5 Cyber Monday Tips from Chartbeat

You fought your way through pounds of turkey and faced the sales-crazed hordes of Black Friday but the most daunting part of the week’s just ahead for you ecommerce warriors: Cyber Monday.

Experts are predicting a record Cyber Monday this year, meaning ecommerce sites are about to get a whole lotta traffic starting in t-minus 15 hours. The hype is high (Mobile Thursday what the what?!), but since lot of our clients are going to be working a ton over the next 24 hours as their sites are inundated with shoppers, we thought we’d share some last-minute tips with you.

Chartbeat + Cyber Monday= Real-time retail

You’ve been planning and prepping, but as we know with the slippery social web, not everything can be predicted. The Chartnerds put their heads together and drafted up a Top Five Ways You Can Use Chartbeat’s Data on Cyber Monday List: A Tab-by-Tab Guide to Real-Time Success. Clearly, we’re still working on that title, so let’s go with:

How Chartbeat can help you kick butt on Cyber Monday

1. Get Up-Close-and-Personal with Your Top Pages: Sleuth out your most popular items using Chartbeat and make sure those those products are featured prominently on your homepage.

2. Get to the Source: Know how shoppers are getting to your site and if they’re new or returning. You may need to give them a little extra TLC if they’re hitting you from a search engine for the first time, for example. If you’re getting a ton of mobile traffic, make sure you have a team focused on giving it some extra manpower tomorrow. Things always go awry at the worst possible moment – make sure you’re ready.

3. Create the Buzz: See what all the chatter is focused on – which of your products are getting last-minute attention and do the work to make sure all those Twitter influencers know your shop is the place to score it. And, of course, triple check that it’s easy to find when they hit your site.

4. Don’t Make ‘Em Wait: You’ll need to keep an eye on your fast as a rocketship or slow as a snail user page load time. Shoppers aren’t inclined to wait more than a second or two for your the product to load on site so they can scoop it up. They’ll move onto another site in a flash.

5. Geo-target: Target your inventory to the right places. We have some pretty quick and cool geo data that gives you a snapshot of where your site visitors are coming from. Getting a lot West Coast visitors on your site? Alert your Bay Area warehouse to get ready for a ton of orders.

Best of luck tomorrow, dear ecommerce friends. We’ll be standing by if any of you guys need a little Chartcorps or Dev support. Just holler if you need us.

Your Best Story on Digg & LinkedIn Today

“We signed up for Chartbeat because it looked interesting, it might give us extra metrics to think about. What it actually did was become a vital business tool, bringing analytics to life, giving us a traffic pulse to watch, learn and react to in real time. Now, instead of reporting our traffic, Chartbeat is taking an active role in increasing it: sending out alerts to partner editorial sites whenever VICE has spiking content, getting our stories in front of editors as they’re trending, so they can feature them and build our momentum.”

– Jesse Knight, CTO, VICE Media Inc.

That’s a mighty nice spike you got there VICE (dashboard displaying only traffic from Digg)

Way to make the Chartteam blush, VICE. We’re getting love from VICE because last month Digg picked up one of Vice’s spiking stories through Chartbeat Publishing’s Content Spike Promotions.

What’s a Content Spike Promotion?
We partnered with Digg and LinkedIn Today to create a private Twitter feed that sends them links to our opt-ed in clients’ spiking stories – only the spiking story’s headlines and links to the story. Source–specific client data like traffic numbers or engagement stats remain private. The folks at Digg and LinkedIn select the top content they think is a fit for their readers and then publish these stories on the Digg homepage or on LinkedIn Today.

And that’s exactly what happened to VICE after they signed up for Content Spike Promotions. A VICE story that was already doing well, “Breaking into Porn on Purpose”-FYI possibly NSFW– experienced a meteoric rise in traffic when Digg republished the story. A well-earned traffic spike suddenly meant the story was exposed to a whole new group of readers on Digg.

