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Time spent or time well spent — how to think about Web traffic

The search for meaningful digital audience metrics took a turn for the better in 2014 when Chartbeat and others began touting time spent and engagement as a superior measure to uniques and page views.

In recent months, though, time spent is coming in for criticism of its own as too blunt a metric that shortchanges brief and engaging news summaries and potentially rewards time-wasters like clickbait photo galleries.  The newer audience metrics question is now whether “time well spent” can be quantified.

(Screenshot/chartbeat.com)

(Screenshot/chartbeat.com)

An opening shot in this little counter-revolution was fired last September by Cory Bergman, general manager of MSNBC’s Breaking News site and a former member of Poynter’s National Advisory Board. For a service like his built around speed and compact  summaries, Bergman said, he would rather focus on “time saved”  rather than time spent.

Good measures of that are tricky, Bergman conceded but he thinks combining a count of daily active users, retention/churn, app stores reviews and other indicators should give “a good sense of how well we are meeting consumer needs.”

Serial digital entrepreneur Jim Brady sounded a similar theme at Poynter’s NAB meeting earlier this month when he said his new BillyPenn.com site aims for “time well spent” reader satisfaction. Read more

from Poynter. http://ift.tt/1ErlTv1

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