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#Tip: See these stats on news site traffic from social media

Image by Thinkstock

Image by Thinkstock

The people at analytics platform Chartbeat have published a revealing study on social traffic to news sites.

I suggest you read the full post, but I am going to pull out a few key stats and points:

  • Overall, about 26 per cent of traffic we measure comes from social sources – Facebook, Twitter, and email, for example – making social the second most significant source of traffic.
  • Social sources are a better than average source of new visitors: while an average of 31 per cent of a site’s traffic comes from new visitors, an average of 41 per cent of social visitors are new.
  • Social traffic is also dramatically more mobile-based than all other traffic — an average of 25 per cent of traffic is on mobile, but on many sites over 40 per cent of social traffic is mobile.

There is a section of the post which addresses when to post to social (based on EST times). It is worth seeing the figures displayed in a graph in the post.

  • Social traffic substantially underperforms overall traffic from about 5am to noon, and social substantially overperforms overall traffic from about 3pm until 1am.

Twitter timing is also separated out:

  • Posting to Twitter is strong all morning and reaches its peak just before noon, even though traffic from social is actually its strongest later in the day.

The study also looks at return visitors:

  • About 82 per cent of visitors who come from social only come once, but there’s a long tail of people who come two or more times.

And as the post states, it is worth investing time in social:

Social is also categorically different than other sources of traffic because it’s the only channel that’s easily influenced — while converting visitors to come directly to your homepage is an art and affecting search engine placement leaves much to chance, we can actively choose which articles we put on social media and when to provide those links.


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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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#jpod – How web analytics can provide story leads and new angles

May 11th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Podcast, Search

Analytics can give you much more information than just your number of readers. Delve deeper and analytics can also lead to news stories and help shape editorial angles as a story unfolds.

In this week’s podcast Sarah Marshall,’s technology correspondent, speaks to:

  • Laura Amico, who set up Washington DC-based Homicide Watch. Laura explains how she gets news stories by looking at the different terms people are searching for.
  • Tony Haile, CEO of Chartbeat, a real-time analytics company used by major publishers including Al Jazeera and the New York Times. Tony gives examples of how news organisations respond to what audiences are reading.

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

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