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How to keep track of your digital magazine metrics performance

Team PaperLit


Choosing to publish digital magazines already puts you at an advantage if you want to track certain digital magazine metrics.

To begin, you have to ask yourself how you want to distribute your publication. Do you want to distribute your magazine publicly through a web reader on your website, or perhaps distribution within a newsstand app would be preferable?

Whatever, the case, you will be able to track metrics through them. You can do it with app stores, Google Analytics, or even third party software that specializes in app or digital magazine analytics.


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The way you distribute your magazine won’t necessarily limit your metric-gathering capabilities. What’s more important, though, is what you want to use these metrics for. With this in mind, let’s get started.

1. Set your goals

It’s unlikely that you started your digital magazine on a whim, without focus or vision in mind. For most, of course, it’s to make money. But to be able to make money, you need to be good at what you do. That’s where your goals come in. They factor in specifics and timelines.

Do you want to become the leading Arabic-language magazine for luxury sports cars? How do we do that? You can start by looking at competitors. How many readers or subscribers do they have? Perhaps the first step is to capture subscribers at their expense. Say 25% of their total subscribers in the first three years. Now, you have a number to work towards, and the rest of the metrics can be shaped based on that.

2. Pick the most important indicators for you

Once you already have your overarching goal for your magazine, it’s time to trickle this down to more specific goals that will allow you to reach your overall goal. This is what will be tracked in real-time on a daily or even hourly basis. But don’t worry. You don’t have to hire someone to look at the numbers all the time. Distributing digitally allows you to automatically track metrics that you need.

Taking the previous example of capturing a share of the Arabic-speaking automobile magazine subscriber market, you’ll want more specific digital magazine metrics. If you have a newsstand app, some metrics of interest that are tracked by Google Play include installs per active device, daily installs and daily uninstalls.

If you are already in the growth stage of your magazine, then maybe you’re looking at indicators such as revenue within a certain time period and total revenue.

3. Set benchmarks

Setting benchmarks depends on past experience. You need to find the average for a certain time period and use that as the benchmark. For example, if you have an average of 100 new app installs monthly in the last quarter, then you can set that as your benchmark to surpass for the next.

However, for those starting a new magazine, there’s no past data to base their benchmarks on. In this case, set the first time period as your observation stage and record your indicators. These can then be used as your first starting benchmarks that you can work towards surpassing as you move forward.

4. Define timelines

Goals without timelines are just dreams. You need to be able to set a certain time limit or time frame to achieve certain milestones or goals. Timelines push your team to achieve certain indicators before the deadline expires and allows them to examine their performance.

5. Revisit, revise, repeat

Finally, after a certain time period and you have your results from your indicators, you can assess how well your digital magazine has performed. Here it’s important to ask: how far are you to reaching your overall goal? Are the indicators in line with achieving that realistically? Is the overall goal itself realistic in the first place?

After, you can adjust what you need to and implement what you’re missing. It could be something in your content or maybe more investments in advertising or perhaps a readjustment of your overall goal. And now… repeat!

The key is continuous improvement

Don’t track metrics just for the sake of it. Firstly, they have to be vital for reaching your overall goals. Secondly, you have to work towards surpassing your benchmarks. Finally, you need to understand the meaning behind your numbers and act accordingly.