The bracing smell of printed paper, a daily crossword and sudoku, the newspaper is reaching its expiry date; replaced by glass screens and keyboards.

From September 2014 to December 2015, daily newspaper circulation declined by 9.7 per cent. In addition, newsroom employment saw a drop of 8700 jobs from 2010 to 2014 (Pew Research, 2016). In addition, the Independent ceased print production of its newspaper, and became online-only last year, due to substantial losses in the printed edition.

The evidential decline of print readership contrasts to the sharp increase of the digital audience. For example, the Daily Mail gained a PC and mobile audience of 28964 in March 2016, while it received an inferior print readership of 10072 (PressGazette, 2016).

However, how are companies meant to evaluate their success online, when the growth of a newspaper is easily measured by its profit?

A news company can measure its success online through media analytics, the practice of extracting data from a website, allowing the administrator to review audience engagement.

What is measured?

Most news companies review data to determine the engagement and the success of an article, the elements that a news company measures is dependent on interest and the quality of their metrics.

Data measurements are no longer limited to page views, modern technology has allowed news companies to grasp what the audience does and how engaged they are with their content; here are some examples of the metrics:

  1. Bounce rate- the percentage of visitors who exit a website after viewing one page.
  2. Engaged time- the amount of time a visitor spends interacting with an article.
  3. Social shares- the amount of times an article is shared via social media.
  4. Click-through rate- the percentage of visitors who click on a hyperlink on the article.
  5. Scroll depth- how far a visitor scrolls down on an article. 

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Why do news companies use analytics?

The role of a news establishment is to inform an audience, so it is imperative that a website is engaging and impactful.

The media metrics allow a news website to observe the audience’s activity on their article. To utilize this data, a news website can evaluate where improvement is necessary, for instance altering the title, keywords, or time of publication could increase the search traffic. The metrics also allow the companies to make quicker and decisive decisions.

Discussing their disuse of data, The New York Times Innovation report of 2014, stated: “We are missing out on an opportunity to better understand reader behaviour, adjust to trends and drive traffic to our journalism.” The evidence suggests that, using analytics is significant in saving time, is tactful, and can encourage improvements to the content on a website.

How to view your WordPress data…