Numbers and graphs can be hard to look at and harder to analyze when you’re not familiar with them. So, study for your next math quiz.
Journalists use math every day. They weed out the flaws in city budgets. They determine who’s the most efficient running back in the conference. Beyond that, newsroom leaders are analyzing data to target and improve readership. Online, that means Google Analytics, a platform enabled for all SNO customers that allows you to know who’s visiting your site, how many hits you’re getting and what your most popular stories are. And that’s just the basic info.
Maybe you’re already using this. Maybe you’ve never heard of Google Analytics, didn’t know you had it or don’t know how to use it. Well, here’s a refresher.
As a SNO customer, you have access to Google Analytics. “I don’t think I do.” OK. Check out this article to learn how to get access. You should also be receiving weekly email updates from Google — or maybe you were, but they stopped. If you or someone from your staff needs your email subscription renewed, just let us know. But the email reports are basic. There’s so much more information available to you by pulling up the analytics directly.
Now that you’re in, we’ve outlined three main areas for you to pay attention to. This will get you on the fast track for understanding all this jibberish. The sections of note are called Audience, Acquisition, and Behavior — all of which can be found under Reporting.
Audience is your audience. Duh! Click on Audience Overview to view the most helpful stats — number of users and pageviews in any given time period. Are most of your devoted readers mobile users? Are your visitors brand new or returning? The Audience section will tell you.
Acquisition displays how readers are getting to your site. Common ways they get to you are by direct traffic (knowing your URL by heart), organic search (Googling you), referral from another site and social media links. Through this, you can key in on where you should be focusing most of your promotion (more Tweets!).
Behavior breaks down the behavior of your readers. Which stories are people reading most? Which pages are they clicking on? What kind of content is getting the most attention? Maybe there’s a ton of attention on sports stories, despite you covering very little of it. Well then, you should probably do more. The great thing about the Behavior section is that you can determine what your readers care about and break down that information within time frames.
Finally, if Google Analytics just isn’t for you, we’ve got a cool feature living within your site’s dashboard — Insights.
Once linked to your Google Analytics email account, you’ll be able to view easy-to-read reporters right from your dashboard. You’ll also be able to display the Trending Stories widget, based on Google Analytics data.
It’s cool to know what’s happening on your site — what’s working, what’s not and what your audience is begging for. Use these numbers and graphs to your advantage, and then watch that web traffic rise.
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