Newsbeat: Introducing Benchmarking for stories

Real-time analytics like Newsbeat enables you to understand what’s happening on your site right now, but it can still be hard to understand whether an article is performing better or worse than it should be. Today, we’re trying to make that easier by introducing benchmarking for articles. Our algorithms model the typical path of a story published at that time on your site over the first 12 hours of its life cycle and give you an instant understanding of whether your article is performing above or below that typical path. Simply go to the performance tab and click on an article (our algorithms automatically ignore landing pages) and you’ll get a sense of how that article is doing.

In the example above,  the red line showing actual performance is just under what would be typical performance for a story on that site published at that time; it is underperforming against the benchmark. In the example below, the red line showing actual article performance is beating the benchmark of typical article performance; it’s a great story!

When looking at your top 10 stories you should expect them to beat typical performance by quite a bit; that’s why they are your top ten stories! However, as you delve into stories below the top rank you’ll see their performance converge with typical and instantly be able to see when an unexpected event like a link from Drudge or spike from social moves you away from that typical performance. Once you’ve published a story, come back to our dashboard and see if it is out performing your standard articles. If it’s falling short, make sure you’re taking every opportunity to promote it through your site and social media. When a story is exceeding expectations, then it might be time to give it some homepage love, or understand how you can apply this success to all your other content.

We’re constantly working on improving the models, incorporating more factors, and providing more context around the data to ensure that you can extract as much value from our product as possible. Please email us anytime at:, we’d love to hear from you.


We’re headed to the ONA!

The people in the newsroom are the heart and soul of newsbeat, so we’re really excited to be heading to Boston for the ONA conference this weekend.

Tony Haile (our newly minted CEO!) and I are going to be attending sessions to learn more about what makes great news organizations tick, showing off some of the new things we’ve got in the works, and reaching out for your feedback on newsbeat (and chartbeat!).

We’ve also proposed a session for the ONA unconference about the move to a real-time newsroom – what works, what doesn’t, and how newsrooms are adapting to a real-time news cycle. You can check out the details here and then vote for the session if you’d like to join us!

Tony and I will be at the conference tomorrow and Saturday, so feel free to grab us if you’d like to chat. Or send me an email at if you’d rather schedule time to talk. We’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas!

Celebrating your chartbeat triumphs

One of the most exciting things about having chartbeat running on your site is that moment when your traffic goes nuts and you can watch it unfold on your dashboard. Busting through your 30-day traffic high is a great feeling.

Even we at chartbeat aren’t immune to it.

Immediately after the earthquake rattled the Northeast a couple of weeks ago, everyone at chartbeat HQ dropped what they were doing to gather around the “total total” dial we display on a big monitor in the center of our office. The “total total” shows cumulative traffic across every site running chartbeat and we all wanted to know, “Would the earthquake news drive enough traffic to break our previous record?”

As people across the east coast, and then across the rest of the country, went online to find out what happened, traffic to chartbeat sites went through the roof. In less than 10 minutes, we zoomed past our previous all-time high.

As we cheered, did the requisite high fives (we really like high fives around here), and tweeted links to our new record-breaking dial, it made me think of other people who have shared similar chartbeat triumphs.

From new 30-day traffic highs, to watching a product launch take off, it’s exciting to see pictures of companies gathered around their dashboards or screenshots of dials, dashboards, and big boards being shared with the world via Twitter, tumblr, and flickr.

To continue in this spirit of celebration, we’ve started a gallery to capture these publicly shared chartbeat moments. Head over to to check out how people are displaying chartbeat in their offices and sharing their chartbeat triumphs with the world.

And if you have your chartbeat data displayed in your office or want to share a photo of one of your exciting chartbeat moments, we’d love to add it to the gallery! Just send me an email at or post it on Twitter.

Making new vs. returning visits more human centric

This past Sunday morning, we made a change to the way we measure new vs. returning visitors to your site.


We think it’s important to measure humans rather than clicks, which often means a departure from traditional analytics. Up until Sunday, we considered a new visitor anyone who was on the first page of their first visit to your site in the past 30 days.

This was useful for identifying which pages were most effectively driving new traffic but caused issues when trying to understand the broader behavior of new visitors.

We wanted to take this type of behavior into account, so for people who are coming to your site for the first time in the past 30 days, we’re now counting them as “new” for the first 30 minutes they spend on your site, regardless of how many pages they have visited.


After this time, they will be considered a “returning” visit, which will also be true if they visit your site again within 30 days. If they haven’t revisited your site in 30 days, the clock resets and they’re treated as a new visitor again.

This change means you might see a slight increase in the percentage of new visits on your chartbeat or newsbeat dashboard. If you have alerts set up for new visits, there’s a chance this increase will trigger an alert for you. Please let us know if you need help managing the alerts. (For all of you who are thinking “What’s an alert? Chartbeat has alerts?” don’t worry! You can explore and set up customized alerts through your chartbeat alerts tab or newsbeat settings page.)

As always, we really want to hear what you think. Send us your feedback, thoughts, and examples of how you use new vs. returning metrics, on our site or elsewhere.