Are you really watching the right metrics? | Kurt Gessler, Chicago Tribune

News organizations are drowning in analytics data, but not all of it is very helpful. Focus on the ones that can help grow an audience.

  • When it comes to search traffic, look at competitive keywords and phrases -- not the organization's name, but what topics people are searching for that leads them to the website. For example, many people search the Chicago Bears and get to the Chicago Tribune.

  • For email newsletters, look at engagement by format. The Tribune changed from a need-to-know to a nice-to-know model of sharing news.

  • A Facebook audience has a different taste than a main website's audience. Also, focus less on volume and more on quality in Facebook.

  • For Twitter, it's quantity over quality, as long as the posts are spaced out. Longer tweets get more engagement, and organizations should limit retweets of other accounts to grow the brand.

  • Remember: News is the largest driver of traffic.