The Value of a Registered User

We compared the behaviours of several million users in two groups: registered users vs. non-registered users to help quantify the impact a registered user has on KPIs like pageviews, return visits, and time spent.

Registered users view 7x more pages per week and generate 5x more return visits per week compared to non-registered users.

Here are the results:

Per User Per Week Sitewide Pageviews Return Visits Attention Time per Visit
Registered Users* 14.38 10.96 3.98
Non-Registered Users** 2.90 2.25 2.55

*Sample 45,000 unique registered users
**Sample 17.9M unique non-registered users

We also found that registered users spend 56% more time on site per week in comparison to non-registered users.

What’s more, over 80% of all user registration occurs on pages that feature on-site engagement tools and user-generated content.

Leveraging Engagement to Grow your Community

By increasing the number of on-site engagement opportunities, you increase the chances of user registration, while also increasing the value of registration to the user.  So, when your audience wants to join the community, interact with other users, share your content, or opt-in for alerts, take the opportunity to prompt a user to register and benefit from the audience insights registration provides.

Simplify Registration and Build Value

Remove any barriers by making sure the registration experience is not only frictionless but that there is a value exchange.

Provide the options for your users to login effortlessly with their social ID or email depending on their preference. You can also prompt users throughout their journey to complete their profile and provide additional information as their activity builds.

Ensure a registered user can access all features within your community, whether it’s commenting, liking, sharing, following, or accessing paywall content. For best results, it’s important to empower your users to participate with a single ID.

And of course, having access to your audience data is key to making informed decisions that will empower you to engage, discover, and grow your audience.

Looking to build and monetize a direct relationship with your audience? 
Contact us to connect with an Audience Development Strategist.

Engaging News Project: What Audiences Want from Comments

In a recent survey by the Engaging News Project, over 12,000 commenters from 20 different news sites opened up about their commenting behaviour and preferences. To make the comment section work for you, we’re summarizing their key findings and showing how Viafoura stacks up.

In this report, the Engaging News Project found most commenters who read and weigh-in on news stories online want journalists and “experts” to get involved in the comments. Their preferences were fairly consistent across news sites.

On average, 81% of commenters said they’d want journalists to clarify factual questions.


In addition, an average of 73% of respondents said they’d want “experts” on topics covered in a news article to respond to comments.

Finally, 58% said they’d want journalists to actively contribute to comment sections and 42% said they’d want journalists to highlight quality comments.

Other noteworthy findings from the Engaging News Project:

  • Although an available option on most news sites, only 62% of commenters think it’s possible to report offensive comments.
  • How often an individual engages in the comments relates to how much civility they perceive in the comment section. In other words, if the comment section is seen to be civil, individuals are more inclined to engage in it.
  • Perceptions of civility in the new comment sections vary per site. Between 14%-78% of respondents per site rate the comments as “very or somewhat civil.”
  • Fewer than half of respondents on any news site feel connected to other commenters (This ranges from 13-42%). The more comments they posted, the more connected they felt.
  • Most commenters across all sites find comment sections easy to navigate. Yet, just under half said that it is easy to sort the comments.

Clearly, there’s a desire from commenters to engage with journalists and “experts” in the comment sections and for news sites to provide a sense of community.

While engaging in the comments can often be a daunting task for journalists and there isn’t always enough time in the day to contribute to the conversation, there are tools and tactics you can leverage to facilitate reader and journalist interactions, create a loyal online community, and encourage visitors to return more frequently and spend more time on your site:

Increase Opportunities for On-site Interactions

Viafoura provides all the tools and opportunities to create connections throughout the user journey with personalized user profiles, follow features, social sharing, real-time commenting, and notifications feeds.

Build Relationships with Commenters

Our commenting module makes it possible for users to engage in real-time with other users and journalists. Users can also sort comments by editor’s picks, by most recent or most active, or flag a comment with just one click.  And editors and journalists can set flagging thresholds by article and and promote chosen comments at the article level and site-wide with ease. You can also reward your quality contributors with trusted user badges to further incentivize quality comments.

Drive Engagement and Return Visits

Increase the value of on-site engagement with real-time commenting and notifications. With our browser-based push notifications and on-site notification feed readers are notified when they receive a real-time reply in the comment section. And with “Follow” features, users can follow other users and a journalist’s user profile to keep up with their latest articles and on-site activity.

