Parse.ly U

Michigan State University: Stating the facts from MSU’s spring semester

Using Parse.ly this past semester has allowed our newsroom to more closely monitor what our readers want and more importantly, how they want it. Because we were able to adapt to what our readers like — such as shorter articles, more visuals, and more easily readable news snippets — our page views were on average higher than they had been last year.

Parse.ly allows us to better understand our audience and tailor our posts to days and times when they have the best chance for engagement.

One of the more useful features of Parse.ly was the ability to run custom reports. Each week we not only looked at what was most popular, but also looked at what posts were the least popular. During our fall training, Sarah Frank, a former State News student journalist and current executive producer at NowThis News, talked to us about how they rate their stories into two categories - Bonkers (posts that do well) and Clunkers (posts that do poorly). She said it was important to identify the least popular posts to identify why they did poorly and how to improve in the future.

We started this same type of report at the State News and the newsroom really responded to it.

In this particular case 5 of the 10 Clunkers were published on a Friday. Which is typically not a high traffic day for the State News. But also the type of stories were not particularly the most engaging either for those five Friday stories.

Parse.ly allows us to better understand our audience and tailor our posts to days and times when they have the best chance for engagement.

Overall, Parse.ly helped us do what many other news organizations are constantly trying to do — figure out what our readers really want, and giving them more of that, while trimming the fat on working to produce stories that might not be as popular. I know too that giving the students an opportunity to use a professional level product will help them as they are looking for jobs after graduation.

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