Why Parse.ly Is a Better Choice for Media Orgs When It Comes to Content Analytics

Editorial teams at media organizations who are serious about hitting their business goals and objectives while engaging readers need proactive, strategic data at their disposal. 

What they don’t need are reactive, distracting features and metrics that some content analytics providers offer.

Media titans like The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, NFL, NBA, Nine Entertainment, NBC Universal, Conde Nast, and hundreds more upgraded to Parse.ly because of the actionable insights our platform provides. 

Parse.ly is the leading analytics platform built for content creators, writers, and editorial teams at media organizations

Using Parse.ly, teams go beyond simple dial-watching and “vanity metrics”—pretty numbers with little substance or meaning behind them. Instead, they take deeper dives into data, without sacrificing accessibility or suffering “persistent distractions.” 

Parse.ly offers the intelligence newsrooms crave to work smarter and more efficiently. That includes learning what topics have the longest shelf-life and analyzing editorial trends to keeping teams focused on reader engagement.

Let’s take a closer look at why you need Parse.ly in your analytics toolkit.

Serious problems with other content analytics providers 

It’s understandable if you’re underwhelmed with your current analytics tool. Many solutions throw up unreliable, incomplete, or simply inaccurate data, leaving you scratching your head at understanding content performance. 

Pay attention to the following features and challenges when you’re evaluating analytics providers and their solutions:

Concurrents as background noise

Media companies need real-time data to react quickly to trending topics, but tools that focus too heavily on real-time metrics often provide only a very general view of traffic. Concurrents and similar analytics metrics—telling you how many users are on your site right now—offer little in the way of actionable insights. 

They can lull you into thinking you’re seeing the be-all and end-all of content performance. A post might put up big Concurrents numbers for an hour or a day—“Wow, 5K+! Woo hoo!”—but that doesn’t tell you whether it’s driving tangible business results or how this performance connects to historical trends. Without context, you’re left guessing if today’s numbers are cause for celebration or concern.

“[It’s] a persistent distraction on virtually every editor’s screen, jittering and fluttering with Concurrents and trending content,” says Vox SVP Analytics Jeff Chin. “With every media company feeling the pressure to iterate, diversify, and experiment with the next business model, now is not the time to be distracted.”

Concurrents also lump together both active and inactive users (more than two hours idle) on your site at any given moment into a single data point. So aside from being distracting, they’re also inaccurate.

Time-wasting headline tests

Improving reader engagement by A/B testing article headlines sounds like a good idea until you peel back the onion to see if it makes any difference. Some providers conclude tests after a scant 20 minutes (which doesn’t inspire statistical significance or confidence) or confoundingly pick “a headline winner” from near identical choices (hardly conclusive).

Parse.ly, in fact, deprecated headline testing after customer feedback and analyzing results made it clear any engagement “lift” was minimal or non-existent. Worse, the exercise was often simply a waste of time.

“Headline testing did get editors engaged in coming up with alternatives. But the lift, at best a couple of percentage points in clickthrough rate, wasn’t worth the massive effort,” says Stephanie Schwartz, head of trainings at Parse.ly, recalling her previous role at a media company. “There we had a single employee dedicated to running headline tests. This took time away from working on other projects, including writing, editing, and promoting stories—the lifeblood of a media organization.”

Parse.ly is all about useful and contextual real-time analytics and insight for editors and writers

Rather than focusing solely on “what’s happening this second,” Parse.ly puts things in perspective. It lets you see real-time data in the context of historical data, connecting “right now” to past trends—so you’re not caught off guard with understanding how your readers are reacting

Unlike analytics providers that only look at “what’s happening right now” on your site, even if that encompasses only a tiny number of visitors, Parse.ly’s real-time reporting takes a more statistically significant approach

That means looking at analytics performance over broader windows, ranging from, for example, “right now” through the past 24 hours. Doing this means you won’t skew your perception of what’s important by relying on a marginal visitor count

  • Pulses: With Parse.ly, if you’re caught in a meeting or away from your desk, you can go back and see Pulses—real-time data that measures your current site readership—from 10 minutes, 30 minutes, two hours ago, and so on.
  • Prioritization: Parse.ly gives you the flexibility to decide what time window, what filters, and what metrics you want to prioritize—and get the answers to all of those things in seconds—rather than being straightjacketed into a single, rigid perspective, take it or leave it.
  • Preparation: Historical insights are built into the Parse.ly platform, meaning your team isn’t caught flat footed when traffic spikes happen—they can compare now to previous trends and maximize the impact of editorial actions they take accordingly. 

3 reasons customers upgrade from other content analytics providers to Parse.ly

Teams who want more proactive, strategic data—instead of reactive, distracting metrics and features—move to Parse.ly, part of the WordPress VIP platform. They get better intelligence and insight concerning the content they produce.

1. They can tie metrics to business goals

We know how publishers operate and what they need to succeed in a challenging industry. 

Basing KPIs on superficial metrics distracts from what builds your business. That’s why Parse.ly shows you the metrics that directly reflect business goals. This is of critical importance to management and the C-Suite, who want to know they’re investing wisely in content campaigns and driving the bottom line.

  • Get the whole team looking at the same set of meaningful metrics—set the default metrics for users, so everyone rallies around the intelligence that ties into business values. 
  • Unlock analytics across your organization to promote self-service and adoption—as well as freeing up time for analysts bogged down by report-pulling. 
  • Explore historical data beyond three months to see your trends over time—get robust historical reporting so you can understand trends over time and set smart goals.

2. They can share valuable data to the whole organization

Parse.ly users extend far beyond the newsroom. 

Analysts, native ad sales teams, marketing departments, and data or product teams benefit from easy access to real-time and historical content data.

“Not only can I see what’s working now and why, but I can also use the reporting functionality to analyze large data sets for useful strategies in the months to come. With Parse.ly, there’s no danger of taking the wrong lessons from a single article that goes viral, because you can quickly examine your entire body of work in any analysis.”

— Analytics director

3. They can personalize content for audiences

Parse.ly provides much more than a dashboard. Use audience attention data collected by the platform to power content personalization on-site or in email. 

  • Keep your website’s content relevant without thinking about it—leverage data Parse.ly collects to automate content personalization and recommendations on your site.
  • Prove your relationship with your audience—headlines are a test of your marketing prowess but engagement and loyalty are true tests of your relationship with your audience.

Don’t be yesterday’s news by relying on superficial metrics.

In summary, Parse.ly is the analytics platform built for content creators, writers, and editorial teams at media organizations. 

Parse.ly gives you the tools to focus on your content strategy, prove content value, and deliver tailored content experiences that drive meaningful results. Writers and marketers using Parse.ly don’t have to turn to the analyst team for answers—they can be data-driven themselves.

With Parse.ly, you get accurate, real-time and historical data that you can trust. Plus, Parse.ly gives you insights into your audience that other content analytics platforms simply can’t provide. Want to learn more?