Analytics

Our Analytics Service provides digital business intelligence for NPR stations, answering key questions on audience reach, engagement, content, and monetization. Based on system-wide data, we share key trends, actionable insights, deep analysis, station best practices, and analytics training and support on all of a station's key digital platforms: live streaming, on-demand audio listening, website usage, NPR One, and more. At the core of the service are regular webinars and the custom measurement and dashboards of the Station Analytics System.

Looking for a specific topic from a webinar or blog post? Check out our index of analytics topics.

We’re pleased to announce that the Sources Dashboard is now available in the Station Analytics System (SAS)!

The dashboard will provide stations the opportunity to compare traffic trends in channels like direct, search, referrals, email and social, and view what those trends look like compared to the average station.

Twice a year we step back and look at the overall digital trends in public media. In last year's PubMetrics presentations, the news about live streaming was mostly positive: While cume wasn't growing, our existing audience was listening more often, so listening time overall was still on the rise.

Update: Due to a late breaking bug in final QA, we are moving the transition to December 1 to keep data integrity a priority. 

Recently, the station analytics team was asked to help solve a debate in a local newsroom. This station was trying to decide if it would be  beneficial to supplement its strong local coverage with some national news from the NPR API. Since we have data about web performance for over 200 stations, we were glad to offer some insight. We started by looking at a group of 25 stations with strong digital newsrooms and monthly users between 50k and 300k. We found that, in these stations, local news drove higher engagement and encouraged users to come back.

The Core Publisher development team has been working hard to introduce a fully functioned responsive web theme. Over the past few months a handful of sites have moved to this new theme which provides a cleaner look and allows a consistent experience across devices. While we can't share sites confidential details, we can point to a few positive trends that we have seen post launch.

On Demand audio measurement works very similarly to webcast measurement.

We need to access your logs to process them for On Demand metrics, via a FTP account where we can download the logs nightly. Please note these are not the same logs used for SoundExchange reporting nor live streaming measurement - these are on-demand specific files.

Lately lots of people have been emailing me links to articles about a phenomena called "dark social." This is interesting because "dark social" is the phrase coined to describe what was originally thought to be impact of the social sharing of links directly between individuals through email and chat.  Back in 2012, Alexis Madrigal wrote an article about a concerning trend that he was seeing on theatlantic.com.

We all have access to useful metrics on our sites and our live streams. But on-demand audio created by stations - including audio segments, archived programs, and podcasts - has been a black hole. Not anymore.

It's that time of year again, when the DS Analytics Service takes a broad view of public media and finds the big trends everyone should know about. I have good news and I have bad news: Looking across the entire system, our station streaming is growing, but our audience isn't.

On this month’s webinar we discussed an interesting new feature in Google Analytics. Google Analytics is currently in the process of rolling out new Benchmarking reports. While our team has not yet worked with these extensively, we find it an interesting options for stations who are interested in comparing their performance with sites outside of public media. 

From the start, the local/national partnership that is NPR One has been about experimentation and learning based on data. So we're delighted to announce the launch of a new dashboard that provides each station with data on how its audience is using this new platform, so we can all learn together.

The new dashboard, part of the Station Analytics System, is focused on answering three key questions:

On August Station Analytics insights webinar we talked about data that was collected using custom variables in Google Analytics.  If you missed that webinar you can view the video. For Core Publisher stations the digital services developers handled the set up, but if you are not using Core Publisher here is how you can start tracking additional data about your site.

Mobile traffic has once again hit a new peak for our station sites and we eagerly anticipate the time when more of our traffic will come from mobile and from tablet than from desktop devices. All this growth can lead us to want to know more about our mobile users - who are they, what are they doing, are we helping them find what they are looking for?

Limitations of Segments in Google Analytics

Last month during our semi-annual PubMetrics presentation (video and slides are available), the most notable digital trend we shared concerned live streaming. When we look at the performance of 179 station streams across the country, we see a bit of good news and a bit of bad news.

Last month we launched our project to understand the public media audience lifecycle by using better segmentation. This month we are looking into one of those segments to gain insight into whether our new users are returning to become loyal users. The key to growing our digital audience is attracting new users to our sites.

NPR member stations are successfully using a web first approach to digital news that is rapidly capturing new online audience. We have watched our social media traffic grow and are consistently improving our reach through new tools, platforms and partnerships, but to fulfill our long-term goals we'll need to encourage deeper engagement and direct relationships between stations and their new audience.  

In late 2013 Google Analytics added demographic information to its capabilities, allowing reports to be viewed and segmented by user characteristics like age and gender.  This information comes through the use of Google's ad network tagging and it determined using a combination of estimates based online behavioral data or Google+ information when it is available.  The results can be informative but are also limited.  

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