Reporting is not enough

A great article came out today in INMA entitled, “Industry metrics: Is it time to say goodbye to the pageview?”.

In it, the authors write:

Reporting is sufficient for showing whether or not we had a good month, but not insightful enough to tell us what we were doing right, where we went wrong, and what we might replicate and discard to perform better in the next reporting period.

Relying exclusively on the pageview — an important and dominant metric in online media — leads to some startling conclusions.

The problem with pageviews is that they are a lagging indicator and the lowest common denominator metric. Our experience suggests that the only reliable method for increasing pageviews is reporting on murder, mayhem, and scandal. It’s simple. Pageviews go up when something bad happens. Unless your reporters want to make a career out of late-night arson, you’ll want a way to even out the demand for your product.

This is an important conflict. There’s a difference between content that draws in the most users, and content that makes waves in the media narrative, re-inforces a positive association with your site, and puts a spotlight on your brand. Originality may not draw the most pageviews, but it may draw the most important pageviews.

The article lays out a theory for how to segment users based on “top”, “middle”, and “bottom” of funnel. This is a funnel of one-time visitors thru paid subscribers / brand champions.

The authors write:

The goal is to move people from the top to the middle of the funnel — to increase the size of the loyal, engaged audience over time. This is not about getting a one-time boost in visits or pageviews. Achieving this takes a combination of on-site marketing along with some additional filters.

Read the full article for more good nuggets.

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