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#Tip: How to use BuzzSumo to monitor social analytics

August 18th, 2014 | No Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists
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Knowing which stories get the most attention from social media is a big step in finding out what type of content audiences want from a certain media outlet.

Sarah Marshall, social media editor EMEA at the Wall Street Journal, recently wrote about five ways she uses BuzzSumo, a free analytics tool for social.

Although BuzzSumo was not created specifically for journalists, it allows users to see who’s engaging with a particular article, who the influencers in a chosen field are, and much more.

The set of tools it brings to the table will, as Marshall wrote, make social media editors love it.

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#Tip: Check out Chartbeat Rising to see popular topics

October 31st, 2013 | No Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists


The people at news analytics tool Chartbeat have created a free tool to show what is popular and engaging around the web.

Called Chartbeat Rising, it tracks topics across the internet in real-time.

Chartbeat Rising looks at the number of active browser visits on a site at a given time. The site explains that the “concurrents” metric takes into account “how many people visit a site and how long they stick around”.

It explains that “engaged time” is “the length of time people spend reading or writing on a site — the time they’re actually spending using it — which we gauge based on mouse and keyboard activity”.

Content is anonymised and aggregated from thousands of sites.

There’s further explanation on the Charbeat blog, which explains that the tool came out of a hack week.

The blog post also explains the “wiggly movements”.

As Rising is all about the topics that are rising to the top, the movement shows how the bubbles are interacting with each other – the biggest bubbles with the highest ranks are wiggling their way around the other bubbles to rise to the top.

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#Podcast: Shining a light on ‘dark social’ and other mysterious analytics

September 13th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted by in Online Journalism, Podcast

Image by yezi9713 on Flickr. Some rights reserved

In this podcast we delve into the curious world of ‘dark social’ and other hard-to-track analytics.

The term dark social is used to describe traffic that appears to be ‘direct’ as there is no referrer, such as Facebook, Twitter or Google, listed.

It may come from people sharing articles on private social platforms, such links pasted into an instant message or shared by email.

But we also go beyond this and explore why some of this mystery traffic may not be dark social, but another sort of ‘dark’.

And finally, we are challenged on whether news outlets are making the most of analytics or are blindly mimicking Silicon Valley in being data-driven but without fully understanding how information should inform decisions.

We speak to:

  • Andrew Montalenti, co-founder and chief technology officer at analytics platform
  • Josh Schwartz, head of data science at real-time analytics platform Chartbeat
  • Joe Alicata, principal product owner at Chartbeat
  • Stijn Debrouwere, Knight-Mozilla fellow working at the Guardian

You can hear future podcasts by signing up to the iTunes feed.

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#Tip: Use for quick, free Twitter analytics

Image by petesimon on Flickr. Some rights reserved

Image by petesimon on Flickr. Some rights reserved

Some forms of web analytics can be over-complicated and over-priced, but, as recently highlighted by David Higgerson, is neither.

Giving a quick overview of historical statistics and recent trends for any Twitter account, is a quick and easy way for anyone to see a more detailed view of a Twitter handle and Higgerson gives some pointers on how this can best be used by journalists and editors in particular.

If you have a tip you would like to submit to us at email us using this link.
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#Tip: Take a look at engagement data for your own tweets

Image by shawncampbell on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Image by shawncampbell on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Keen to get a better understanding of how people are engaging with your social media activity, beyond spotting the odd retweet or favourite? Ever send a tweet out and wonder how many people clicked through to the relevant link? Well, as reported by The Next Web, users can now easily access these sorts of analytics via Twitter Ads. It is simple to do – as The Next Web outlines, and offers great insight into what happens after you send a tweet.

If you have a tip you would like to submit to us at email us using this link.
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#Podcast: How newsrooms are using social media analytics

Newsrooms work with social media data on a daily basis, from monitoring social shares via a tweet or Facebook share counter on article pages, to tracking how many people arrived at a story via social.

So in this week’s podcast we take a closer look at what data is available to journalists in the world of social media analytics, where they can find it, and what they should do with it once they have it.

The podcast hears from:

  • Richard Moynihan, social media and community manager, Metro
  • Michael Roston, staff editor, social media, New York Times
  • Amanda Zamora, senior engagement editor, ProPublica

You can hear future podcasts by signing up to the iTunes podcast feed.

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#Tip: Analytics tools for journalists

June 6th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists

At April’s International Journalism Festival in Perugia, Anthony De Rosa, who is currently social media editor at Reuters but will later this month join Circa as editor-in-chief, delivered a presentation on ‘the ROI of your reporting‘, which covered areas from engagement to money.

