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.

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.  

Ever have one of those days when the next big thing has just launched and everyone is waiting for the good news, but instead of spiking, Google Analytics seems to suddenly have flat-lined? Before you have a coronary there are few things to keep in mind.

There's nothing like hyperbole to get someone's attention.  Oh boy, did Chartbeat CEO Tony Haile get people's attention when he said "what you think you know about the web is wrong"- but let's all take a breath before we start throwing out our Google Analytics data.

Eric Bennett/Flickr

We all know that digital listening is on the rise. But exactly how much listening is now streaming vs broadcast, and how can you track this over time for your station?

To find out, you need to compare broadcast numbers from Nielsen Audio (formerly Arbitron) to streaming numbers from Triton Webcast Metrics. But sadly, these two sources measure things a bit differently, and there are details you need to know in order to compare them accurately.

The Infinite Dial is an annual survey of consumer media usage conducted by Edison Research and sponsored by Triton Digital. It's full of important trends and statistics on listener behaviors that matter to public media. Here are a few highlights:

The Station Analytics System adds a number of benefits over the standard Google Analytics tag. One of these is the creation of a number of custom variables design to track common elements of articles.  You can now summarize pageviews and visits by Author, Keywords, Source Organization or Program. In this video you can learn how to create custom reports that use these customized fields to track station specific data.  If you don't have time for the video you can download templates for some of the custom variables from the table below.

Looking at analytics data can sometimes feel like watching one Olympic bobsled run: In isolation, you have no idea if what you're looking at is good or bad. Context is everything.

For web metrics, we can look at our data over time, which gives it context and meaning. We can also look at our station numbers compared to other public media stations like us using the Station Analytics System. Comparisons can turn data into actionable insights.

So how do we compare our stations against the most important digital competition we have: the websites of local newspapers, TV stations, other nearby radio stations, local music sites, and so on?

If you weren't able to join our live training webinar on February 6th, 2014 you can now watch the video or download the slides on nprstations.org.  The session included an overview of segmentation and examples of how to build visit and user segments for a few key site activities.

Here a few suggestions to get you started by building segments around or two most important activities: listening and reading.

Have you been seeing messages in your Google Analytics account pushing you to upgrade to Universal Analytics? If you haven't, then you probably aren't looking at your reports enough.  If you have, you can go ahead and ignore them for now.

The most basic reason for you to ignore these is that if you are using the Station Analytics System (SAS) tag won't be supporting Universal Analytics anytime soon. Here's why we've decided to wait:  

On our November Station Analytics Insights webinar we presented some data about the tremendous audience growth coming from social media.  If you have ever wondered how much of your social traffic is Facebook or whether to be concerned with Reddit we' shared some answers about where the audience is really coming from.  Perhaps you wonder if social media is the best platform  for reaching new audience, then you'll want to set aside 15 minutes to watch the video.  Once you've watched  - join the conversation by tweeting your thoughts using #PubMetrics.

On our December Station Analytics Insights webinar we presented some data about the tremendous audience growth coming from mobile devices.  If you have ever wondered how mobile users get to your site or what the best platform is for growing new audience, then you'll want to set aside 10 minutes to watch the video.  Once you've watched  - join the conversation by tweeting your thoughts using #PubMetrics

On October 9th  I hosted a training about how to use Google Analytics to supercharge your pledge reporting. Your pledge platform is probably giving you information about how many people have donated and how close you are to meeting your goal, but when properly set up and used Google Analytics can give you a wealth of additional insight. We covered a lot of information in the one hour session and I've pulled out some of the important points below or you can review the slides from the presentation.

Did you know that approximately 9% of all public radio streaming is happening using TuneIn, one of the biggest audio aggregators? And that TuneIn is seeing faster streaming growth than most public radio stations are seeing on their own websites?

These are the somewhat surprising discoveries made recently as we analyzed metrics on hundreds of public radio streams available in TuneIn.

The web is a visual medium. Since the html blink tag was created we have all been focused on the appearance of our websites, but for the public radio audience listening is critically important - even on the web. Rather than thinking of the homepage as a whole, we looked at the individual parts or functional elements to determine which were most effective at engaging visitors.

This week we launched an improvement to the response time for "Stations like Me" comparisons in the Station Analytics System.  Since the system launched with our 1.0 release we have been troubled by the slow response time in the dashboards.  Our team was able to reduce the amount of time by more than 75% resulting in a much better experience for our stations.

Our dashboards and monthly reports feature traffic source pretty prominently. You are probably well aware of how much of your traffic is from Direct, Search, and Referrals - if you're not, learn more about Traffic Sources in this Google Analytics Training Video. Google Analytics reporting devotes an entire section to Traffic Source, but if it isn't meaning much to you perhaps there is something missing from your reports.

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