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10 Charts That Are Changing the Way We Measure Content

1.No one is looking at your native ads.
via Re/Code

This one’s a doozy. But as Rahm Emanuel famously said following the financial industry collapse, “A crisis is a terrible thing to waste.” As a whole, brand publishers are still beginners at telling stories. It’s their version of the “taste gap” Ira Glass talks about when you are first starting out in media publishing. The 47-point disparity above should be seen as a wake up call. Readers are still finding a lot of branded content wanting, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t get better or that there aren’t success stories out there.

2. What we engage with can’t be measured just with shares or clicks.

Tony Haile’s number one point in his Time piece (and the foundation of his business, Chartbeat) is this: To understand your readers, you need to measure how much time they spend with your content. Chartbeat has access to a huge dataset from its publishers network. They came away with the stat above, which found, quite simply, that “most people who click don’t read.”

And as you’ll see in the chart below, Haile came to the same conclusion about shares; in the aggregate of the Web, there’s not much correlation between sharing a story and actually reading it. In other words, sharing is triggered by an entirely different neurological chemistry. More on that later.


3. Counter: What we read can sometimes be measured with shares.

As a counterpoint, Buzzfeed’s Jonah Peretti took to Twitter to note that Buzzfeed readers are indeed reading the stories they share, as you’ll see in the chart below.


4. More data ≠ better measurement. But you can blend metrics.

Over at Medium, Pete Davies laid out how Medium measures content, emphasizing the importance of precision in today’s “big data” metrics deluge. Medium starts with a ton of data, then slices it down to score it:

“We measure every user interaction with every post. Most of this is done by periodically recording scroll positions. We pipe this data into our data warehouse, where offline processing aggregates the time spent reading (or our best guess of it): we infer when a reader started reading, when they paused, and when they stopped altogether. The methodology allows us to correct for periods of inactivity (such as having a post open in a different tab, walking the dog, or checking your phone).”

5. Advanced content metrics even matter to Upworthy, the royal highness of A|B testing and headline writing

Upworthy, which made one of the fastest rises to prominence in the history of media last year, said it is introducing a new metric for quantifying its content, too: Attention Minutes. Attention Minutes is a blended metric, which incorporates views, shares and the total time readers spend viewing or reading a piece. Upworthy explained its decision in a blog post:

“We love thinking this way because it rewards us for sharing content that people really enjoy and find valuable — not just stuff they click on a lot. It may mean that we don’t do quite as well on uniques or pageviews, but that’s a tradeoff we’re happy to make because this is a metric focused on real user satisfaction.”

6. When measuring content, you have to remember that attention matters.

Brian Abelson, a data scientist at Enigma.io and the impresario behind CSV Soundsystem, spend 2013 at The New York Times as an OpenNews fellow studying the venerated publication’s web data. As the above chart shows, promotion really matters for New York Times stories.

The idea that articles are purely organic, free-floating atomic entities that surface in people’s feeds without any input from promotional tools just did not hold up under his analysis. When articles were put on NYTimes.com or tweeted out from a social media handle, those articles were more likely to reach a lot of people. It seems intuitive, but it’s an important reminder and one of the most comprehensive analyses to date.

7. Clickbait keywords don’t result in reads.

In an earlier post, Chartbeat dove into what people are clicking vs. what people are reading. Unsurprisingly, people are clicking things that sound enticing: what’s big, what’s best, what’s the top, what makes you rich. A lot of those stories don’t live up to the hype, though, and readers move on quickly (likely with a bad taste in their mouths). Instead, readers prefer content that’s substantial and emotionally resonant, as evident by the meaty keywords that trigger the most reads.

8. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, Buzzfeed’s new quizzes are the runaway winner of 2014.

Some think it’s a sign of the apocalypse, but thus far, BuzzFeed’s quizzes are the runway winner for top overall content format of 2014 — at least in terms of engagement. Most of their quizzes garner over a million pageviews. Some have over 40 million shares! That’s no different for their sponsor partners. The above metrics from “How Would You Die in Game of Thrones?” shows the quiz getting over 266,000 total engagement points on Facebook alone. The quiz also has over million views.

9. Specific emotions trigger the most intense sharing responses.

The above graphic, from Fractl’s study of what types of content people share, shows which specific emotional responses correlate with high levels of sharing. The bright sunbursts show the emotions that have the biggest impact.

10. Triggering both the emotional and rational parts of the brain is the holy grail of content success.

The same FastCompany article presented a study from IPA Databank about how emotion impacts campaign effectiveness. The article ultimately found that when rational content is enhanced with emotional appeal, that content performs about 70 percent better. As we wrote about on The Strategist, appealing to multiple thinking styles tends to boost content performance.

Is there anything you think we should add? Let us know @milwaukeesocial.


What Can We Learn From a Negative Customer Interaction?