Within his presentation he also outlined a number of useful platforms journalists can use to calculate how their content is being consumed and shared. Take a look at the video below, filmed by the IJF, for De Rosa’s full presentation. To specifically hear his run through of the analytics tools start watching from 27 minutes in.

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#Tip of the day for journalists: Useful analytics tools

January 17th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists
Traffic Flickr ullrich.c

By ullrich.c on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

On the International Journalists’ Network Margaret Looney outlines four useful analytics tools journalists can use to dive into the detail about their content and audience, and measure web traffic and social activity.

If you have a tip you would like to submit to us at email us using this link.

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#PPAdigital: Paul Bradshaw’s five principles of data management

September 26th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Data, Events

At today’s PPA Digital Publishing Conference, Paul Bradshaw, publisher of the Online Journalism Blog, visiting professor at City University, London, and course leader for the MA in Online Journalism at Birmingham City University, talked about data both in terms of data journalism and data analytics.

He set out five principles of data management.

1. Data is only as good as the person asking questions

Bradshaw said that whether the data is from analytics and used for commercial purposes, or whether it’s editorial data and you are doing an investigation, “the key thing is to have questions to ask” of the data.

That should drive everything, rather than you being led by the data.

2. Data can save time and money

Bradshaw is frequently told that data journalism is resource-intensive or a publishing company does not feel it has resources “to do data stuff”.

But he argues that data saves time, does not have to cost money or rely on having a team of developers.

He explained that people he has trained find they learn computer techniques to do things that they previously did manually.

They might scrape websites very neatly into a spreadsheet, they may pull data from an analytics package into spreadsheet, they might visualise that dynamically – and that all saves time.

You might prepare for a big event by having spreadsheets set up or feeds set up or triggers.

3. Data is about people

There can be a danger of becoming “bogged down in the data”, Bradshaw warned. “But really stories are told about people and to people.”

He advises taking “a step back from that data” to find “the people that it is telling a story about”.

He said that in the case of data journalism, that is about finding case studies; in the case of analytics you can use the data to create profiles or pictures of the people who are using your site.

4. Good data is social, sticky and useful

“If data is going to be useful it needs to have a point, people need to be able to do something with it,” Bradshaw said.

People may share it socially, he explained. And it becomes “sticky” if it allows people to spend time exploring it.

5. You can be driven by the data or driven by the story

“Sometimes you are getting data passively and you are looking for stories in it, sometimes you are seeking out data because of the story or lead or question you have,” Bradshaw explained. And that comes back to his first point. “It’s really important to have questions” rather than to be “passively driven by the data”.

And Bradshaw demonstrated how his principles make “a lot more sense” when you replace the word ‘data’ with ‘journalism’.

  • Journalism is only as good as the person asking questions
  • Journalism can save time and money
  • Journalism is about people
  • Good journalism is social, sticky and useful
  • You can be driven in journalism by the source or driven by the story

Listen below to hear audio of Paul Bradshaw setting out his five principles of data management:

Paul Bradshaw leads data journalism courses for The next course is on 5 December. There are details at this link.


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#MarketBriefing: How audience measurement has increased digital revenues for Incisive Media

B2B publisher Incisive Media’s improved understanding of analytics has resulted in an increase in digital revenue and profit over the past two years, according to Jon Bentley, head of online commercial development.

Bentley told a conference on ‘audience revenue tools for online publishers’ today that Incisive has achieved an average of 10.34 minutes “dwell time” on its “gated” paid subscription sites, when the average dwell time is  7.55 minutes, according to analysis by AOP.

So what does Incisive do differently?

It measures analytics closely, both for subscription sites and those which do not require readers to pay, Bentley explained. In an introduction to the event, Patrick Smith, editor and chief analyst of had put forward this idea saying:

It’s only through the measurement and analytics that you realise who might pay and why they might pay.

Incisive uses Web Analytics and Google Analytics and is starting to talk to Scout Analytics. Bentley detailed what Incisive has done over the past two years to improve the understanding of the audience:

  • It has improved governance and reviewed all analytics.
  • Defined and re-defined the business needs. It has done this by talking to people within the publishing business.
  • Incisive re-wrote its tagging strategy, technically categorising content types.
  • Integrated digital and offline data, merging email and web databases.
  • Developed communications.
  • Set up regular reviews.

The monthly analytics review “clinics”, which feature those from the web, commercial and editorial teams sitting round a table, are “probably the most successful thing we’ve done”, Bentley added.

As well as looking at unique users, page impressions, visits, active email addresses, – which are “one of the most valuable indicators you have” – Incisive also focuses on the sell-through rate, which “is one of the key indicators for revenue”.

Bentley echoed Patrick Smith who said earlier that “the measure of success is no longer about reach”.

It matters but who readers are and what they do is just as important.

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