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Web Analytics for News Websites, Blogs and Digital Magazines

You may think that the primary intention of digital magazines, news websites, and blogging platforms is to publish articles, news, and other content, but this is not true. In fact, their aim is to capture the audience's attention, which can be then sold to advertisers.

It works this way: news and articles attract people to a website, which also features banner and native ads describing advertisers' products. Information sites earn by placing banners and native creatives with a guaranteed minimum number of impressions.

As the placement price depends on traffic volume and quality, information sites need to leverage web analytics to monitor their performance.

This article looks into key metrics for information sites to measure the audience's engagement with the content. Advertisers can use these metrics to decide whether to place ads or not.

At the end of the article, you will find useful infographics illustrating a media kit for information websites.

Target metrics

There is a lot of online research and benchmarks for news sites and digital publishers, but the metrics they present are averages and may not suit your region or your audience's content consumption habits.

The most effective way to assess your website's KPI is to study the metrics of your main competitors in the media space. For this purpose, you can use dedicated services such as Similarweb, Serpstat or Semrush.

Don't benchmark your KPI against the niche leader. Instead, do market research, identify your direct competitors and take their metrics for benchmarking.

Metrics for information sites

Visits

Visitors are your key asset and the most important thing for advertisers. The number of visitors does not say much about the content quality, but gives a general impression on how effectively the site attracts traffic. Let's look at some metrics helpful in measuring the number of visitors to your website.

Sessions

A session is a period of time when a user interacts with an app. Session time is a measure of general user engagement and may also serve as an indicator of how good your marketing efforts, SEO and content are.

But you must remember that the number of sessions is not the same as the number of visitors. In most web analytics systems, an average session is half an hour, i.e. if a unique user has spent an hour on your website or refreshed the page, the system will count it as two sessions.

web sessions report
Web sessions report in MyTracker

Visitors to your website may also change their browser or their device, switching from a laptop to a smartphone, for instance. How do you measure visits in this case

In analytics solutions like MyTracker you can use the Session (u) metric to see the number of unique sessions per user.

web sessions by user and device

New users / devices

The number of users / devices engaging with the site for the first time. This metric is instrumental in assessing how effectively your website or ad campaign attracts a new audience.

new users report

Active users / devices

The users / devices for whom at least one event was logged during the selected reporting period – a registration, authorization, launch, pageview, in-app impression, or payment.

active users devices

This metric helps measure user activity after changes, for instance, whether they perform target actions more or less often after a blog redesign.

Web analytics tools rely on special identifiers to distinguish unique users. For instance, Google uses cookies stored by IP devices. However, if a user accesses the site from a different device or browser, they will be counted as new.

To address this issue, MyTracker has device- and user-level metrics. If you choose a Session (u) metric, you will find out how many users visited your website regardless of devices.

In 2022, new visitors of the Top 100 news sites across the globe grew by an average of 18.6% per month.

Audience profiles and interests

Social and demographic data enable you and your advertisers to get a more precise picture of your website's target audience by such parameters as gender, age, geography, and interests.

It is convenient to have all the metrics collected in a single illustrative dashboard.

website audience analysis

Audience by gender

The split may be 56% men and 44% women, with men or women dominating in some areas (up to 90% of the audience).

Audience by age

Web analytics tools divide the audience by age categories, such as 18–24, 25–34, 35–44, 45–54, 55–64, and 65+. The most valuable groups are 25–34 and 35–44 as they are big spenders targeted by advertisers.

Audience by geography

Geodata shows where your readers come from, for instance Liverpool, UK. If you have created a news media for Liverpool, but a larger portion of your audience is from Cambridge, your content contains the wrong keywords or your ad targeting parameters are wrong.

Audience by employement and academic level

You can also leverage employment and higher education metrics to evaluate the purchasing power of your audience.

audience by employment and education

Content quality

You can use three criteria to assess content quality:

Web analytics tools are designed to measure the following criteria:

Session duration

The average time spent by a user on your website per session. It shows the reader's interest in your content. Short sessions may signal content irrelevance or site glitches.

In 2023, the average session duration on the Top 100 US news websites was 5 minutes 35 seconds.

Bounce rate

A bounce is a single-page session on your site. This metric is relevant for multi-page sites.

Bounce rate is the percentage of all sessions on your site in which users viewed only a single page.

bounce rate google analytics

When is a high bounce rate a bad thing?

If the success of your multi-page site depends on users viewing more than one page, then a high bounce rate is a red flag. It means that users are viewing only your home page.

On the other hand, if you have a single-page site like a blog, a high bounce rate is perfectly normal and can be disregarded.

Coupled with short sessions, a high bounce rate may indicate a mismatch between the title and the content or that the page is slow loading. To check the loading speed for your site, you can use a service called PageSpeed Insights.

Read more on How to Solve High Bounce Rates and Keep People on Your Site Longer in our blog.

In 2023, the average bounce rate for the Top 100 US news websites was 51.6%.

Content-matching keywords

After publishing, you can use Google Search Console to check if the content and keywords match.

For instance, if an article about revenue predictions features “prediction” as the keyword too often, it may be displayed by the search engine in response to tarot card and fortune-teller queries. This will attract a non-target audience and drive the bounce rate higher. In this case, you need to analyze keywords and correct the text.

Pages per visit

A metric that measures the average number of pages visitors view on a site within a single session. Like the session duration, it shows the audience's interest in your content.

In 2023, the average pages per visit for the Top 100 US news websites stood at 3.9.

Click-through rate (CTR)

CTR is the number of clicks that your article receives from search results. To check it, use Google Search Console.

The average CTR for organic traffic is 2%. A lower rate may signal a boring title or a mismatch between keywords and search results.

google search console
Source: https://support.google.com/

Scroll depth

This shows how many visitors scroll to the end of or a specific mark on the page. To track it, you can use custom events in web analytics.

Link and button clicks

Link clicks help understand how effectively the content motivates the audience to act. You can track how many readers click buttons in the article, fill in forms and go to recommended articles or advertisers' websites.

To check link and button clicks with MyTracker, you can use tracking links or UTM tags, and custom events, respectively.

Audience interests

In addition to your audience's profile and engagement with your site, some analytical tools offer a deeper insight into their interests and social status. As one example, the MyTracker analytics system launched a dedicated tool called Insights.

With Insights, you can do the following:

Learn more about your audience's interests to add new topics to your content plan or new sections to your website. For instance, you may notice that your readers’ interest is shifting from fitness to sports as part of your audience may be looking to do sports in a more professional way. This means you can add a section on how to get ready for competitions.

audience interest dynamics

Evaluate your traffic quality based on user interests and adjust your ad campaigns accordingly. For example, you may notice that one of your ad channels attracts people interested in shopping and fashion to your blog on business development. This indicates that your targeting settings or the choice of ad channels may be wrong.

audience interests

Takeaways

Information sites are a type of business that cannot do without web analytics, as its measure of success is linked to user engagement with the site rather than revenue.

Web analytics helps owners of news websites and digital magazines to track the number and profiles of their readers, evaluate the content quality, and measure performance of ad campaigns.

Learn more about how to get started with web analytics and what these platforms can offer in our Beginner’s Guide.

media kit with content metrics
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Tags: web analytics