Analytics stoplights for Belo’s TV stations

My second of two posts this week on using web analytics (read the first one here) comes by way of a recommendation from Mark Briggs. He told me about this “total brainiac engagement person” at Belo, the company that owns the TV station Mark now works for.

So I called Belinda Baldwin, the director of audience development for Belo. Belinda’s goal is to take the metric reports that her department creates for all Belo owned and operated TV stations, and make it understandable for newsrooms. Not just understandable, but meaningful and actionable.

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Check the analytics: Your users are talking to you

During my fellowship year, I hope to not only figure out what engagement is but start to chip away at how we as journalists know if we’re achieving it.

Measuring presents plenty of challenges, not the least of which is assessing qualitative, not just quantitative, factors. How can I “measure” user comments? (Definitely not just by number.) How can I “measure” in-person conversations? How can I “measure” listening?

There are some things, though, that we can measure. I’ve written just a bit about social media analytics. I’m going to expand the analytics conversation here, based on what I’ve learned from some smart people.

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Using social media analytics to measure “engagement”

Read Write Web yesterday published the results of a fascinating analysis of news outlets’ social media efforts. Adam Sherk used an API from an analytics company called PostRank to take a look at how news organizations’ traffic compares to their engagement. He came up with an “engagement per unique visitor” ranking. The results are interesting (at the top of the list, by a wide margin, is The Guardian, followed by Slate and The New York Times). But what’s more applicable to the work I’m doing this year is the measurement tool itself.

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