Product & Startup Builder

Filtering by Category: "engagement"

Increasing 'Time Spent' and site revenue with Particls

Added on by Chris Saad.
A post on slashdot covers the Buzzmetrics/Neilson news that:

" that one of the largest Net measurement companies, Nielsen/NetRatings, is about to abandon page views as its primary metric for comparing sites. Instead the
company will use total time spent on a site. The article notes, "This is likely to affect Google's ranking because while users visit the site often, they don't usually spend much time there."

Pageviews have been barely useful for quite some time now. As a result, many (including myself with a proposal for AttentStreams and AudientStreams) have called for a change in standard measurements. has even moved to their definition of 'Attention'.

While Time Spent is a little more useful, it is not perfect. For example it does not factor out people who leave pages open in tabs and does not indicate a level of actual interactivity with the page/content/service.

Interestingly though, Particls (the application not the website) has an enormous time-spent value. We average more than 7 hours per user per day of time spent because the application is designed to persist in front of users all day (in the form of a news ticker - and soon - some other interesting presentation styles).

As a result, our publisher partners who distribute white label versions of Particls are experiencing huge jumps in their overall time-spent engaged with their brand, content and advertising.

Learn more about the white label partner program here:

Web Analytics Demystified - Getting there at least

Added on by Chris Saad.
Jermiah, Web strategy guru at PodTech and fellow Media 2.0 Workgroup memeber has a great video interview with Eric Peterson posted on his blog.

They discuss Engagement, Attention an Analytics. Great chat - well worth a watch.

I have previously proposed some new concepts for syndicating Attention analytics information called Audient and Attent Streams which will go a long way in helping us move beyond pageviews and server logs.

I also appreciate Eric's approach of multiple factors for measuring Engagement. Very much like our Personal Relevancy engine, we don't think that any single factor or method is enough for determining the importance of an item to a user - so rather we create a complex algorithm that takes many things into account proportionally.

Check out the interview on Jeremiah's Blog and check out Eric Peterson's consulting company Web Analytics Demystified.

Carefactor: 100

Added on by Chris Saad.

With publishing power ebbing from the few to the many and AJAX killing the postback there are a couple of problems emerging.

  1. Media outlets who make a living by selling eyeballs to advertisers are having to prove the value of their ad space amid growing competition from their readers!
  2. When pages don't refresh (because of AJAX), the number of pageviews a site gets no longer matters. When something no longer works, people are forced to invent something new. When people invent something new they are forced to actually look at the problem. What have they discovered? There is a lot more measure than just 'how many eyeballs are there'. Things like 'how wealthy or influential are the eyeballs', 'how much do the eyeballs trust the publisher', 'how reactive and proactive are the eyeballs in relation to the author' and most importantly 'why do we keep ignoring the person and focusing on their eyeballs'.
  3. Advertisers are finding it hard to work out who to give their money to. Is google really the best broker of my advertising dollars? Which ad network or publisher can promote our brand and product better?

As a result, commentators are abuzz about new definitions and algorithms to measure all this stuff.

Comscore is apparently working on a 'Web 2.0 Metric'.

".....While page views will not altogether cease to be a relevant measure of a site's value, it's clear that there is an increasing need to consider page views alongside newer, more relevant measures. comScore is proud to continue carrying the torch as an industry innovator with the development of a new suite of metrics that will effectively address the Web 2.0 landscape by including enhanced measures of user engagement and advertising exposure. We will be introducing these new metrics to the industry in 2007."

And Jeff Jarvis from BuzzMachine talks about the Distributed Media Economy

So pageviews are obsolete already, thanks to Ajax and other unpage technologies and to the widgetization of content, functionality, and branding: Again, what’s a ‘page’? Audience measurements are obsolete, at last, thanks to the fact that the
former consumer is now also the creator and distributor: What’s an ‘audience’? Mass measurements are dead, thank God, because we are now joyfully fragmented into the mass of niches: Who’s a ‘user’?

Dion Hinchcliffe posts:

"it seems clear that users, businesses, and other organizations that deeply embrace the fundamental nature of the Web as a communications-oriented platform without any single owner except all of us, will be the only ones able to fully exploit the possibilities for online applications."

I find this last quote interesting. "Without any single owner". But I think it needs to be taken further. Media outlets and bloggers alike don't own their audience. In fact they don't even own their participants.

While people are happy to get trapped in walled gardens like MySpace for now, they will soon realize that blogs are the real social network. While they are happy to subscribe to 10, 100, 1000 blogs now, they will start to realize that there is far too much content and they actually need to subscribe to ideas/concepts/interests - not authors.

So perhaps if the audience is not owned by any single site/source then the metric should not be bound to them either. Perhaps the best way to measure engagement is not by domain, but by concept.