Increase Civility in the Comment Sections

Eliminate harassment, abuse, hate speech, and spam in real-time with algorithms built on natural language processing and machine learning to uphold your community guidelines on your site and social channels. Manage multiple news sites with ease and uphold moderation efforts in real-time while maintaining thresholds of civility within each community.

We further support civility with enhanced community and user management features including email verification, display name and avatar moderation, user-to-user muting, and timed user banning, which results in significant increases in participation in the comments section and time-spent.

It’s OK to Disagree

The dislike button provides a way for disagreement without the alert of a flag and significantly reduces actions required from the newsroom when added to the comment module. We’re seeing great results with our customers reporting a 50% reduction in flagging in as little as two weeks since their implementation.

We also empower your community to create a personalized experience with the ability to mute other users, removing the muted user from their online experience site-wide. Nothing lasts forever, so if a user changes their mind they can easily unmute users within their notification tray.

Own and Access your First-Party Data

Can you quantify the impact of engagement on user registration, attention time, and other important KPIs? With access to your first-party data and rich audience insights, you can discover new opportunities to increase audience engagement and drive on-site interactions with your content and brand at the center of it all.

With the people, process, and technology in place, you’re well on your way to building a direct relationship with your audience and growing your on-site community.

Connect with an Audience Development Strategist today to learn why 600+ media brands trust Viafoura as their partner in audience development.


For more on creating a respectful exchange of ideas in the comments, watch our on demand webinar: More Than a Comment: How CBC Drives Real Conversations Below the Fold.

Browser-Based Push Notifications: A New Channel

Many media organizations have used app-based push notifications, but few have discovered the potential of browser-based push notifications.

Real-time push notifications are not competing with email but enable you to enter into the space of personal forms of communication, effectively competing with SMS and other personal alerts.

Entrepreneur Ariel Seidman captures this well: Now that you can reach users through the browser on desktop and mobile, media organizations “can tap almost two billion people on the shoulder.”

Tweetable Takeaway: The power of #pushnotifications: The new channel to drive on-site engagement and conversion

And the timeliness and attention required for a push notification is completely different than an email newsletter or digest that readers may not read for a couple of days.

“It’s very powerful,” confirms Joe Speiser, Co-Founder and CEO of LittleThings. “It could become bigger than email. There’s no spam traps; it goes exactly to the people who signed up for it. You could move hundreds of thousands of people a day to a piece of content.”


Browser-based push notifications drive more return visits.

They prompt people to engage more with a news organization by returning to an app or website. And the data confirms people who receive push notifications return more than those who do not receive notifications.

In a recent study, The Engaging News Project found more than 56% of respondents who receive push notifications said they went to the news organization’s website.

Tweetable Takeaway: #DYK #pushnotifications result in a 10% opt-in rate, 33% click-through rate, and more time-spent on site

The Washington Post launched Chrome notifications in September, reporting 200,000 signups, which amounts to a 10% opt-in rate and a 30% click-through rate.

Media organizations can communicate 1:1 with their readers through this new channel and shape the kinds of discussions they want to have around their content. “The more time we put into these direct channels, the more people are opting in,” confirms Anthony Sessa, VP of Product & Engineering, Mic. “It’s our feed. We get to control that feed and it’s not a black box like the Facebook algorithm. We can drive the conversation the way we want at the time we want.”

Providing readers with the effortless option to receive personalized alerts ensures they will receive breaking news or targeted content even when they are not on site. With the ability to reach your audience directly, you can take an active approach to driving traffic, and increasing click-throughs, and time-spent on site.

Ready to join media organizations who are driving on-site engagement with tools such as push notifications? Connect with an Audience Development Strategist today to learn how Viafoura can help you engage, discover, and grow your audience.


Check out our webinar on demand: Creating Deeper Connections: Best Practices for Developing your On-site Community for more on the power of push notifications.

The Impact of Audience Engagement

We are often asked how on-site engagement drives KPIs like pageviews, time-spent, click-through rates, and user registration.

So we took a look at the behaviours of millions of users across our network of over 600 media brands to find out.

