The click is better than the impression. As a metric, it gives us more clarity. In the past few years, every online experience or product has been optimized for clicks, and brands have A/B tested and adjusted in search of the best headline, image, and tone of voice. But the click’s reign may slowly be coming to an end.
As marketers and publishers become more sophisticated, companies have looked beyond the click for something more meaningful. Brands and publishers don’t just want you to go to a page, they want you to stay on site and remain there.
You can see that gradual shift all over digital media. In 2018, Quartz redesigned its site, specifically to improve time spent. The New Yorker ranked its 25 most popular stories by time, not readers. Reddit started wooing brands as it topped Facebook in time on site. YouTube creators even started posting longer videos to increase time metrics favored by the platform’s algorithm.
In December, it was clear the industry was shifting toward deepening relationships with audiences and keeping them around. The Nieman Lab at Harvard University noted that many publishers had set pageviews aside in 2018, opting instead to focus on quality time and time on site.
For all of those reasons and more, the metric of the year is time.
Time is money
Every marketer should find a way to tie content to revenue. But getting there requires a gradual process, and there are different checkpoints to hit along the way. Time-bound data offers marketers a path to the hard ROI they crave.
Time your audience spends on your site is an indicator of a deepening relationship, which you can’t capture if you’re just focusing on gathering readers or their impressions. As Contently’s head of strategy Joe Lazauskas is fond of saying, if content doesn’t help the user enjoy their lives more or do their jobs better, it probably sucks. Bad content is relative, though, so the tricky part is knowing what to measure.
Let’s say 100,000 people visited a brand blog last month. You might look at that big, shiny number and conclude that you’ve created something fantastic. But if most of that traffic comes from one piece of content that took off, odds are time spent will be down relative to your average post. Also, most of those people probably won’t come back if they’re coming from a wave of social momentum or a press mention. You can bet your site’s engagement metrics won’t seem as sexy the next month.
Now let’s look at a different brand blog that gets 50,000 readers per month. A lower aggregate number, but with a better balance of traffic. The audience comes regularly, and they spend more time with the content than the first company’s audience. This team is actually closer to proving ROI, but there are some people who will fixate on the big number and think otherwise.
When your data shows that people stay with your content and come back for more regularly, that signals …read more
Read more here:: contently.com