Close

Copyright © RebelMouse 2019

Follow Us:

The Right Metrics for Measuring Audience Growth

When we think of audience growth, we tend to latch on to metrics that we believe will give us a good indication of a website's performance. However, this is typically done without isolating variables, which leaves takeaways hard to find.

I've heard from countless clients that it's great to have data in front of you, but what to do with it escapes them. And that underscores the problems with the concept of data itself. Your data set is not a roadmap, it's a set of gauges. In order to know what you should do with your data, it's important to know what each data point really means and why you're treating it as a key performance indicator (KPI).


I know this sounds obvious, but there are plenty of misunderstandings of common metrics which, unfortunately, lead to focusing on the wrong things. We must learn to interpret our data properly before we can know what decisions to make from it. To do this, we need to realize that all metrics are not the same and some are affected by unforeseen or hidden variables more than others.

Focus on User-Based Metrics

A good majority of the 'standard' metrics are session-based, but a 'session' is the wrong baseline. It's more useful to analyze and track user-based metrics instead because session-based metrics can be somewhat misleading in the context of audience growth. After all, we're trying to measure KPIs that are based on the habits of people (users), not fragments of what they do (sessions).

For example, let's say a single user comes to your site three times today and their visits looked like this:

  • Session #1: Reads one page, leaves.
  • Session #2: Reads two pages, leaves.
  • Session #3: Reads one page, leaves.

The 'Pages per Session' metric for this user would be 1.33, but that doesn't tell the whole story. The 'Pages per User' would be 4.00. The session didn't read the pages, the person did, and they read four.

As a publisher, this is a critical distinction when it comes to measuring engagement and loyalty. It really doesn't matter if a user reads four articles across three sessions (1.33 pages per session) They still read four articles, which is more valuable than a user that reads two articles in one session (2.00 pages per session) and never comes back. In this case, the session-based metric rewards the weaker overall user.

It's also worth noting that in our example above, two of those visits would be counted as bounced sessions, for a bounce rate of 66%. This doesn't paint a useful picture of what makes a valuable consumer of your content. The frequency of visits gets lost in the equation when you take a metric like bounce rate and apply it with a broad brush. By relying on session-based metrics, we're diluting the actionable insights that we can gain from our data. Wherever possible, we should be using our visitors as the starting point instead.

Creating Better KPIs for Audience Growth

Luckily, there's an opportunity to customize metrics within tools like Google Analytics and Google Data Studio so we can drill down to what is actually meaningful for publishers. Here are a few of the metrics we standardize on:

Sessions / User: This metric measures the average number of sessions that each user has in a given time period, and provides a visit frequency metric on a user basis.

Pages / User: This metric measures the average number of pageviews that each user has in a given time period. This can be used in place of 'Pages per Session.'

Time / User: This metric measures the average amount of time spent on your site by each user. This can be used in place of 'Avg. Time on Page' or 'Avg. Session Time,' and provides a more defined view of how long each user is spending on your page/site.

Used together, these custom metrics help define the core behavior of a site's user base. For publishers, 'Pageviews' are largely article views, so these metrics answer three critical questions:

  1. Frequency: How often are users coming to our site?
  2. Depth: How many articles does each user consume?
  3. Duration: How long is each user staying on the site?

By focusing on these three metrics as your KPIs, you're putting audience growth at the forefront of your data analysis efforts and setting yourself up for long-term success.

We Can Grow Together

We have a lot of mantras at RebelMouse. One of them is "Take big data and make it little again." We live close to our clients' insights so we can help them track trends, victories, and even pitfalls. Then, we distill this data to help content creators adjust their digital strategy in a way that actually moves the needle. Our global team is well-versed in every audience-building discipline, and our guidance is backed and tested against mountains of data we've collected over the years. Publishers have enough to juggle in the current digital climate. Let's focus on the right metrics together and cut out the noise. Request a proposal today to get started.

You're almost there! Fill out the form below and a Rebel will contact you within one business day.

x

Meet RebelMouse

Build on a better platform that supports far-reaching content distribution, impactful conversion, and unparalleled loyalty.

The world's largest companies trust us to power their global, multiplatform content experience. As a platform, we're now one of the largest in the world, reaching 50+ million people every month. As a creative agency, we build mass pop culture hits that grow organically to become household names — Axios and The Dodo, for example.

We work strategically with United Airlines and many other brands to establish the new media roadmap for their future and implement it. RebelMouse was founded by the CTO who built The Huffington Post. The founding vision and mission is still the same today: to be the right new media platform for both media companies and brands. It's working exceedingly well, and we're delivering some staggering results for our clients.

Read our latest deck here!

Keep reading...

