Each chapter contains checklists that allow students to put what they learn into practice and create a portfolio of work. The checklists have been classroom tested in my Mobile and Social Media Journalism course.
This checklist appears in Chapter 6, From the Field: Social Media Engagement and Audience Analytics. The checklist will help you focus on analyzing the most important metrics. You simply need to know where to look, what numbers to look at, and some key questions to ask. At the very least you should check analytics on a weekly basis. Checking data daily is ideal, but not realistic for most reporters. Most newsrooms have a digital team who monitors analytics daily.
It’s best to use this checklist during the course of a semester in which you are posting content on your professional website and are also active on social media. I recommend you first complete the items from the other checklist in Chapter 6. Then, the following analytics checklist will allow you gauge the effectiveness of your posts from the previous checklist.
During each week, for at least six weeks, keep a diary answering the questions below. At the end of this period, write a one-page memo that summarizes what you learned from keeping track of your analytics. Students typically notice that when their social media activity is consistent and social media optimization tactics are used, they receive the most traffic to the stories posted on their websites—and that traffic typically comes from social media, not direct visits to the websites. Just as new outlets are learning, social media activity is a key driver to websites and the overall brand.
Which posts received the most engagement (likes, shares, clicks, and comments)?
What’s unique about those posts versus others? For example, did they include images and
@mentions that could have led to increased engagement?
How many people “like” your page?
Which tweets have the highest engagement rates (retweets, likes, replies, and clicks)?
What’s unique about those tweets versus others? For example, did they include images and @mentions that could have led to increased engagement?
How many total followers?
Notice any days with a spike in traffic? What may have contributed to the increase in views? Is there any relationship between your social media activity that day and the spike in traffic?
What are your top visited posts? Anything unique about those posts that made them the most visited?
Where is your website traffic coming from? How many visitors from each referrer or source? Pay close attention to the number of visitors from social media.
How many total visitors to your website?