The Impact of Engagement on Pageviews, Time-Spent & User Registration

In order to measure this impact, we compared the behaviours of several million users in two groups: those who visited pages with our engagement tools, and those who did not. The results were striking: those who visited pages with engagement tools produced a 248% lift in weekly pageviews per user and a 364% lift in time-spent on site per week.

Here are the results:

Total Weekly Pageviews per User Total Weekly Attention Time per User
Did not view Comments 2.07 4.07 minutes
Viewed Comments 7.20 18.80 minutes

We also found that over 80% of all user registration occurred on pages which featured on-site engagement tools and user-generated content such as comments.

In a recent article from Ernst-Jan Pfauth, Co-founder & Publisher, De Correspondent, Pfauth confirms media organizations need to give reader comments a chance (and for real, this time) not only because it is their duty to drive audience engagement around their content but it also makes sound business sense.

The Impact of Moderation on Engagement KPIs

Our Audience Development Platform  features a suite of moderation tools aimed at fostering an increase in audience engagement and user-generated content. In our recent case study with a world-leading national broadcaster, we reported how Viafoura’s enhanced community and user management features resulted in a 23% decrease in flagging, a 62% increase in likes per user, and most impressively a 34% increase in replies to comments, and a 45% increase in new daily user registrations.

cbc-stats-2016*Last updated November 2016

Journalists are also more likely to engage in the comments when it’s more than a garbage removal exercise, and instead, they can connect directly with audience members around the content they produce. A recent study with the Engaging News Project and NICD (National Institute for Civil Discourse) found that when journalists engage in the comments, media organizations can drive a further 15% reduction in incivility, which drives an increase in audience engagement, time-spent, and user registration.

See the value in comments but can’t bear the cost or effort it takes to manage and moderate your community?
Contact an Audience Development Specialist to learn how Viafoura empowers media companies to engage, discover and grow their audience.

Learn More:

CBC drwebsite-comment-webinarives real conversations below the fold and manages a growing online community with enhanced community and user management features.
Read More

Discover how Viafoura Smart automated algorithmic Moderation (SaaM) automates real-time moderation, on site and across social channels, so you can go all in on engagement.
Start Now

Webinar On Demand: How CBC Creates Real Conversations Below the Fold

At a time where others are shutting down their comment sections and struggling to maintain civility in their online communities, CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) has shown it’s still possible to promote a respectful exchange of ideas.

Hear from CBC’s Senior Manager, Public Affairs and Product Owner, Web Presentation as they discuss the challenges media organizations face today in driving audience engagement below the fold and CBC’s successes in managing a growing and evolving community.

In this webinar, you’ll learn how to:

  • Elevate the quality of online debate to start discussions that are as civil as they are vigorous
  • Uncover whether anonymity and pseudonymity comprise engagement
  • Leverage the comment section to contribute to your goals as a content publisher
  • Avoid the migration of online debate to social media to keep discussions on your site
  • Sustain meaningful relationships with your audience


Don’t miss out on this webinar: Watch it now!

Taking Your Audience Back: The Power of On-site Engagement

Marketers and Media Organizations: We are One

In the production of content, companies are thinking more like media organizations, and media organizations are thinking more like marketers as we all work to secure the interest and attention of our audience.

Whether the goal is to inform, educate or entertain, our audience is the most important piece of our content. And as the industry continues in the shift to focus on delivering targeted and relevant content to an attentive and active online audience, engagement is what forges the bridge between readers, content, and a brand.

As Noel Penzer, CEO, Time Out, the print and digital publisher who has always built user experiences as a “two-way network,” proclaimed at the recent Monetizing Media Conference, the time is now for media organizations to focus on their brand and the relationship with their audience.

Defining Engagement

Audience engagement is about fostering a two-way network built on interactions, both reader-to-reader and reader-to-writer with your content and brand at the center of it all. Engagement does not represent one-off actions but can be defined as a series of interactions, with increasing effort from passive to active (i.e. liking to following to commenting), moving up the stages of the Engagement Ladder.


Social Media’s Role

With so much controversy surrounding changing algorithms and the commoditization of content, media organizations are getting smarter about striking direct connections with readers on their own site. While social media can be a powerful source for content discovery, it’s been hard for media organizations to get readers to stick around.

