“Any fool can know. The point is to understand”.
Albert Einstein coined this insightful phrase more than a century ago. Today it is still as valid. Even when it comes to online media publishers and their relationship with data.
With more and more industries adopting AI and automation methodologies, data is becoming an increasingly valuable resource. When it comes to online media publishers, content-related data and analytical insights are perhaps the most important assets that are now driving business growth.
The Mighty Morphing Publishing Landscape
The online media publishing industry is decades old but is constantly changing. Among the drivers for change are the ever-evolving consumer profile, the mobile revolution and data privacy regulations. This is constantly forcing publishers to revise and remodel their strategy without impairing their revenue streams.
One “asteroid jolt” was the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which took effect in 2018 and changed the nature of media publishing forever. Data processing, user consent, and security breaches took center stage, with publishers becoming increasingly liable (and punishable) for any type of infringement.
The impending death of the third-party cookie is another potential game changer. However, as tragic as that may be, one man’s disaster is another man’s opportunity. For publishers, the demise of third-party data will bring content analytics to the forefront. As a matter of fact, it’s already happening.
Actionable data is going to become an indispensable commodity very soon. That is, if publishers can measure, package, and make it readily available for all sides involved. All while maintaining compliance with data protection laws.
To do so, they need the right tools and Google Analytics alone is not enough.
6 Benefits of Publisher Content Analytics
Many online media publishers are happy measuring only pageviews and standards “dry” statistics. While these are still important metrics, there are many other factors that need to be considered. The goal is to create the optimal user experience and form a loyal group of followers with minimal churn or burnout.
1. Stay Ahead of Your Competition
Today’s audience is spoiled when it comes to content and media consumption. Not only are their tastes and preferences diversified across a wide spectrum, they are also constantly changing. The traditional monitoring methods are too slow in detecting such changes.
Today’s top Publisher Content Analytics platforms provide real-time information in an easy-to-read dashboard for faster reaction times.
2. Localize Content
The internet has erased all boundaries today. A single publication can be viewed by users from dozens of countries at the same time. With users, come local advertisers. Are you prepared for this kind of onslaught?
Content Analytics solutions help publishers localize and customize their content based on the locations of their target audiences.
3. Optimize User Engagement
Getting eyes to your digital assets is just the first step towards building a loyal audience and making a mark in the publishing space. You will need to run an effective editorial team and find the right freelancers to get the job done consistently. Having good instincts and relying on hunches just isn’t enough.
Tracking engagement goes beyond measuring visits and bounce rates. It involves different metrics like scroll depth and time-on-page.
4. Identify User Behavior
Some analytics tools have heat maps or other ways to show what sections of the page or app the user interacts with most. This helps identify the areas where visitors click on the page or the spots to promote editorial content. Based on this data, you can A/B test and optimize user flows and UX.
5. Maximize Content ROI
Creating interesting and compelling content is great, but you will also need to distribute it across multiple channels to maximize your ROI. Being able to track engagement sliced by audience segments means you can compare what content performs and where.
Content analytics help you refine your content distribution strategies and create a responsive strategy that can be tweaked seamlessly when needed.
In other words, having more data on “what works” with the consumers can be the difference between making or breaking a publishing business.
6. Improve Partner & Channel Tracking
One of the major issues publishers face is with attribution. Traffic comes from a myriad of different channels: organic, social, affiliates, referrals, UGC, paid campaigns, and more, which makes attribution difficult as is preventing ad fraud. This is also where a good analytics solution can help you stay on top of your marketing efforts and properly attribute your success, or lack there of, to the right marketing channels.
Top 5 Content Analytics Solutions for Digital Publishers
As explained earlier in the article, Content Analytics is on the rise. This also applies to Content Analysis solutions, which makes it important to make sure the selected one is indeed allowing you to tackle multiple issues in one place. Here are the top 5 Content Analytics solutions money can buy today.
Founded all the way back in 2009, Chartbeat is a suite of Content Analytics tools for online media publishers. It aims to let you easily track reader engagement on your site and optimize your user experience in real-time. All while sharing key performance and business metrics with relevant people.
Though this solution helps analyze geographical targets, gives actionable insights about top pages, highlights trends, and provides real-time information, there have been some negative reviews. Customers have shown disappointment with occasional performance issues (technical hiccups) and subpar customer service.
Strengths: Comprehensive Solution, Good Integration Capabilities
Weaknesses: Not Ideal for Small Publishers, Can Be Pricey for Many
The Chartbeat Dashboard. Courtesy: Chartbeat
The NativeAI Content Analytics solution is built on a mixture of Web Analytics with all the usual metrics. These include visits, channels, engagement, user locations, etc. Natural Language Processing (NLP), Semantic Analysis, and Machine Learning algorithms are employed to help publishers improve their offerings.
Developed by News360, NativeAI offers a deep understanding of audience content interests and consumption behaviors. It can help refine editorial strategy and increase audience acquisition and retention significantly. The NativeAI tag is very efficient and loads asynchronously.
Strengths: Quick Installation and Implementation, Good for All Publisher Sizes
Weaknesses: Proprietary Scoring System May Not Suit Everybody
Parse.ly is a Content Analytics suite that helps the best sites on the web improve digital audience engagement. It’s used by a number of prominent brands like Slate, Conde Nast, and HuffPost.
While this platform’s success and track record speak for itself, the reporting system is somewhat complex to use.
Strengths: Strong Customer Support, Lots of Features, Customizable
Weaknesses: Better for Experienced Professionals
The IO Technologies solution helps measure the quality and performance of your content from multiple channels, platforms and devices on one screen. It ingests and turns large chunks of data into actionable insights that can be visualized and shared with editors and other relevant stakeholders.
Based in Ukraine, this relatively new company (founded in 2015) is gaining traction quickly in the online media publishing space.
Strengths: Rich Suite of Features, Strong Customer Service
Weaknesses: Pricey Despite Free Trial
Content Insights operates on a proprietary algorithm called CPI (Content Performance Indicator). It collects all the relevant data from your domain and traffic referral sources, then examines the relations between various performance metrics to produce actionable data.
Content Insights aligns with different business models and can work for you regardless of your reliance on subscriptions, ads or native advertising.
Strengths: Good Pre and Post Sale Support, Strong Reporting Capabilities
Weaknesses: Better Suited to Content (Text)
The online publishing space is becoming increasingly crowded and everyone’s competing for a relatively finite set of eyes. A strong Publisher Content Analytics platform can provide you with the insights you need to grow your business and give your users an experience to keep them coming back.
Also, the aforementioned list is in no way exhaustive, so please feel free to chip in with other content analytics solutions that publishers should consider today.
Eyal Katz is head of marketing at Pangeo. Eyal also likes long walks on the beach at sunset, having a cocktail with friends, and listening to Swedish Death Metal