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The analytic metrics every digital publisher needs to know

Luca Filigheddu


One the major benefits digital publishing has over print is the ability to track the performance of your digital edition in real time.  Digital publishers can collect app analytic metrics from the app stores and analytics from providers like Google Analytics or Flurry to track digital magazine performance and identify benchmarks to define success.

App usage analytics help publishers learn more about their audience and make data-driven decisions to increase profitability. App, publication and monetization metrics can help publishers monitor the health of each issue and optimize app user acquisition, engagement and retention campaigns.

Here are a few basic metrics every digital magazine publisher should track:

App Metrics

App Metrics tell you how your app is performing and how people are interacting with it. Some the main metrics include:

Total Downloads: The amount of times your app in installed, across iOS and Android devices. Tracking downloads across each platforms can help you see trends and identify which platform could benefit from a larger acquisition budget.

New and Active Users: The number of new users to your app and the number of users who are active in the your app for a specific time period. New users refer to people who launched your mobile app for the first time while active users includes all users, both new and returning that have opened your app at least once during a selected time period. Tracking user growth can help you gauge the success of your acquisition & retention campaigns.

Session Length: the average amount of time users spend in your app. While high session lengths indicate that your app is resonating with users, lower than expected session length can help you flag usability issues in your app

Daily Sessions: the amount of sessions per day. Tracking daily sessions can help you see trends in user behavior which can help you determine the best days for publishing new content or what days you may need to ramp up engagement activities, like push notifications.

Retention Rate: the number of users who came back after a defined time period/initial number of users. This percentage can be tracked over days/weeks/months using cohort analysis (in Google Analytics or Flurry). By understanding how many of your users stick around after a week or a month, you can implement engagement campaigns before users abandon your app.

Source: Google

Publication Metrics

These metrics will give you specific insights into the performance and engagement of each one of your digital editions, which can also help you attract advertisers.

Total Downloads: the total number of readers per issue. Knowing how many users download each issue not only help you track revenues to justify your digital spend, but it can also help you pitch to advertisers who will be keen to know how many eyes their see their ads. When total downloads are low use push notifications to bring users back into the app and download the latest issue.

Total Pages Read:  the amount of digital pages read in each issue. This is probably one of the most important KPIs for magazine apps since it tells you how well people are engaging with your content. Tracking the number of pages reads can help you gauge interest in your content as well as flag usability issues if the number is lower than average. Low results can also be an early warning sign to user abandonment (ie. less frequent sessions or deleting your app). Again, setting up a push notification campaign can help remedy this issue and bring readers back to a previously downloaded issue.

Total Time Spent: the average amount of time spent per reader per issue. Just like pages read, time spent can indicate how deeply readers engage with your content and can also help you flag usability and engagement opportunities.

Monetization Metrics

These metrics will give you specific insights into digital revenues of each one of your issues helping you determine your ROI and lifetime value. Here are the basic monetization metrics to get started:

Number of In-App Purchases: the total amount of in-app purchases, segmented by single-issue and subscription sales, for a specific time period or for a specific issue. Tracking the number and type of purchases can help you track your activation rate – the rate at which new app users are converting into paying users.

Total Revenue: the total revenue from in-app purchases, segmented by single-issue and subscription sales, for a specific time period or for a specific issue.  Revenue tracking can help you see where you’re making more money – either with single-issue or subscription sales – so that you can optimize acquisition budgets accordingly.

In summary, you can extract a huge amount of data from magazine reader analytics that you can then benchmark against KPIs and modify future release using these insights.

Learn how Paperlit can help you collect data and see how your audience is interacting with your digital magazine! Request a demo today

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