What is Chartbeat, and how did you and your team get started in this field?
Chartbeat is real-time data. Our in-depth data science and algorithms translate complex website, mobile, and social data into simple, actionable tools. Chartbeat’s dashboards, APIs and onsite heads-up displays are used by everyone from Starbucks and BarackObama.com to Fab.com and The New York Times.
Chartbeat launched in April of 2009, and it changed the way people look at data — moving information out of the back office and Excel reports and into the hands of the people who can take action. Chartbeat Publishing, which provides real-time data for big-time publishers like Fox News and The Wall Street Journal, launched in 2011.
How should the marketing/advertising industry utilize Chartbeat to create either better end results or enhance in-house performance?
We marketers tend to look at historical data to watch trends over long periods of time, then use that to plan what we want to accomplish over the next quarter or year. While having long-term goals is important, it’s also important to focus on right now. If there’s anything we’ve learned from the social web, it’s that we can’t predict what’s going to happen tomorrow or even five minutes from now — let alone how the rapidly growing social world will react to it.
Chartbeat prepares you for those unpredictable moments. We learn the ordinary for your brand — audience behavior, traffic patterns, depth of engagement — so we can alert you when something is extraordinary. Sudden bursts of traffic to your site or a conversation blowing up about your brand can only last a few minutes, or a few hours if you’re lucky. We give you the tools to be able to react when it’s happening.
When it comes down to it, marketers are doers: people who take action and make change, and they need to see instant results on how that change made a difference. Chartbeat partners with doers to help them take action, make change and see real-time results.
What trends and changes in the market led you to realize that Chartbeat would fill a void?
After we launched, we saw major content sites like TIME and Fox News begin to use our little Chartbeat product. So we watched how they used us. We talked to them about why they joined in the first place. We asked to hang out in their newsrooms to learn the ins and outs of the editorial workflow.
We witnessed the pain points of erroneous and unusable metrics like time on site and page views. Traditional analytics didn’t take into account when users (lots and lots of users) have multiple tabs open. They were all event-based, measuring page loads and clicks. But they couldn’t tell what happened between the clicks — and for anyone with a website, that’s where all the action is.
Chartbeat is state based. We can tell when people are reading your content, scrolling, writing comments, or if they’re idle and not paying attention to you or your content at all. You need to know all that — to know how much and how long people are engaged.
We opened the door with major content sites through Chartbeat Publishing, but we are realizing more and more that these needs are industry agnostic. We are planning on building out services that dive just as deeply into other industries — advertising is at the top of the list.
How do you think brands, content creators and media companies should be using analytics?
We have hundreds of brands — big and small — and thousands of content and media sites using Chartbeat. So the one thing I can say is there’s no one way a brand should be using data. But they absolutely need to be using it if they expect to be in the game. And by “they,” I mean everyone in the organization. And by “using it,” I mean taking immediate action based on it.
Too often companies hold their data in the C-suite or in a permission-only business intelligence dashboard. Data doesn’t work like that anymore. It can’t. Not with the speed at which the Internet is controlling the conversation of your brand.
To passively check in on data means you’re missing out on everything data should be doing for you. The same goes for making it available only to certain people in your organization. Those members of your front line — the team that’s taking action with your online content — are data’s most important audience. Armed with smarter, up-to-date information means they can gather quick insights and take instant action.
The most successful, innovative companies we see are living in an environment of data with actionable information on screens and boards around the office for all to see and put to work. They’re immersed in information that’s constantly being updated, so it can be acted upon before their competition has even realized it’s a potential opportunity.
How is your team experimenting with how to analyze and display large amounts of data?
Most traditional analytics services collect the same incredible amount of information we do, but then just spit it into reports for analysts to sort through and decipher. But because we’re built for editors, developers and marketers — people who take action in real-time — we only deliver the most important data that matter right now.
To do this, our data scientists partner with our engineering and design teams to translate the complex data of websites, mobile apps and social activity to create super-simple, super easy-to-use displays that people can understand at a glance and take on immediately. Front-line teams need to quickly understand exactly what action they need to take to make the biggest impact for their brand, and Chartbeat is there to make it easy.
Lauryn Bennett is Head of Brand for Chartbeat. She guides the brand’s short and long-term strategy from internal cultural principles to communication across all external channels. Prior to Chartbeat, Lauryn worked as a creative strategy consultant for multiple brand agencies and tech startups including Interbrand, CBX, TheLadders, RecycleBank, and Savored, advising brands like AT&T, General Mills, Susan G Komen and Walt Disney Studios.
Originally published Jul 19, 2012 1:00:24 AM, updated July 28 2017