Analytics Best Practices

On our November Station Analytics Insights webinar we presented some data about the tremendous audience growth coming from social media.  If you have ever wondered how much of your social traffic is Facebook or whether to be concerned with Reddit we' shared some answers about where the audience is really coming from.  Perhaps you wonder if social media is the best platform  for reaching new audience, then you'll want to set aside 15 minutes to watch the video.  Once you've watched  - join the conversation by tweeting your thoughts using #PubMetrics.

On October 9th  I hosted a training about how to use Google Analytics to supercharge your pledge reporting. Your pledge platform is probably giving you information about how many people have donated and how close you are to meeting your goal, but when properly set up and used Google Analytics can give you a wealth of additional insight. We covered a lot of information in the one hour session and I've pulled out some of the important points below or you can review the slides from the presentation.

The web is a visual medium. Since the html blink tag was created we have all been focused on the appearance of our websites, but for the public radio audience listening is critically important - even on the web. Rather than thinking of the homepage as a whole, we looked at the individual parts or functional elements to determine which were most effective at engaging visitors.

Our dashboards and monthly reports feature traffic source pretty prominently. You are probably well aware of how much of your traffic is from Direct, Search, and Referrals - if you're not, learn more about Traffic Sources in this Google Analytics Training Video. Google Analytics reporting devotes an entire section to Traffic Source, but if it isn't meaning much to you perhaps there is something missing from your reports.

Creating a goal in Google Analytics is not difficult if you have a clear idea of what your goal is and how to identify it on your website. We recommend using goals that are built around URL destinations or events  to track how successful your website is at meeting your goals. This post will walk you through the steps to create your goal in Google Analytics but if you'd like to, you can read more about why you need goals.

If you have decided to take advantage of the station roll-up feature in the the Station Analytics System (SAS) here are some helpful hints on how to create and setup the web property in Google Analytics.

Login to your Google Analytics account and click into the Admin section. Once in your account you will see your current properties in the first tab.  You'll want to click +New Property to get started.

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.

NPR DS

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?

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.

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).

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.

What reporting does the Station Analytics Service include?

Our Analytics Service provides the business intelligence you need to answer key questions. There are three components to the service; all provided under your DS fees:

Webcast Metrics

Chartbeat

Website Reporting

Learn more about the station analytics service.

What are the benefits for Triton Webcast Metrics?

Flickr: 401K

I'm guessing that headline got your attention. Many stations have an informational web page that explains all the ways people can support your station. Our testing shows that you'll bring in more revenue during pledge drives if you skip over this support landing page and send users directly to the pledge form. And we have the data to show it.

The idea for this particular test came out of a proven rule of thumb from the for-profit world: If you're trying to get users to give you money, fewer steps in the process translates into a higher conversion rate. The fewer pages in the funnel, the more people end up finishing.

We wanted real data on whether this truth applies to our online pledge funnels as well. So we ran an A/B test to find out.

Metrics Spotlight is our new series that will help you understand the important numbers behind successful digital measurement strategies.

Hi there, I was just thinking about another interesting web metric that I want to talk to you about – "time spent on page."  Do you have a moment? Not yet?  That's ok, Just leave this page open and I'll wait for you.  

Madalyn Painter from St. Louis Public Radio recently shared some impressive numbers around their digital audience growth over the past year for their website and audio streams.

Comparing this January to last, our number of unique visitors to the site has increased by 90 percent. Additionally, the number of people listening to our online streams has more than doubled.

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