our station analytics data to learn a lot about our digital audience. Recently we've been looking at the characteristics and behavior of our users over a longer timeframe through a Google tool called BigQuery. We call this endeavor our Digital Conversion Study and have previously publish our insights about donors and our insights about repeat users.

In July, the Station Analytics team started an on-going investigation into the long-term site interaction trends that correlate with higher levels of site engagement and donation. Recently we shifted our focus from donors to repeat users of our sites with the goal of better understanding our loyal audience. Here's what we were able to learn about visitors who come to our sites more than once. 

In July, the Station Analytics team started an on-going investigation into the long-term site interaction trends that correlate with higher levels of site engagement and donation. This project uses Google’s BigQuery tool to load granular Google Analytics data starting from April of 2014 and building into the future. This tool allows us to analyze user data across longer periods of time than what is currently available in the Google Analytics interface and to perform more complicated custom calculations.

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 theatlantic.com.

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?
And
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 analytics.nprstations.org :

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.

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