From analyzing user behaviour across our network, we were able to confirm exactly that, yes social media is a clear driver of discovery and traffic but results in the highest bounce rates.

While our data shows that on average 85% of social media traffic comes from Facebook, what is important to note is that while social media is a good source of inbound traffic, these unique visitors spend 89% less time on site than organic sources.

85% of social media traffic comes from Facebook, although they spend 89% less time on site

To combat high bounce rates, media organizations need to foster a direct relationship with their audience through measurable opportunities for on-site interaction and conversion.

Social Media for Engagement: The Perils

By leveraging social media for content discovery (versus the platform for audience engagement, leaving your audience and data behind) efforts can be focused on building a community to keep users on-site with your content, contributors, and brand at the center of it all.

The benefits to keeping readers on-site and engaged empowers media organizations to not only have a direct relationship with their audience but of great importance to financial survival, gain control of their audience data and monetization.

Taking Your Audience Back

If you’re ready to commit to fostering a direct relationship with your audience and to make your website their online destination for news and events, we’ve outlined a few questions to consider:

  1. What social channels are helping you acquire new readers?
  2. When readers visit your site what prompts them to stay?
  3. What measurable opportunities exist for users to interact with your content, creators, and other community members?
  4. How are you monitoring and optimizing your site in order to maximize on-site interactions?
  5. Are you able to measure your on-site and social engagement across your user journey and the resulting impact on KPI’s?

Maximizing Return on Engagement


Create Opportunities for On-site Interactions and Conversion

It’s important to create opportunities for on-site engagement and to be able quantify the value at each stage of the user journey. And with increased on-site interactions comes more opportunities for conversion, registration, subscription, and ad impressions on yield.

Starting with a frictionless login through social sign-on or email/user verification, can readers then go on to interact with other users and content? Can your readers share content across social throughout your site, rate articles, follow other readers and content contributors, which can then power content recommendations, relevant alerts and other triggers for re-engagement both with your content and community members? Creating and quantifying such user behaviour and on-site interactions are the first steps to maximizing return on engagement.


Convert Anonymous to Highly Engaged Users

Building a highly engaged community of active users and loyal readers is key to building a strong two-way network. Engagement behaviour is progressive and so as opportunities for on-site interactions increase, participation increases and you can accelerate participation up the ladder from anonymous, to known, lurker, passively engaged, and ultimately active engaged/subscribed.

“The concept of a ‘ladder’ demonstrates a user’s decision-making process, which is affected by his or her past experience with the website, and which expresses the user’s wishes and free will.”
MIT Sloan Report, Building the Business Case for Engagement


Increase Scrolling in the Deep

There is a much needed shift taking place where media organizations and advertisers are looking to the impact of engagement as a key distinguisher in their value proposition to advertisers, as we see in the case of Native Advertising. In the case of typical ad units, ultimately, scroll depth increases in addition to below the fold ad units from all the on-site interactions that exists below the fold.

In an analysis of the impact of engagement below the fold, in this case commenting, we uncovered that 68% of all unique visitors spend more than 15% of their time reading comments. We can report that active engagement results in a 73% increase in pageviews per visit, and a 70% increase in visits per month. And with more time spent below the fold and across pages, and sections, the result is more ad impressions.

Active engagement results in a 73% increase in pageviews per visit, and a 70% increase in visits

Power the Results You’re Looking For

Because media companies are fiercely competing for audiences’ and advertisers’ limited attention, it is imperative to build a direct relationship with your audience to maximize engagement opportunities around your content to effectively power digital revenue.

Here’s how to calculate ROE:


People are those required to manage your community, while the platform (which will reduce your management costs) will drive engagement and attention time down the page and across the site to drive incremental revenue through additional ad impressions and/or subscriptions.

If you’re looking to build a highly engaged online community and reap the benefits from doing so, it’s time to take back your audience and leverage the power of on-site engagement. Watch this webinar on demand to learn best practices for developing your on-site community.

Webinar On Demand: Best Practices For Developing Your On-site Community

Focused on growing your online community? Looking to grow and monetize your audience?

Hear from media and audience development veterans Tom Gierasimczuk and Dan Seaman to learn how you can leverage the power of social media to build a highly engaged, loyal community on your site with your content at the center of it all.

