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Executive Report - By Thomas Baekdal - August 2011

Identifying Your Real Readers, Not Just Traffic

When it comes to web analytics, we have no idea how many people actually read an article, nor how many of our visitors consider themselves to be readers.

Here is a simple question. How many readers do you have? Real readers? Not unique visitors or other misleading statistics.

Several newspapers have studied how many of their readers who are willing to pay for news. the result was that about 5% say they would. But when you look at what actually happens online we are not reaching 5%:

That is nowhere near 5%.

Part of the problem is probably the way the surveys were made. The newspapers would call people and ask, "are you a reader of New York Times?" and if people said yes they would ask, "would pay for online news?"

They are only asking the people who consider themselves to be readers. If you just picked a copy of the New York Times while waiting for the train, you don't consider yourself a reader. A reader is someone who reads the paper on a regular basis.

The 5% is probably right. The question is just ...5% of what?

When it comes to web analytics, we have no idea how many people actually read an article-nor how many of our visitors consider themselves to be readers.

Real readers are a combination of several things. It is a person who sees several articles, read the articles (as opposed to just clicking on them), comes back often and is not referred from another site.

Let's analyze these one by one.

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What is Baekdal?

Baekdal is a magazine for media professionals, focusing on media analysis, trends, patterns, strategy, journalistic focus, and newsroom optimization. Since 2010, it has helped publishers in more than 40 countries, including big and small publishers like Condé Nast, Bonnier, Schibsted, NRC, and others, as well as companies like Google and Microsoft.

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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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