New study highlights metrics useful for journalism

Analytics are a critical factor in the decision making process for digital tools. But newsrooms are often left without clear reader mandates when pageviews, time on site, and unique visitors can introduce as many questions as answers.

An American Press Institute partnership with 55 publications created a set of tags, not to detail what the content was about, but to track true topics, story type, and a host of other characteristics designed to let the newsroom refine its process.

A few findings:

  • Major enterprise pays. But makes up just one percent of content.
  • People like long stories. Articles averaging 1,200 words saw a 23% increase in engagement.
  • Photos make a difference. Perhaps surprisingly, especially in government stories.
  • Crime coverage is popular. But print staples like the police blotter don’t perform well online.

The report is worth a read in its entirety. It’s available on the Brookings website.