In this webinar, you’ll learn how to:

  • Leverage social media for content discovery and keep your audience on site
  • Connect a community of likeminded individuals around a particular topic/region or niche
  • Maximize on-site interactions to build a highly engaged and active community of readers, contributors, and influencers
  • Gain transparency and retain ownership of your brand, content, data, and audience


Don’t miss out on this webinar: Watch it now!

Download the Report: The Business Case For Engagement

Convert site visitors into paying customers by prompting visitors to gradually increase their engagement through the “Ladder of Participation.”

There is a definitive correlation between user engagement and conversion. As a user becomes increasingly engaged, they are more willing to pay for a digital publishers content or services. More importantly, users who are more active in the publisher’s online community make the subscription decision sooner compared with users who are less active (or not active at all).

A recent MIT Sloan Management Review study report, titled “Turning Content Viewers Into Subscribers,” asserts that engagement is the key to turning casual readers into paying subscribers, and the ladder model as an effective framework to boost engagement over time. Using what the research dubs the “Ladder of Participation,” publishers can prompt site users to progressively accelerate their on-site engagement to become paying subscribers.

“The concept of a ‘ladder’ demonstrates a user’s decision-making process, which is affected by his or her past experience with the website, and which expresses the user’s wishes and free will. The notion of the ladder is based on the idea that, as users become increasingly engaged with a website, they become more willing to pay for its services — and the website must take an active approach to engage and interact with its users, guiding them ‘up the ladder,’” says the report, authored by academics Lior Zalmanson and Gal Oestreicher-Singer.

“The concept of a ‘ladder’ demonstrates a user’s decision-making process, which is affected by his or her past experience with the website, and which expresses the user’s wishes and free will.”

Through each stage, this report demonstrates the correlation between a user’s placement on the proverbial ladder and their likelihood of converting into loyal, paying subscribers.

But not all engagement is created equal. “Liking” a video may not be as valuable to a publisher as a user who actively comments on content. The report provides a framework for engagement levels with three categories with varying degrees of value:

Three categories with varying degrees of value

  1. Content organization requires little effort from the user and helps fellow users receive useful information about the content. These features include the “like” button and options such as ratings (star ratings or a numerical scale), or tagging content with user-suggested keywords.
  2. Community participation includes all features that have the potential to create interactions among users on the website. These include chats, forums, internal blogs, comment options, sharing options, social or interest groups etc. These features form the basis of a website’s community and require low to moderate efforts from the user.
  3. Community leadership refers to features and options that put users in the drivers seat. These include options to initiate conversation, create new social groups on site, moderate the site’s discussions, and create content channels. It’s rare for traditional commercial websites to install such features, but they are common on websites that encourage vast community input, as these websites tend to delegate some, if not all, moderating tasks to users.

Three steps to guide users to increased engagement

Engage: Set goals for engagement
Identify how you need your current community to grow and evolve. Establish engagement KPIs you want to monitor, including attention time, time spent on site, and social interactions.

Discover: Know your audience
That means achieving an in-depth understanding of your audience, as well as what they’re reading, sharing, responding to, and who is actively involved in your community.

Grow: Establish your engagement ladder
Select participatory features (and order of introduction) based on your community and goals. Connect your KPIs and points of engagement (social interactions, comments, etc.) to the rungs of your ladder. And build a strategy to grow your audience, one that gradually encourages and motivates users to climb your newly built Ladder of Participation.

Ready to build engagement and grow your own online audience? Learn how you can influence engagement and gain deeper audience insights with Viafoura Audience Development Platform.

Contact us to discuss your Audience Development strategy and how we can help you engage, discover, and grow your audience.

New Look. New Engagement Tools. A More Powerful Platform.

Viafoura Launches Next Phase of Audience Development Platform

We’ve got a brand new look. We hope you love it as much as we do!

We’ve rolled out a new logo, website, and added new engagement tools to the Viafoura Audience Development Platform to reflect our commitment to empowering the digital world’s interactions, connections, and relationships.

You might be asking yourself, why’d we do it? Why the change?

“Viafoura has evolved greatly since we launched in 2012,” shares Jesse Moeinifar, Viafoura Founder & CEO. “To better reflect where Viafoura is today, and where we are going, we wanted to reintroduce the brand with this new release and new suite of engagement tools developed to further empower digital publishers and media companies to increase on-site engagement and grow their audience.”

