On the Love Shrewsbury site we average around four new articles per day, over weeks and months this is a lot of content. What is really key for us is knowing what content is popular so that we can target specific events and topics that we know will engage our readers.
We have two main ways of gathering data, firstly through Google Analytics and secondly through our trending data.
Google analytics gives us a huge amount of data, from where people have come from geographically, how they found the site on the Internet and how long they spent on the site. We can gather reports of popular articles over a given time period so that we can see which are the most popular.
Through Google Analytics we also have access to real time stats. These are useful for when an article goes viral on Facebook or Twitter as we can react quickly and interact with the community to build a relationship with our reader base.
Statistical data is especially important for seeing how successful a particular article or campaign has been. For instance if certain articles have a higher proportion of online shares we can measure the social impact of an article and compare to other traffic sources such as search engines. If we’ve promoted articles using Facebook ads or promoted Tweets we can measure the impact in real time as well as over longer periods.
Trending data is collected by Love Shrewsbury rather than a third party and is used to show which articles are currently the most popular. Its calculated based on the number of hits an article receives. A score is generated and then halved every three hours (ie a half life) so that we only see current popular articles rather than popular articles of all time. Twitter and the BBC use similar calculations when showing their trending data.
This data then forms the basis for our trending page and our weekly newsletter
By keeping a close eye on both our analytical and trending data Love Shrewsbury are able to not only provide great quality content but interact and establish a vibrant and lively community using social media.