How to Add an Authors Element to Search

If you have a community of creators contributing to your site, it can be helpful for users to search for articles by a particular author. By default, if a user searches for the name "Rachel Williams," the results will pull up stories about Rachel Williams instead of the author profile of Rachel Williams. There's an easy way to change this behavior in our Layout & Design tool. Here's how.

Keep reading...

New: Seamless Site Design With Global Styles

Keep your site's aesthetic consistent with one-click Global Styles

Site design should be seamless, which is why we obsess over creating a CMS experience that's intuitive and user-friendly. At RebelMouse, we believe that a site's look and feel should be part of the everyday workflow, and it should never distract developers or site contributors from their daily tasks.

This is why we've recently rolled out Global Styles in our Layout & Design tool. Users now have the ability to override styles by creating their own preferences in Global Settings that can then be applied to other pages en masse.

Users can create custom styles for any element, and then use those styles in other layouts by selecting them from a drop-down menu in one streamlined motion:

Keep reading...

How to Add YouTube Feeds via RSS

Easily add videos to your articles on RebelMouse

Since YouTube is one of the most popular social networks around, it's likely you'll want to add a YouTube channel's feed to your site at some point. Additionally, you may want to add a YouTube playlist to your site. Both options are possible on RebelMouse thanks to RSS Feeds. Here's how it works.

Keep reading...

Update: “Show Less” Function Removed From Layout & Design Tool

This new change helps improve the infinite scroll experience

As a RebelMouse client, you're likely familiar with our Social UX for Media layout, which includes an infinite scroll design that allows users to expand and collapse articles as they consume content.

To improve this experience, we've removed the "Show Less" function, which previously collapsed lead media, post, and/or post content elements in our Layout & Design tool. Now, if you uncheck Show Full Post Body, the "Show More" function will be enabled and the "Show Less" function will no longer be available.

Keep reading...

You're almost there! Fill out the form below and a Rebel will contact you within one business day.

x

RebelMouse CEO: Reimagining Diversity “Starts in the Office”

Why women, minorities, and the LGBTQ+ community will restructure workplace norms

Entering a new decade means a new opportunity to change how we approach diversity. In a joint interview alongside Leanne Pittsford of Lesbians Who Tech, RebelMouse founder and CEO Andrea Breanna said that the only way to fight patriarchal dominance is to encourage and nurture more women, minorities, and members of the LGBTQ+ community in the workplace, particularly in tech.

Over half of RebelMouse's employees are women or identify as LGBTQ. Read our full diversity and inclusion report here.

Check out the full video below.

Related Articles

Mailchimp Free Users: You May Need to Upgrade Under New Pricing Plan

Features previously available in Mailchimp's Free plan have changed

Mailchimp has recently updated their pricing structure, and template customization features that were originally supported in the Free plan have been moved to the Standard plan.

The change means that any Free users will need to upgrade to the Standard plan that currently costs $14.99 per month. Beyond template customization, the following RebelMouse features will also no longer be available if you're using their Free plan:

  • Sending emails using Discovery
  • The ability to send daily and weekly newsletters
  • Turning a post into a newsletter using Entry Editor

While it may be an inconvenience to upgrade your Mailchimp account to a paid plan, consider this a small investment in a strategy with winning potential. Think of a newsletter as an extension of your site's content that puts the experience back in the hands of your readers. After all, users prefer to read and consume content on their own time in familiar interfaces, like Gmail. Click here to learn more about crafting an effective email strategy.

If you have any questions about Mailchimp's new changes and how they will work with RebelMouse's integration, email support@rebelmouse.com or contact your account manager today.

Related Articles

How to Make Your Top Menu Disappear on Scroll

Create an un-sticky Top Bar using Layout & Design tool

Depending on how you structure your content, it can be helpful to have your site's header and menu bar disappear as readers scroll. We call this un-sticky Top Bar behavior. Here's an example of what this looks like:

Keep reading...

Boost Your Performance With RebelMouse’s New AMP-Rendering Engine

Using React + Node, AMP-powered sites provide a next-level user experience

RebelMouse is proud to announce a new rendering engine driven by Google's lightning-fast AMP format. In our relentless pursuit of world-class site performance, our team of developers put together a faster experience for our clients that includes a more cohesive codebase, quicker development output, and increased reliability and overall performance.

To do this, we used React and Node — JavaScript languages that appeal to a broad pool of developers. The same code can run on both servers and browsers, and allows us to leverage modern front end optimization tools.

Here's a quick rundown of what React, AMP, and Node are, and how RebelMouse has used them to create an AMP-focused front end experience that's fit for the next decade of publishing.

Keep reading...
Subscribe to Our Newsletter