MetricShift Survey: Newsroom Leaders’ Top Priority Is Audience Growth

    by Jason Alcorn
    February 20, 2018
    Credit: Peter Dazeley/Getty Images

    What does the media metrics profession look like in 2018? How are editors and other newsroom leaders responding to seismic shifts in how audiences are built? In how audiences translate to revenue to pay for reporting?

    As we’ve done the last two years, we surveyed our readers here on MetricShift. We learned what you do and what you want to learn this year. We also learned some of the ways that metrics are evolving as metrics professionals are moving up the newsroom masthead.

    Your top priority? Audience growth, followed by impact measurement. Here are six more highlights from the 2018 MetricShift reader survey.


    Metrics matter to senior newsroom leaders

    Question: Where are you in the org chart?

    A majority of MetricShift readers hold senior positions in their newsrooms. That points to something we wrote a lot about last year: the increasing responsibility of many who started their careers in social media and have carried an analytics mindset with them as they have moved up.


    Audience growth is again your top priority

    Question: What analytics topics will be most important for you in 2018?

    Audience growth is a priority for more than 7 in ten MetricShift readers. A close second is impact measurement. These are two of the topics we will be writing about regularly in 2018. And as we have written in the past, they are related. Showing impact is a differentiator for news organizations that can actually help drive audience growth.

    At the bottom end of things, just over a quarter of readers say that video metrics will be important in 2018. To me that says video isn’t going anywhere. It will remain a priority for outlets who are heavily invested, but widespread investment in video may be slowing.

    Wider adoption of metrics

    Our survey found a wider adoption of metrics in newsrooms compared to previous years. Compared to our 2017 survey, more readers and organizations have access to analytics, measure analytics and make decisions based on that data.

    We also asked what metrics readers tracked and grouped the most popular ones. Here are the top 10:

    1.  Page views
    2.  Time spent
    3.  Unique visitors
    4.  Referrals
    5.  Clicks/CTR
    6.  Engagement metrics
    7.  Google Analytics
    8.  Social media metrics
    9.  Video views
    10. Ad metrics

    Impact tracking still lags behind audience analytics

    The gap between newsrooms that measure audience analytics and those that track impact is shrinking. In this year’s survey, more than 56 percent of readers say they track their newsroom’s impact on the their audience. But that figure still falls well short of the number of newsrooms — more than three-quarters — that measure audience analytics.

    Analytics coverage needs more in-depth stories

    Question: What gaps do you see in analytics coverage today?

    What gaps do our readers see in analytics coverage? The biggest gap is that there’s not enough actionable advice out there. I take this to mean that we see a lot of the same stories being written about common challenges, but media metrics professionals need more coverage of solutions and guides to solving those challenges. Related to that, nearly 40 percent of readers said there are too many analytics tools, with not enough information about them. Stay tuned on that front.

    Readers specifically asked for more in-depth stories from MetricShift. We’ll be taking that into account as we plan our coverage going forward.

    What can MetricShift do for you?

    Question: How useful are these features around metrics provided by MediaShift?

    Once again, 60 percent of readers said MetricShift is helping them understand measurement and impact better, and we’re very glad to hear that. Nearly an equal number said MetricShift provided information they could share with colleagues and management. We see both of these questions as really important measures of our own success… so thank you!

    You told us that our weekly Media Metrics newsletter and case studies are especially helpful. (In the chart above, lower is better and one means extremely helpful.) Sign up here if you’re not yet subscribed to the newsletter, which I write and send out every Wednesday.

    Once again, thank you to all our readers who filled out our survey. We look forward to another exciting year of media metrics with you!

    Ivan Lajara

    We have a winner!

    We picked a random respondent to our survey to win an Amazon Echo Plus, and the winner this year is Ivan Lajara, who is the life, audience, social and digital editor with Daily Freeman (NY) and Digital First Media. Congratulations to Ivan!

    Jason Alcorn (@jasonalcorn) is the Metrics Editor for MediaShift. In addition to his work with MediaShift, he works as a consultant with non-profits and newsrooms.

    Tagged: audience growth impact metricshift survey
  • MediaShift received funding from the Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC), which receives support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to launch the MetricShift section to create a vibrant hub for those interested in media metrics, analytics and measuring deeper impact.

    About MetricShift

    MetricShift examines the ways we can use meaningful metrics in the digital age. We provide thoughtful, actionable content on metrics, analytics and measuring impact through original reporting, aggregation, and audience engagement and community.

    Executive Editor: Mark Glaser

    Metrics Editor: Jason Alcorn

    Reader Advisory Board

    Chair: Anika Anand, The Evergrey

    Brian Boyer, Spirited Media

    Clare Carr, Parse.ly

    Anjanette Delgado, Gannett

    Hannah Eaves, consultant, Gates Foundation

    Alexandra Kanik, Ohio Valley Resource

    Ian Gibbs, Data Stories

    Lindsay Green-Barber, The Impact Architects

    Celeste LeCompte, ProPublica

    Alisa Miller, PRI

    Connect with MetricShift

    Facebook group: Metrics & Impact

    Twitter: #MetricShift

    Email: jason [at] jasalc [dot] com

  • Who We Are

    MediaShift is the premier destination for insight and analysis at the intersection of media and technology. The MediaShift network includes MediaShift, EducationShift, MetricShift and Idea Lab, as well as workshops and weekend hackathons, email newsletters, a weekly podcast and a series of DigitalEd online trainings.

    About MediaShift »
    Contact us »
    Sponsor MediaShift »
    MediaShift Newsletters »

    Follow us on Social Media