- February 19, 2016 - Brookings.edu - Solving journalism’s hidden problem: Terrible analytics
- March 31, 2016 - Poynter.org - Shorter isn’t better, photos aren’t always alluring and deep digging pays off, recent report concludes
After two years work analyzing more than 400,000 stories, the American Press Institute is beginning to find general patterns in what works to attract and hold the attention of digital readers.
- Long stories do fine and are read thoroughly, as much so on phones as any other device. In the API sample, stories longer than 1,200 words, got 23 percent more engagement, 45 percent more social referrals and 11 percent more pageviews.The received wisdom about keeping digital posts short, Rosenstiel said, may have applied to desktop browsing at work, but so much reading has shifted to smartphones. Readers see the phone as their device and their time to use as they wish.
- ... photos had no impact on engagement with stories on food and dining — a very popular category these days. Looking for a place to go out for dinner, for instance, is a "hunter-gatherer" activity where pictures may seem to be beside the point.
- Majors enterprise stories are highly valued — scoring 48 percent better in engagement, but they account for only 1 percent of content produced. Of course, reduced resources together with the time required for major work limit the number of these stories. And another related finding was discouraging — doing just a little more than a very basic news story — what Rosenstiel calls "light enterprise" — didn't improve engagement at all.
From the Brookings.edu link
- People like long stories - The conventional wisdom that writing for the web needs to be short and fast simply is not true.
- The power of photos, audio, and video - Stories presented with a photo scored 19 percent higher in engagement than stories without photos. Stories with multiple photos scored 43 percent higher.
- Crime as a staple of local reporting - Across the data set, crime ranked with food and dining as the topics audiences engaged with most. But in a digital world, what works best is somewhat different than it may have been previously. For instance, crime briefs—the classic police blotter of small incidents—do not perform well online.
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