When I began analyzing newsroom metrics, the emphasis was on things you could easily measure. Pageviews were hot. Everyone wanted more pageviews. Stats like high follower count were at such a premium that organizations were paying good money for fake accounts to follow them en masse. (Sadly, this is probably still happening.)
That was just 5 years ago. A lot has changed in metrics since those days of chasing numbers. I would say the change is mostly positive. Now, newsrooms are talking about engagement and editorial analytics. The race is no longer toward quantity; it’s toward quality.
But what are quality metrics? How do you know what’s quality for you? Is quality subjective? And what do you do with quality metrics once you find them?
The great shift from quantity to quality has surfaced many questions.
MetricShift is here to be a hub for metrics-related information. We intend to address the need for actionable, accessible information in these rapidly changing times. We’re here to ask and answer questions, provide solutions and create communities around telling the story of impact with quality media metrics.
What Makes MetricShift Possible
MetricShift is made possible by funding from the Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC), which gets support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Metrics, analytics and measuring impact have been covered by MediaShift in the past, but we’re here to kick it up a notch.
In December 2015, Tim Cigelske and I were hired to manage the MetricShift coverage. You may have already seen some of our coverage:
- 3 Steps to Measuring What Matters: Assess, Analyze, Act
- Set Clearly Defined Goals to Make Your Metrics Matter
- 4 Common Google Analytics Issues (And How to Fix Them)
- You’ve Got Mail – Again: Rethinking the Role of Email Newsletters
Tim and I, together with freelancers and leading minds in the industry, will continue to bring you this coverage, all of which can be found at MetricShift.org.
We’re also launching this site with the help of a great Reader Advisory Board. The Board includes people from public media, non-profits, startups and for-profit media to provide diverse feedback on the site’s direction. In addition to providing us feedback on our coverage, the Board will help us understand the issues that media organizations face in measuring analytics and talking about impact.
MetricShift Reader Advisory Board:
- Anika Anand, Seattle Times Education Lab
- Hannah Eaves, Consultant at Public Media Company, Gates Foundation
- Clare Carr, Parse.ly
- Lindsay Green-Barber, CIR / Reveal
- Brian Boyer, NPR
- Alisa Miller, PRI
- Celeste LeCompte, ProPublica
- Anjanette Delgado, Gannett / Media Impact Project
- Ian Gibbs, Guardian
How We’re Going To Do It
We’ve defined a few general topic areas that we’re going to focus on in order to bring you the best possible coverage of media metrics:
There’s more than one way to skin a cat, and there’s more than one way to work with media metrics. We’ll cover industry best practices as well as innovative tactics.
A recently released Reuters Institute Report found that news organizations worldwide are “increasingly embracing the use of analytics and metrics as part of editorial decision making […].” We’re going to be featuring articles from people at these organizations so that we can learn from their successes, their failures and their experimentations.
Impact is at the heart of everything we’ll be writing about on MetricsShift. Metrics exist not for their own sake, but to illuminate the path to true media impact. We’ll highlight ways to use metrics to talk about and understand impact.
Social media platforms not only refer traffic to our content, they’re also major contributors to brand awareness and audience engagement. Tracking social metrics can be just as important as tracking site analytics. And just as confusing. We’ll address issues of measuring social metrics and how to talk about these in relationship to organization goals.
Tools & Resources
There are dozens of analytics platforms out there and more are being developed every day. From the more popular platforms like Google Analytics and Chartbeat to the lesser known platforms like PIWIK, we’ll bring you reviews and guides to the tools and resources that will help you better understand your metrics.
The 2nd and 4th Friday of each month we will host Twitter chats at the #MetricShift hashtag to discuss a specific metrics-related issue or topic. Each chat will feature a different set of guests who will help us think through the issue, provide expert advice and ask insightful questions.
In addition to our original reporting, we’ll be republishing and linking to the best coverage about metrics, analytics and measuring impact from around the web.
How You Can Join In
We’re dedicated to bringing you in-depth coverage on everything metrics related. But no matter how much we read, how many tools we try, how often we comb through analytics, we can’t provide the best coverage without your help.
You’ve got experience that we can’t have. You’ve faced problems and solved them. You’re working with real analytics. And we need you to share your knowledge.
- Join our bi-monthly Twitter chats to ask questions and offer suggestions.
- Join our Facebook Group and let us know what you’re working on and what your struggles are. Chances are you’re not alone!
- Write for us! We’re always looking for insightful, in-depth articles about real-world analytics issues and solutions. If you think you might have something to share, contact me at email@example.com and let’s talk about it!
Alexandra Kanik (@act_rational) is the Metrics Editor/Curator for MediaShift.