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Why loyalty is the great equalizer of content metrics

It always comes back to metrics. We’ve written on which metrics matter, which ones might not, and there’s been extensive debate from others on the same topic. Digital content teams are investing to understand their metrics – the Association of Online Publishers found that 89% of their survey respondents planned to grow their investment in data technology in the coming year.

We’re not surprised; in fact, we’re encouraged, as organizations are starting to really understand the value in data. However, the investment won’t end up being worth it for those content teams if they don’t use using those numbers to make better decisions.

What’s one way to make sure you’re capitalizing on your analytics and data spend? Understanding what makes a reader loyal. Reader loyalty can put all other metrics in context, and show you how valuable your audience thinks your content is.

Why is loyalty the equalizing metric?

How do you buy a car? Depends what you want to get out of it, right? If you’re a NASCAR racer, you want very different things than if you are a family of five. One might look at horsepower and weight, the other at safety features and MPG. Neither of these are incorrect metrics to evaluate the car on, they’re both in context of the goals of the driver.

However – you know the car works for the driver if they use it over and over again to get the job done.

Publishers have different goals as well. Some have content that needs readers to stop by just for a moment, get their info and leave. Some have longform, in-depth pieces that require readers to stick around. Others want socially viral content. But a good indicator that each of these publishers reached their goal is: did the reader come back again?

This month in our Authority Report, we examine loyalty of readers across our entire network of hundreds of publishers and billions of page views. This study found that average site has 11% of their visitors returning more than once in a 30 period.

That’s a metric we encourage publishers to rally around. We encourage them to invest in that metric. Understanding what those 11% read, do and see versus the other 89% could be the highest ROI you’ve seen yet.