In this release, Viafoura provides the framework and tools for the creation of a social network and rich user profiles to drive user-to-user interactions directly on a publisher’s site. These new engagement tools include a notification feed and browser-based push notifications to alert users of breaking news, social interactions, and information that is important to them.

“Our engagement tools are already measurably increasingly session length, visit depth, and visitor loyalty for digital publishers and media companies. This new phase takes it to the next level with a refocus on social interaction and an improved mobile experience,” confirms Dan Seaman, Product Director at Viafoura.

“The Viafoura Audience Development Platform also includes a real-time analytics dashboard to uncover the impact of on-site engagement on important KPIs to gain actionable insights,” adds Dan.

To learn more about the Viafoura Audience Development Platform, visit the Platform page.

Viafoura empowers over 600 of the world’s top media brands to engage, discover, grow with integrated user registration, engagement, moderation, and analytics tools—all in one platform.

Media Contact
Allison Munro, Head of Marketing & Business Development, Viafoura,

Connect with an Audience Development Strategist today to learn how you can engage, discover, and grow your audience.

INMA Report: Five Takeaways to Leverage Big Data

In April 2016, INMA co-hosted Big Data Media Week.

INMA recently released Big Data for Media 2.0: Going Data-First to continue this discussion.

We’re summarizing this report and highlighting our top five takeaways for digital publishers:

1. Big Data is the “thing”

Big Data isn’t the next big thing. It’s the thing.

It’s what digital publishers need to reach advertisers, audiences, and to co-exist with social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

There’s no denying digital publishers are in the data distribution business. And data is the gasoline.

Rick McFarland, Chief Data Scientist at Hearst Corp., said it best when he shared: “Hearst is not in the publishing business or even in the media business. It is really in the data distribution business. Data is the gasoline that fuels the business.”

2. Data is a company-wide strategy

Data is a company-wide strategy, touching every facet of the media operation: advertising, editorial, marketing, finance, and beyond.

With data, digital publishers can gain detailed insights into user behaviour and leverage this data to drive higher-priced advertising and subscriptions, more efficient and effective campaigns for advertisers, and personalized content to drive user engagement and loyalty.

And with the right tools and training, data can be your gasoline too.

3. Why it’s time to leverage audience analytics

By far, the #1 activity under the Big Data umbrella is audience analytics, the collection of audience usage data, with 45 of the survey-takers saying this is their top priority. Audience analytics can easily be executed almost entirely with technology.


The media companies who responded to this survey are in what INMA call “the slow” and “middle lanes” as they are just starting to develop their data-first strategy in order to get in the “fast lane” and convert their data into actionable insights and revenue.

Most media companies actually sit on stockpiles of data, both structured (about 20% in databases and website log files) and unstructured (about 80% including video and photos) and make little or no use of it. The collection of data is relatively a passive pursuit and only becomes valuable once they are actively cleaned, analyzed, and made actionable (e.g., leveraging for targeting ads or content).

4. Revenue making with big data

Understanding your audience pays off. And once you understand your audience, you can use technology to provide them tailored content and more sophisticated and exacting offers. This will drive audience growth and engagement, making retention easier and more lucrative.

Advertisers are seeking metrics from digital publishers to prove the size and scope of the audience that they are paying for on digital media.

Industry leaders from around the world confirm the potential for revenue making with Big Data:

“Data capabilities help you get more granular with your audience, commanding higher CPMs”
—Stéphane Père, Chief Data Scientist at the Economist Group

Alyson Papalia, VP, Digital Advertising Strategy & Operations at Forbes confirms, “Advertisers love data. The more reports we send the happier they are. This is a real success point.”

5. Join the data revolution

Data-first has become synonymous with customer-first strategies. Why?

Because research shows by understanding the audience deeply, serving content, advertising, and services to them based on these insights, customers becomes more loyal and will visit your site more often and for longer periods of time.

In the next few years, we’re going to see more digital publishers get on board the fast train to a data revolution, and usher in a new age of audience engagement.

Download the report to see how you can get on board too.

Viafoura empowers digital publishers to convert audience data into actionable insights and revenue. Connect with an Audience Development Strategist today to learn how you can get in the fast lane.