When measuring site traffic, one number isn’t enough

Media managers have long had access to simple statistics about their product’s consumption. Newspaper publishers, for example, have relatively easy access to circulation figures. But more detailed information about consumption habits traditionally has only been available via extensive research, often from outside providers.

That is far from the case online, though. Free blogging platforms track statistics as do most media-sharing sites such as YouTube or Flickr. Rare is the service that even charges to get such information. And free services such as Google Analytics allow anyone with a website insight into how content is being consumed.

But knowing how to interpret those data can be a difficult task. In fact, some argue that all of this data isn’t necessarily a good thing if nobody knows what it means. James Robinson, director of web analytics at The New York Times, is quoted as saying that all of this data is useless if it’s not being used to learn about how people are engaging with content. He said “it’s not about the data, it’s about the insights….it’s not about the page views or click-throughs – it’s about making New York Times customers happy.”

Read the rest at Explorations in New Media

By Andrew Chavez

Andrew Chavez is a Web specialist at the Dallas Morning News. Before joining the News, he worked at the Austin American-Statesman and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.