In the future, when a client’s story gets picked up by LinkedIn or Digg, we’ll mark it as a Notable Event in their dashboard’s Event Stream. That way you publishers will immediately be able to determine how the Digg or LinkedIn referral affects your traffic – and you can work your magic to keep them around, turning them into loyal readers.

Beyond the initial spike
The whole point of Content Spike Promotions is to help Chartbeat Publishing clients grow their audience. When a story gets a bigger and newer audience through Content Spike Promotions, our real-time Dashboard and Heads Up Display helps clients with the next step – developing a strategy for keeping new visitors on their site and coming back for more great content.

Digg and LinkedIn get the best content from the best publishers, and the best publishers get the right audience hitting their top stories.

And us over here at Chartbeat? We’re loving that we can play the role of matchmaker.

Going for Broke: Chartbeat’s Election Day by the Numbers

On our way to a record-breaking day

Chartbeat’s HQ is still sporting decorations from last night’s Election Day festivities (sliders, beer, plus tons of data = how Chartnerds like to party), and we’re still recovering from a data-filled, concurrent cap busting, news coverage-crazed 24 hours.

The night by the numbers

  • 8,853,239– Chartbeat’s record aggregate number of concurrents yesterday
  • 21– Chartteam members at the office late last night for support and shenanigans
  • 23.5%– Increase in Chartbeat aggregate concurrents for Election Day coverage over our previous record max concurrents for Sandy coverage
  • 50/50– Number of state electoral results Nate Silver correctly predicted
  • 200,000– Requests/second for Chartbeat beacon traffic
  • 30– Election Night survival goody bags passed out to some hardworking clients
  • 2– Canine guests at our Election Day party

While we could talk for hours about how many clients saw amazing traffic last night or about how shiny Joe Biden’s teeth are, the Chartteam is pretty excited about how many people turned to online media for answers about yesterday’s election coverage. Despite the reigning popularity of TV coverage, it’s awesome that online news sources are really getting in the game with engaging features, quality content, and rapid reactions to electoral developments.

Predictable? Yes and no.

Nate Silver’s magic map

We discussed prediction earlier this week, and a day after the election, predictions–correct or otherwise–are certainly seen in a different light. Today few people are getting more attention than Nate Silver of The New York Times‘s FiveThirtyEight Blog, who accurately predicted every state’s electoral outcome in this election. Interestingly enough, Silver’s awesome projections don’t really say much about the validity of predictions, but rather, Silver’s state-by-state forecast demonstrates successful statistical modeling (confession: the Chartteam <3 statistical models).

Red or blue, it’s indisputable that data had a huge role in this election. The interactive online maps you played with, the fancy touchscreens CNN whipped out last night, the projections presented by election analysts–they shared a common origin of data– and this election showed that online media is striving to make data more and more accessible to people.

But did it beat Sandy’s breaking news?

And people were hungry for data–well, and hungry for election information in general. How hungry? Chew on this: Chartbeat had a record aggregate total of over 8.5 million concurrent visits yesterday. That’s 1.5 MILLION more concurrents than the Sandy-related peak traffic we experienced last week. Pretty nuts, right?

There’s probably a ton to learn from such an epic day of traffic and engagement, and hopefully we’ll be sharing these insights with you once we’ve worked our way through all this data. For now, high fives to all our clients who worked long and hard yesterday to keep us up-to-date about election results.

We’re big fans of Election Day parties. And cupcakes.

Anxiously awaiting the results

Indecision and Prediction: The Data Driving Election 2012

Business Insider

While tropical storm Sandy demanded our attention much of the past week, many of us are now obsessively checking news sites and political blogs for predictions about tomorrow’s Presidential Election results.

Twitter is abuzz with the latest and greatest predicted voting outcomes, and many sites are offering a multitude of interactive graphics, “what if” theories, less conventional sources, and even using NFL scores in their efforts to foresee what happens tomorrow.