What follows is a guest post about a topic I frequently get asked about: What can we learn from a negative customer interaction. It’s very helpful and something you can use in your small business right away.

Every business has negative customer interactions at some point.

There is no possible way to make every person happy all of the time. No matter how hard you try to make all of your customers happy, someone will eventually have a problem with your product or your service.

The negative interaction can be a learning moment for you and your employees. Every negative interaction can teach business owners something, including:

What’s Wrong With a Product

If customers are complaining about a product, then it is time to check it out.

More than three or four bad reviews of a product or service means there is something wrong somewhere. Even if your product is perfect, there could have been a few made with defects.

Take the time to investigate and replace the product or refund the customer’s money. Be polite and understand that like you, your customers expect to receive a quality product for their money.

Identifying a problem in the service can be a little more difficult.

This isn’t to say that you can’t find the problem. The difficulty can come in when it is an employee causing the problem.

You can speak with the staff member, but if many complaints keep coming in you will need to make a decision – fire the employee or place them in a non-customer service position.

Improve Customer Service

Customer service is important because you will interact with your customers on a personal level.

Customers are the lifeblood of a business. Without them and their flow of income to your company – your company dies.

When negative interactions happen, think on how you can improve your approach with the next customer. Every interaction should give you the tools to deal with the next customer.

Perhaps you deal with a very angry customer.

During your interaction the customer becomes happy with a solution you offer and calms down.

Use the same tactic with the next negative customer if the situation is applicable. If not, try a different, but similar tactic. You will always be able to use calming tactics with all irate customers.

Of course, not every customer can be calmed, but if you make the effort you will find out which customer will become a happier one.

Social Gaffes

Negative reviews on social networks can be devastating for a business.

Everyone has heard of the insane mistakes some company owners have made when dealing with negative reviews. If you receive negative reviews on your social network account, don’t become super defensive. Instead, take time to offer a solution to the customers.

Don’t suggest that they use your website’s customer support email – so many companies never answer or are rude. Give a direct answer on your social account, but never get into an argument. Keep it civil and always be professional.

Negative interactions can be used to improve your business as long as you react correctly.

Keep calm, keep cool, and remember that the customer is always right (well, most of the time).

About the Author: Tina Samuels writes on ripoff report advice, social media, small business topics, and home improvement.

5 Keys to Leadership Greatness

I am pleased to share with you this wonderful guest post on leadership from K’Lee, thank you for sharing your insights.

If leadership matters to you, and you want your employees and colleagues to respect you, there are specific steps you can take to be a great leader.

Assortment of different antique keys

5 Keys to Leadership Greatness

One of the greatest attributes for a leader is the ability to communicate, and communication actually encompasses these five keys for leadership greatness:

  1. Listening.  Acquiring effective listening skills is one of the best ways to demonstrate leadership greatness, and is the complement to communication. It’s essential for a boss to demonstrate genuine caring about things that matter to his or her employees. One of the issues that is often of greatest importance to employees is their benefits, so a caring boss and leader will ensure that his employees have the best benefits reasonably affordable for the company. A good boss will also seek out and listen to feedback from his or her employees
  2. Relationship building.  When you have to work with people, it’s important to build good relationships with them. The wise boss will recognize and accentuate his employees’ strengths, and do all he or she can to empower employees, while establishing trusting, appropriate relationships with them. A leader will also recognize what employees don’t say–read between the lines–in order to exercise empathy with his or her employees.
  3. Goal setting.  A leader also knows how to inspire action, as well as communicate the vision of the company. A savvy boss will set achievable goals in line with the vision and then guide his or her employees on the path to reaching or surpassing those goals. When the employees help the company reach goals, the boss should recognize their achievement and appropriately reward them and celebrate the victory together.
  4. Delegating.  Even if a boss could do it all, it’s far better to delegate key tasks to those employees most capable of performing them.  Then, after a boss delegates tasks to the right employees, he or she should resist the impulse to micromanage them. In addition, delegation models good time management, serves as a way to pool the strengths of others, and encourages teamwork.
  5. Inspiring trust.  It is essential that employees be able to trust their boss, manager, or other people in leadership roles.  The wise boss will take steps to be honest and real with his or her employees, follow through with stated plans, and never place employees in a situation that causes them to experience undue stress, humiliation, a lack of appreciation, or a sense of failure. A leader will also recognize the importance of communicating with employees at the organizational level, rather than through so-called “corporate speak” that tend to have the effect of making employees feel intimidated or devalued.

How Many Keys Do You Hold?

Once you figure out what leadership keys you hold, the next step is to implement them to unlock the greater success that awaits you and your business. It doesn’t matter how many leadership skills you have if you don’t use them properly.

It is quite likely that behind every great leader is a team of great employees. Seek to be that leader.


About the author:  Among her volume of business articles, K’Lee Banks has covered a wide range of topics that include the value of empathetic leadership and online reputation.