Send Us Your Big Boards!

Numbers tell the whole story? Usually not. But in the case of Gawker and many of our other clients, they can be pretty damn important.

Nick Denton said it best on MSNBC’s Rock Center segment when he shows off the Chartbeat Big Board  – your top pages, all prettied up for the big screen – and talks about just how important it is for Gawker Media.

These guys display the Big Board in every room of their office. Seriously. We’ve seen it. It’s up there so everyone – not just the research analysts and strategy execs in their back offices – can instantly see how they’re doing.

That’s how real-time data should be used. Front and center for everyone to see and take action on.

Are you guys using the Chartbeat Big Board? Take a pic and tweet it our way.

Video courtesy of MSNBC: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/46662714#46662714

Check Out Your Highlights Reel

Introducing Event Stream & Notable Events for Newsbeat

Brace yourself: The right side of your Newsbeat dashboard just got a lot more action. We’ve launched Event Stream, a ticker-like feed of your site’s happenings as they occur. Think of it as “Breaking News: Your Site!” Think of it as ultimate real-time.

With Event Stream, you’ll be able to see the moment when Yahoo News picks you up, so you can raise the flag to the front-lines to prep for the ensuing traffic rush.



And you’ll see when your colleague hits her highest traffic numbers ever, so you can be the first to throw her a high-five across the cubicle wall.



And you’ll see a spike alert the second it happens, so you don’t miss the opportunity to boost that article on social media or create more content to support it or double-check that all those related links are ready to rock.



(How great is that little crown icon? It’s my favorite.)


Basically, you’ll see everything that matters when it matters.

And it gets even better.

Along with the Event Stream on the right of your dashboard, we’ll incorporate Notable Events into each section of Charts. Notables, in a nutshell, are the best-of-the-best events that we want to be sure you keep track of. So when you look back and see a spike in activity from last week, you’ll remember “Ohhh, right, that was when that Pulitzer-worthy piece on North Korea hit the CNN homepage.”

All you need to do is hover over those little gray circles and the Notable’s information will appear.




Our hope is that you use Event Stream and Notable Events to stay on the pulse of all the things that make your site tick. They should keep you even more informed on what important events on your site require you to take instant action.

As always, we want to know what you love about this feature and what you want to make sure we keep in mind for future releases. Let us know what you think: support@chartbeat.com.

Metrics that Matter & the Death of the Page View

Page views are a pain in the ass. It’s the metric that lies behind so many of the bad design decisions on the web. Time on page is too. The way it’s been measured has often been more akin to a finger in the air than the solid metrics we expect. Neither really take into consideration how users are actually viewing information – from social to mobile – or at least not well.

As Lewis DVorkin states in his latest Forbes piece, “the page view engagement metric of the last decade served its purpose.” He’s right. It did. But now, RIP Page Views. It’s time for us to move on and start using metrics that truly matter to your site’s performance – those are the metrics that tell the full story of your content.

That full story is not told in a page view. Sure, it might tell you that you’re awesome at driving traffic to your site, but beyond that…? What kind of traffic? The right kind, the kind what will come back, the kind that will genuinely engage, share, and chat about you?

We, the Chartbeat crew, are pretty certain the future lies in engagement. Engagement – or specifically a new metric we’re rolling out called engaged minutes – is all about how and how long someone is actually, actively engaged with your content. It’s about knowing precisely what that user is engaging with and how. For instance, is this page linkbait, driving clicks but no engagement? Or is this piece of content a slow burner that’s hidden behind a bad headline, so readers have a tough time finding it, but when they do, they love and engage with it? If so, it might be time to change how you position and promote those stories as a result.

And that’s the point, right? To take action and make decisions. That’s why you’re using real-time data, to adapt and react to who is engaging with your content and how, whether those actions are immediate or longer-term. And you can’t take meaningful action on page views.

So, please pack up your things, page views. Engaged minutes is on its way to usurp your throne.

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 dawn@chartbeat.com 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 http://gallery.chartbeat.com 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 dawn@chartbeat.com 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.

chartbeat

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.

newsbeat

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.

The EU cookie directive and chartbeat

We’ve had a few of our European clients ask about the new EU cookie directive and how this affects their site’s use of chartbeat or newsbeat.

The EU law, which requires that all users are asked for consent before using any non-essential cookies, will have an impact on the cookies served by chartbeat.

Currently, chartbeat uses two cookies. One cookie (_chartbeat2) is used to register if a person has visited the domain before (to calculate “new vs returning” users). The other (_SUPERFLY_nosample) is used only if you go over your plan’s traffic limit. At that point the cookie is set and will disable the beacon from that visitor for one hour. The _chartbeat2 cookie is valid for 30 days. The _SUPERFLY_nosample cookie is valid for one hour.

For more information about the chartbeat code, please see our docs page.

We’re in the process of building support for a cookie-less mode of chartbeat and newsbeat. Once available, the “new vs. returning user” data point in the chartbeat or newsbeat dashboard will not be accurately reported if you choose to allow users to opt-in to chartbeat cookies.

We’ll send out an update when a cookie-less mode is available. In the meantime, please contact us at support@chartbeat.com with any questions.

Coasting Past 4 Million!

We first hit 4 million active visitors across all chartbeat sites over a month ago, but now we can confidently say it isn’t a one time thing. 4 million and cruising!!

Thanks to amazing partners and some very forthcoming users, we know people love chartbeat but we’re confident you’ll absolutely obsess over newsbeat. We’re really excited for the road to come!

Chartbeat Master Class: Martin Tajur

Today, we’re psyched to introduce a new feature on the chartbeat blog – the chartbeat Master Class. We have really cool customers who think of amazing and unique ways to use real-time data…so why not show it off?

Who knows, using their tips and tricks might make your life a little easier, too!

Our developers LOVED this technique when they heard about it. It’s a no-nonsense, cool use of the engagement features on the dashboard.

Martin Tajur, a web app developer for listhingspipedrive, and skitrackapp is always working to make his products better. But since his apps are in constant use, it’s tough for him to know when to push out changes, especially ones that require a server restart.

When it’s time to push a change, Martin uses the engagement features to check what his users are doing and waits for them to stop writing before pushing the changes. That way no one gets disturbed. Pretty neat!

 

If you’re using chartbeat in a slick way, we’d love to hear about it and maybe feature you in our Master Class series. Drop me a line on Twitter or email with your best move and if it makes the blog, we’ll send you a righteous chartbeat t-shirt!

Sprucing Things Up Around Here

We’ve been busy! Over the past six months, the chartbeat crew has more than doubled in size to 18(!!) energetic and eclectic people. And between our development, product, and community teams, we have a lot to say.

We want to share some of the challenges that have come with tracking millions of people simultaneously across the web (and show off some sweet code), feature some of the awesome people who use our products along with the inventive ways they’re using chartbeat, and tell you all about new and exciting features and products as they’re built. Hmmm, did we hear someone say ‘newsbeat’?

To share all this great stuff without giving everyone information overload, we’re reorganizing things a bit.

As of today, you’ll find all developer and technical posts on the brand new Chartbeat Engineering blog. You should check it out!

Product updates and other chartbeat community posts will stay here. And, of course, you can always get the latest updates for both blogs on Twitter.

Now that you know where to find us, stay tuned! We have some fun stuff coming up very soon…