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Plus Report - By Thomas Baekdal - November 2020

A guide to analytics for independent journalists

2020 has been a really exciting year for independent journalists, and it's a topic that I have covered extensively here on Baekdal Plus.

Back in September, I wrote about the business models and the overall strategies that you should think about, in: "What business model should independent journalists and creators use?"

Then in October, we took a much deeper look at how to actually do this, by focusing on the tactics, in: "What tactics should independent journalists know before starting something new?"

But today, in this 25-page article, we are going to talk about analytics. Because, as an independent journalist, the analytics that you need to focus on are going to be very different from what you are used to.

So, let's talk about this in detail.

Note: Before we start, this guide is not a how-to instruction for how to implement a specific analytics platform. I will not tell you how to use Google Tag Manager or Adobe Analytics, nor how to add scripts to your site. There are thousands of articles about this on the internet. This article instead focuses on what to measure, and how to think of the metrics you need.

Traditional media focuses on mass-market analytics

One of the biggest differences between the type of analytics we do as independent publishers and the type used by big publishers is that their analytics are often defined around scale and a mass-market focus. Meaning that, as a publisher, you use metrics that measure your audience as a mass, rather than as individuals.

What I'm talking about here are metrics like pageviews, bounce rates, avg. time on site, referrals, and all the other 'normal metrics' that you see everywhere. These are all mass-market metrics that only really make sense when you have a lot of volume. As a small independent publisher, you have a different focus.

I talked about this in my first article, where I outlined how much traffic you need to make $60,000 per year.

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Thomas Baekdal

Founder, media analyst, author, and publisher. Follow on Twitter

"Thomas Baekdal is one of Scandinavia's most sought-after experts in the digitization of media companies. He has made ​​himself known for his analysis of how digitization has changed the way we consume media."
Swedish business magazine, Resumé


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