Measuring blogs: The New, the Best, the Odd, the Linked and the Forgotten

Social media measurement should take into account that there are different types of blog posts with different readers, expectations and usage patterns.

In seminars I often employ a little number play and compare how many people are reading e.g. a German food magazine and how many people are reading a blog on the same topic. More often than not the blog wins.

But then again this comparison is fundamentally flawed because both media - the magazine and the blog - are consumed in very different ways. Magazines come in issues. This sounds simple, but has serious consequences for measuring reach. Here, only the last issue counts. It does not count how often older issues are read.

Blogs are different. First, there are no issues but only atoms - single entries, which are updated in a more or less regular way. But when counting the reach or success of a blog, there are at least five types of blog posts that are important to measure:

  1. The New: When measuring the visitors or page impressions of a blog, new articles always appear on the first places. They are shown on the top of the blog’s title page and are feed through the RSS readers to your subscribers. But they lose impace, the longer the intervall you are measuring. When measuring a single day’s success, blog posts written on this day will almost certainly have the most visitors. But if you’re analysing a whole month, it can look very different.
  2. The Best: Every blog has posts that have something special to them, may it be a very brilliant formulation, a great heading or summing up a long discussion. Those posts also rank very high because they are linked by other blogs or appear at the top in search requests.
  3. The Odd: Every day, blog posts get hits, that are old and do not belong to your top posts. This is because someone did a search and Google put your post very high because it appears to be very relevant to the terms.
  4. The Linked: Sometimes another blogger, maybe a prominent one, is linking to an oder entry of your blog. Suddenly there is a lot of traffic to a post that is already a few months old.
  5. The Forgotten: This is the rest of your blog. All those blog posts that rest hidden in the depths of your blog’s archive. But they can be rediscovered and join the categories of the odd or the linked.

Social Media Measurement should reflect those different types of blog posts in their methodology because it may be the case that they represent different blog readers, expectations and usage patterns. This could also be an important typology for optimizing social media marketing campains and for targeting advertising campaigns on blogs. Do you need to focus on the new, the best, the odd or the linked?

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