Originally, it only used Adobe Analytics for the ecommerce side of its business, ShopStyle, but has since expanded its use to editorial.
“We went from having a small amount of people that had the knowledge, to everyone being able to find out the right data that makes sense for their jobs,” George said. “Implementing analytics across our content business gave us far more intelligence about what was working and what our audience was responding to.”
PopSugar also uses its own proprietary formula, the PopSugar engagement score, to evaluate the success of an article. Its engagement score takes in three metrics: visits, time spent and shares. Because each metric represents deeper engagement with the content, PopSugar can flag articles that get many visits but have low time spent, for example.
This engagement score allows for a more nuanced understanding of successful articles. Some types of stories – like articles about weight loss or pregnancy – aren’t often shared because they’re personal, George said, so it’s better to look at time spent. Similarly, celebrity couple stories are something “people like to indulge in, but they don’t like to share.”
PopSugar uses APIs to plug in all of its distribution channels like Facebook and Pinterest and measure content performance off-site. While the rise of multiple distribution channels makes it tough to get a holistic view of content performance and audience, PopSugar prefers that complexity to the risk of relying on one channel.
“It’s smart to optimize your content based on how people consume it and where you get uplift, but you don’t want to base your business model on one platform or metric,” George warned. “There are publications raising millions of dollars today that are doing that, and I think it’s dangerous.”