Q&A with Dan Lyons, on which metrics actually matter to writers

The upheaval of the media industry has been accompanied by well-publicized worries that measuring writers’ performance using data will lead to creative decline.  Some publications make a point of shielding their writers from this data, while others compensate on various metric benchmarks. This debate has been largely among editor ranks, so we wanted to hear directly from writers about how they feel when they see data on their article performance. 

At Parse.ly we interact with a wide range of people within publishing organizations, from analysts and editors to product managers and writers. In our Q&A posts, we’ll share insider’s thoughts about how data and analytics applies to the editorial world by going straight to the source.

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Parse.ly, April 18, 2014

As digital media business transforms, better insights are more critical than ever

One thing we can say about the media business: it doesn’t move slowly. We don’t need to do a full recap (there are plenty of sites and newsletters for that), but in the past six months we’ve seen exciting news sites come into being, and we’ve seen great ideas sadly burn out.new-publishers-logos The numbers say there’s lots of new digital hires, but they still don’t scratch the surface of the overall losses taken in the past few years.

In summary? The media industry is certainly a fast-changing and often confusing place to be. Figuring out how to both provide great journalism and make a profit to pay your hard-working staff eludes even the brightest minds. The need for better answers and analytics platforms has meant that we spend a lot of time helping our customers navigate through this confusing ecosystem. We’ve come up for air for a minute to share some of our biggest take-aways, and how we’re using them to grow Parse.ly.

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Parse.ly, April 16, 2014

SXSW 2014: Content, Connections, and Digital Media Take Center Stage

Parse.ly participated in the SXSW Interactive festival last week in Austin, Tx to connect with customers and monitor the progress of the tech and media industries. In a significant shift from previous years, the business of news appeared to be on the upswing, and the SXSW buzz about new VC funding flowing into the industry lit up social. A Quartz article published during the conference reported this change:

The shift doesn’t simply reflect a renewed confidence in publishing. It’s also a signal that some online media ventures are finally perceived as being sophisticated and agile tech companies, as well.

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Parse.ly, March 17, 2014

How to make the most of your newsroom resources

It’s more important than ever before for newsrooms to find nuances that previously might have been overlooked. The media industry is in the midst of a shift, and while discussions on business models and the importance of metrics are an important starting point, how can organizations dive deeper and find answers that will help them rise above the status quo?

With our quarterly Authority Report, we search for those nuances and insights that, without analysis of industry-wide data, would be hidden. For our latest report, we examine the how a news site’s topic coverage area affects a newsroom’s resources and audience consumption habits.

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Parse.ly, March 4, 2014

Yahoo Moves to Secure Search: A Quick Summary of Dark Traffic

In October, Parse.ly ran a study on the amount of “dark” search Google was sending to publishing websites. The SEO world was, understandably, shaken up by the news. There was a silver lining for publishers though: because news websites are in the business of creating relevant content on a continuous basis, they weren’t as hard hit as some businesses that relied on SEO for customer acquisition (like this case of Tutorspree).

That doesn’t mean news websites don’t need to know how their search traffic is doing. And now, another thorn in the side of SEO has sprung up. Yahoo is moving to secure search by default, which means that the referral will be considered “Direct” traffic. Sites will only be able to see that their readers came from any Yahoo property if their search directs them to another secure site (Any page with an https:// in the URL).

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Parse.ly, January 30, 2014

How the Facebook News Feed Changes Have Affected Traffic to News Websites

Last month, as we were putting together our Authority Report, we noticed that Facebook has been inching its way up our top twenty-five referrers list.

Authority Report Top 25 Referrers

Facebook is now listed behind Google as the number one external referrer to all Parse.ly news websites (over 5 billion pageviews, hundreds of media properties).

We, along with some of our astute Authority Report subscribers, wondered if this could be due to the recent changes made to Facebook’s news feed, accounting for higher-quality links. In the past few months, sites like Buzzfeed reported seeing a huge increase in traffic from Facebook. Many publishers wondered what it all meant for the industry.

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Parse.ly, December 19, 2013

Which Metrics Matter for Digital Publishers?

Last week, Sam Petulla, who writes for Content.ly’s Content Strategist blog, posted an interview with OpenNews Fellow Brian Abelson, who spent a year embedded within The New York Times organization. In the interview, Abelson discusses how The Grey Lady thinks (or doesn’t) about data.

“At The Times, there’s no sense that it’s worth their while to use data to make decisions on editorial content. If there were, it would be in context of putting data in front of the people who can make decisions rather than the data making decisions for itself. There will always be this line between the editor and the information and the data.”

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Parse.ly, December 10, 2013

Giving Thanks for Parse.ly Team Retreats

What does “giving thanks” mean to you?

Maybe it’s the turkey, the travel, or the “still sitting at the “kids” table” aspect of this holiday.

Regardless of which slice pie you end up with (pecan! pumpkin!), we can all agree there is something to be thankful for, whether it’s family, friends, or maybe even something at work.

Here at Parse.ly, we’re thankful for our bi-annual corporate retreats.

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Parse.ly, November 25, 2013

Getting Your News From Social

Recently, the Pew Research Center’s Journalism Project released a study that concluded that news consumption on Facebook was common, but incidental to users. Today, Pew released findings from the same study regarding Twitter users consumption of news. As part of our Authority Report, Parse.ly tracks the incoming referral traffic to over five billion pageviews for news websites. So we thought we’d take a look at the data from our side.

Below we selected a few findings from the report and took a look from the publisher side.

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Parse.ly, November 4, 2013

Data, Journalists, and Learning to Code for the Newsroom

Recently the topic of coding for journalists has been a subject of debate, from The Atlantic’s “Should Journalism Schools Require Reporters to ‘Learn Code’? No” to Noah Veltman’s “On journalism and learning to code (again)”.

PandoDaily even crafted this handy flowchart for journalists:


(Source: Flowchart: Should journalists learn to code? PandoDaily)

Parse.ly’s core mission is making data consumable and actionable for news editors, so we understand this challenge. How can newsrooms use more data and coding to create better journalism?

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Parse.ly, October 29, 2013