Election apathy? Real time audiences disagree…

Chartbeat is an amazing tool. Compelling even. Today, watching the real time traffic on our site, it was obvious people were consuming the ‘live’ news on the site more than anything else. 
Visitors were following updated story of the ‘locus in quo’ jury visit to Machynlleth as the April Jones murder trial continued, the live coverage of the Anglesey elections, and the more general breaking news live blog.
This was how early afternoon traffic looked – 

Later in the afternoon, when the court proceedings ended for the day, it looked like this… 

Meanwhile, this was the Most Read widget

Local elections covered live, and covered well, are compelling content and give good dwell time on – more than 3 minutes each – per page in this case  (Anglesey, by the way, bucked the turnout trend – a breakdown of the island’s voting showed: Seiriol 56.1 Talybolion 48.7 Twrcelyn 53 Ynys Cybi 45.7).

Readers of the breaking news live blog typically went on to next read the Anglesey election live blog, and then visited several April Jones articles via the jury visit article). 

Since it launched last October, our live coverage has gone down well with readers, but has had some parts of the industry (people who comment on industry websites, mostly) looking in askance.
The common theme of those unconvinced by the blog is to question where the merit – or the money – is. 
Personally, I think that’s obvious; it‘s what readers value and want. 
We cover stories live, readers stay on our site for longer, are more likely to hop around the site more, and potentially use the social sharing – and that keeps advertisers interested. (Hint: Don’t ask where the money is, ask where the audience is. We have to make sure the money-generators are in the same space…)
Last Spring, as I settled into the job and got down to meeting people, a common complaint was that the website wasn’t updated enough – or at all on a Saturday. 
Now, 12 months on, as I continue to meet people, if the conversation turns to ‘what do you think of the Daily Post?” nine times out of ten the live content will be highlighted, favorably, at some point.
I love the live element of our role, and how it has helped – and continues to help – us change the way we work to meet what the audience wants. 
And, of course, with Chartbeat showing us there are 250-odd people whiling away their day following the real-time updates of a local council election, it means we can make better informed print decisions around our coverage– and promote that coverage accordingly to the online readers. 

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