Whether you rely on a sports team or particular polls for election estimates, prediction itself is an unpredictable business.The events of the past week have created unanticipated extra pressure on election results predictions, with media outlets churning out new developments and reports at a record pace. Since the election is almost certainly going to be a close one, people are turning to the web like never before to get a handle on what tomorrow might bring.

CNN’s Campaign Explorer

As we’ve learned from past elections (throwback Bush v. Gore 2000), there’s a big tension between immediacy and accuracy as the media works to keep the public informed throughout the election build up and the actual results.

Election coverage is a great reminder of why online journalism is about so much more than pageviews and traffic numbers– it’s about educating voters about candidates, ballot propositions, and why these issues matter. Journalism is a public service to get the right story to the right people.

Editors need to figure out which political topics are actually sticking with readers, what story is actually being told and heard completely, what’s keeping them engaged. Engagement, attention, interest keeps people around on your story. It keeps them coming back for more quality content.

Tomorrow we’ll check in to see whose predictions are faring well and what predictions become irrelevant over the course of Election Day.  In the meantime, we can just take in this once-every-four-year coverage craziness.

The New York Times Swing State Tracker

Top 3 Things I Learned at ONA12

Just climbing out from under an information (and tequila…and guacamole…) hangover from ONA12 last week, and wanted to share the genius I picked up along the way.  We had a blast, and we’re also so thrilled that you guys showed Chartbeat some love. I could pretty easily share about 4000 things from people we met or got the chance to see again (it’s like a summer camp reunion!) and amazing sessions we took place in, really cool demos and innovative stuff we caught down in the Midway.  But I’ll keep it to three. In no particular order….

1. We’re still trying to claw our way out from under page views

We all know the page view is a silly metric that we can easily manipulate for display ad purposes. (Farhad Manjoo wrote a great piece about this for Slate the other day if you’re interested) Yet we’re using page views as a key metric of editorial performance and ad sales. There’s a slow shift toward uniques, which is great, but everyone’s on the same page that that’s not enough. Our most interesting conversations at ONA were around our Engaged Time metric, which is starting to pick up some serious steam as a partner KPI to uniques. Our data science team is already finding some crazy relationships between higher engaged time and a higher propensity for reader loyalty (more on that in the coming weeks). So we know it works. Hopefully by ONA13, we’ll have put page views to bed.

2. Understanding an article’s impact is kind of hard.

Despite the fact that spreading awareness and creating change are often the main intentions behind an article, gauging the scope of a story’s impact is actually pretty challenging. Most metrics focus on “hard goals”, things that are easy to measure like how many people visit a page or click on a link. However, these sorts of numbers don’t entirely shed light on a story’s actual impact– how much more awareness is there about a particular subject or whether or not an article has educated its readers or incited change. The public service aspect of a story, often represented by the scope of an article’s impact, is tough to quantify or measure. There was a lot of buzz around the challenges of determining whether an article makes small ripples or big waves, and how we understand this in quantifiable terms.

3. How and when your readers reach your stories matters.

Several discussions at ONA reminded us about the need for content to be fully immersive across multiple platforms. Essentially, when and how is your audience reaching your content throughout the day? A reader might access your content on his phone while commuting, on his desktop during work, and then on his iPad at night. Knowing your readers’ daily patterns matters a whole lot when it comes to user experience– ideally your readers are easily immersed in your content no matter how they’re accessing your site. It’s more than just tallying up your content’s traffic sources, it’s about building content and products around the shape of a reader’s day. The BBC did a lot of this “what does my viewer’s day look like?” for their Olympics content, and launched features that considered their audience’s needs across platforms and times of day.

4. Everyone loves a happy hour

I had to tack on a fourth point just for this. In case anyone hadn’t heard, or you get your hands on one of our margaritas, Chartbeat had way too much fun with the tattoo-rocking ONA crowd at our happy hour. Thanks to all that attended–for those that didn’t, no worries, we intend to have many more happy hours in the future.



Photos courtesy of Aubrey Aden-Buie