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How Your Audience Data Can Inform Your Content Decisions

We all know clickbait — “content whose main purpose is to encourage visitors to click on a link to a particular webpage” — doesn’t help in growing audiences.

When you see headlines such as “you won’t believe what this man did,” you’re more likely to click away than be tempted to find out more. What’s more, if you do end up clicking through and find that the content doesn’t deliver on the promise of the headline, you’re not going to revisit that site.

Additionally, a larger problem with clickbait is that it rapidly inflates audience sizes, contributing to an oversupply of ad impressions at a time when audience attention, and advertising budgets are both finite resources.

This scheme is about monetizing ads at low value and mass quantity — all at the expense of building a loyal, engaged audience.

There are however 4 key metrics can help publishers achieve the goal of audience building and also ensure audience engagement and loyalty, setting the table for higher CPMs organically. Increased loyalty and engagement help to develop trust with an audience, which paves the way for new revenue streams as well.

1: Attention Time

Attention time is slowly becoming the new currency of the web, and with good reason. This
metric takes into account how long users stay on a site rather than the pageviews they generate. This is often a much better indicator of their interest, engagement and likelihood of returning. Digital-only publications such as Medium and Upworthy have realized the importance of an audience that not only clicks through to a page, but actually takes time to read it. Advertisers are also beginning to see the importance of attention time. A study by Microsoft, Google, Yahoo and Chartbeat shows that when audiences engage with what they’re reading for even 20 seconds, they’re 20 to 30 per cent more likely to remember the ad alongside that content. There are different ways publishers can gain information on how their content is affecting audience attention. Viafoura offers a comprehensive Audience Insights platform that measure the attention generated by social shares as well as each story, author and device.

2: Pages Per Visitor

Another useful metric to measure your visitors’ engagement is the number of pages they view. You can get this number through Viafoura’s Audience Insights (or Google Analytics) and it tells you not only whether your audience is engaged, but also what content is engaging them. This lets you identify topics and trends that generate the most hits, and support your content decisions with solid data. This useful metric can also help you track the average number of ads viewed per visitor, giving you a better understanding of the value of an average reader.

3: Social Shares

As BuzzFeed’s Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith says, “You can trick someone to click, but you can’t trick someone to share.” Though social sharing is a great way to increase your reach in today’s saturated marketplace, most people only share stories they feel are informational or add value to their followers and friends. It stands to reason then, that creating content your audience finds useful is the best way to gain those shares. In order to do that, you need to understand what content consistently engages your audience — this is where analytics comes in. Viafoura’s Audience Insights gives you in-depth knowledge on exactly which stories are resonating in an area, at what times of day and on which devices. We also highlight which social channels are driving the most (and least) traffic in real-time, so you can maximize your reach by addressing opportunities. You can track social shares using websites such as Bit.ly or Owl.ly as well, which aggregate how many times a URL has been shared.

4: Comments Per Minute

At Viafoura, we’ve found that the engagement generated by a post is one of the best indicators of whether it will perform well. That’s why our Audience Insights analytics dashboard uniquely tracks the comments generated per minute on each story. This gives you an early analysis of what type of content is doing well, so you can inform your strategy on an ongoing basis. This powerful metric also quantitatively tells you how engaged your readers are, which is even more telling than how long they spend on your site. With this metric you can immediately see the effect of editorial decisions on your audience development and take action to grow your community.

These are just a few of the metrics that can help you make sense of your data and what it means for your audience development.

Connect with an Audience Development Strategist today and see how 600+ media brands are engaging, discovering, and growing their audiences.