An ebb of power from the few to the many...

Added on by Chris Saad.
As you may have noticed, the Touchstone blog is starting to move away from the academics of Attention Management toward the more practical goals of helping people manage their media consumption and business relationships/execution. So in that spirit let’s talk about the mainstream media for a second...

I'm watching Anderson Cooper 360 on CNN at the moment and they have spent TWO segments about the Rosie O’Donnell Vs. Donald Trump publicity stunt feud that is going on right now. Don't know about it? Don't worry it is a pointless waste of time.

Suffice to say there were some inflammatory statements made on both sides and now Donald is threatening to sue Rosie for defamation.

Anderson brought in legal analysts to discuss if Donald had a case etc, etc.

Are you serious? Anderson is the guy who confronted Mary Landriew live on CNN about the governments slow response to Katrina and he is now hosting a lightweight pop culture show!

Perhaps John Stewart said it best when talking about the TIME magazine declaration of 'You' as the people of the year.
In response to the TIME spokesperson's statement that, in regard to Media, "…there has been an ebb of power from the few to the many" Jon Stewart said:
"It's almost as though consumers have moved on because mainstream media has abdicated its responsibility...."

Watch the segment here:

There have been plenty of false statements that deserve legal action in the last few years. Statements that have resulted in the death of thousands of people and massive worldwide unrest. I think Rosie and Donald's little feud does not deserve prime time CNN airtime and legal analysis when those issues are still unresolved.

With the volume of real and valuable information out there about issues that affect our lives, it is my hope that attention management and engagement tools will help users see information that really matters, instead of stupid fluff pieces.

Perhaps, also, those same tools will help publishers/outlets understand the value (in terms of affluence and conversion rates) of participants who prefer real news over the false buzz generated by empty pop culture feuds that chew up valuable air time.

Show me the money (or the pain)...

Added on by Chris Saad.
When you are in a startup that has any sort of visibility investors will always approach you. So having spoken to more than my fair share you start to hear certain patterns in their line of questioning. Some have already realized the growing problem that faces users as information explodes and attention dwindles. Some, however, ask a common investor question… “Where is the pain?".

Let me rephrase it in a few other ways…

What problem is your product solving? Is that problem causing pain in user’s lives? Is it so painful that they would they take time out of their life to try your product? Is your product so good, and the pain so great, that they would change their behavior to use it? Do they NEED you?

Because need creates demand and demand needs a supply. Sounds almost like drugs.

As Rod Tidwell would say from Jerry McGuire - Show me the MONEY!!! Or in this case, "Show me the pain, and the money will follow".

There are many answers to the question of pain when you are talking about a product like Touchstone. You can use all sorts of industry buzzwords that refer to trends that are emerging... things like 'the Long Tail’, ‘Publishing 2.0’, 'Participant Created Media', 'Syndication', 'Information Overload', 'Attention Deficit' and so on...

I have been guilty of using these phrases many times... As I have admitted before I have a problem.

I agree pain is important when it comes to building a high-growth startup - especially if you want to cut through the noise in this increasingly crowded marketplace where everyone is trying to make the next YouTube and Digg.

Cutting through noise, however, is exactly the problem. It is the pain. The volume is increasing. Can't you hear it? If you can't hear it then you are not listening. Chances are, however, if you’re reading this blog you are listening all too well.

You could argue that users - your typical Jon Doe - don't hear it yet. I would argue that there is a growing number of users every day that stop watching TV and start watching YouTube and BitTorrent. There is a growing number of users every day that are starting to read, write and remix the blogosphere and flickr and facebook and youtube and they are not going away.

Some could argue that those users are coming, but in the mean time John Doe is happy to read the local newspaper. Have you heard what's happening to the local newspaper recently? They're being decimated.

Mark Cuban recently suggested something new to save Newspapers - More Content and RSS.

Can you imagine it. Your local newspaper becoming a clearing house for every piece of gossip that happens down the road?

Forget newspapers; what about when every school, golf course, company, employee (etc etc) start publishing content and packaging it in RSS. No wait, they are already starting to.

That is rivers and rivers of content that an increasing percentage of the population is becoming aware of and coming to grips with. When you are drowning in a river, pain is everywhere.

Add to this the pain of keeping all your devices up-to-date and trying to fit some productivity in amongst all that news reading – and you are ready to black out.

What about Publisher pain. I (along with many others) have already mentioned how publishers (particularly newspapers) and broadcasters are hurting as users flee to online, time-shifted, personalied alternatives. Don't they need a way to strengthen their brand and monetize their users? Their shareholders are definitely feeling that pain.

In all this discussion of pain however, people have forgotten to ask about pleasure. But that's a post for another day.

Sounds like there might be a pain looking for a solution.