What exactly is CPI and how can it help with your content?

More and more often, journalists and content creators are finding themselves tasked with targets to hit. With so many different topics, content types and publications out there, though, not all content is necessarily capable of achieving the same fixed goal. But varied content is important: while stories about Kim Kardashian might guarantee more overall reads than stories about dry-sounding political topics, for example (which generally don’t come with the promise of a famous rear end), even the most die-hard celebrity fan will have admit that there has to be room for other subjects.

Introducing CPI

As Content Insights founder Dejan Nikolic has said, ‘Single metric evaluations that are practised today (page-views, unique visitors, time spent or combinations) create an environment where writers are incentivised to pursue metrics instead of stories.’

With traditional ways of measuring, where what matters most is pageviews and impressions, what’s the incentive for a writer in a competitive market or a struggling publication to cover anything but what’s most popular at the time?

‘Single metric evaluations that are practised today create an environment where writers are incentivised to pursue metrics instead of stories.’

To counter this, Content Insights has come up with CPI (Content Performance Indicator), an algorithm that is at the heart of the groundbreaking tool. Its aim is not only to measure how content is performing – moving away from the more shallow metrics and aiming for a more well-rounded picture of how people are actually engaging with the writing – but also a fair way of measuring the content that appears on a site.

How is it calculated?

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Editorial analytics
Find out more about the analytics tool made for editors by editors

CPI takes into account more than 100 metrics on each piece of content it looks at, but that doesn’t just mean adding their values together to get the result. Rather, CPI looks at the relation between the metrics collected from clicks and social signals for a piece of content, and compares these with the average across the site or section. The importance of those ratios are weighted according to the website’s goals, and scored against the site’s averages. There are three ways they can be weighted: exposure (for an advertising model), engagement/attention (for a native advertising model) and loyalty (for a subscription model).

CPI is scored between 1 and 1,000, with 500 representing the average for whatever is being measured (website, section, author or topic).

So, if the goal is retention and engagement, and the relation between pageviews and actions that show engagement (comments, reading other articles, return visits, and so on) is lower than the website average, the score will have a negative impact on the CPI, and vice-versa.

What does this mean for writers and editors?

Using data to evaluate the success of a piece of content is useful to both editors and journalists, in that it can help to inform future articles and strategy by showing, at the most basic level, what works and what doesn’t.

If the performance of your articles is based on a handful of shallow metrics, then the value of the content is skewed

Dejan Nikolic discussing editorial analytics and Content Insights
Content Insights
‘It’s time to change the way we think about editorial analytics.’

Obviously, this can be worrying for journalists, given that while a variety of material needs reporting on, someone is going to get the juicier stories while others may be working on the less viral (but equally, or more, relevant) pieces. If the performance of these articles is based on a handful of shallow metrics, then the value of the content is skewed.

As data is used more and more to measure pieces, it is important to find a fair way of scoring the content – one that takes the context, the audience and a range of metrics into account. With CPI, journalists can monitor how their content is performing for the audience it’s aimed at, and how it’s faring against the metrics that matter. With this information, writers can learn how their audience behaves and the kind of content that audience wants to read. Ultimately, it allows them to create more relevant, more thoroughly read content, without exchanging values for cheap clicks.

To find out more about how Content Insights could work for your company, get in touch via the Content Insights website

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