metrics

Frequency: Our toughest challenge

In my PublishAsia presentation in Macau I walked through a general business case for social networking as an integrated feature of a news website.

The argument goes like this: We have an audience problem. We can fix our sales incentives, train our people, tune our pricing and our packaging, and replace leadership as necessary. But at the end of the day we're going to hit a very hard wall. That wall is available advertising inventory that meets the advertisers' needs.

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Losing the sticky race

Newsosaur Alan Mutter asks some worthwhile questions about newspapers losing the battle for audience retention despite doing some things right. He says the decline in stickiness is "puzzling in light of the energy most publishers in the last year have put into building traffic with such features as 24-hour news, video, blogs, podcasts, slide shows, interactive commentary and user-generated, hyper-local content."

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Spreading out the daily usage curve

A post by Mike Smith at the Readership Institute includes a remark that "Web use of news sites peaks at noon, creating a perfect bell curve." This prompted me to take a look at a typical weekday's composite daily usage curve for Morris websites, which I hadn't done in awhile. It looks like this:

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Measurement isn't easy

Poynter's Rick Edmonds, in a rambling review of the ten-trends sort, says "Measurement is easy" and adds "Actionable measurement is tougher."

I'll go way beyond that: Measurement is outright hard, and it can be dangerously misleading.

A good metrics system is a boon to any site -- for sales purposes.

But for analysis, beware. We don't know what we don't know, and serving up a bunch of dazzling charts, graphs and heatmaps is a good way to be led astray.

Some examples:

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