LAUNCHING THE ENGAGE-O-METER: See How Many People Are Reading Business Insider Right Now!

Photo: Business Insider

Sick of hearing web-sites brag about how much real-time information they have about their readership…without ever sharing that information with you?Ever wondered how many people are reading Business Insider right now?

Ever wondered what Business Insider readers are reading right now?

Well, you’ve come to the right place!

For folks like you, we’re launching THE ENGAGE-O-METER, an awesome new real-time engagement dashboard, which we’ve opened up to everyone.

THE ENGAGE-O-METER is powered by ChartBeat, a super-cool New York startup that makes analytic tools that many web publishers like us have gotten addicted to.

You can see THE ENGAGE-O-METER on the right side of this page (and every page on Business Insider), a short way down the “right rail.”  The meter measures the number of “active visitors” on the site at any given time. 

If you check the meter frequently, you’ll notice that we have “prime times” and “quiet times,” just like broadcast media. “Prime time” is generally working hours–7am ET to 6pm ET–and “peak prime time” is generally early afternoon. The “quietest” time, meanwhile, is generally late at night (ET). The screenshots we’ve included here are from 6pm, so they’re “quieter” than our primetime hours.

If you click THE ENGAGE-O-METER, moreover, you’ll be able to see a boatload of additional real-time data. This data comes courtesy of ChartBeat’s analytics “dashboard” for Business Insider, which we’ve also opened up to everyone.

(Yes, we realise that most sites frantically guard all this data and that some people will think we’ve made a humongous mistake by opening it up to view. Maybe so. For now, we just thought you might think it was cool. And we’ve taken a pretty open-kimono approach before, and we’re still here, so we figured we might as well continue.)

On the dashboard, you’ll be able to see things like:

MORE DETAIL ON ACTIVE VISITS… (How the current visits compare to the range over the past month, as well as how many of our guests are visiting for the first time this month).


Photo: Business Insider


DETAILS ON WHAT THOSE VISITORS ARE DOING… (Reading, writing, or just hanging around staring at the screen).

Photo: Business Insider


A SENSE OF HOW TODAY’S “TRAFFIC” (RED LINE) COMPARES TO THE AVERAGE TRAFFIC FOR THE LAST MONTH, BY TIME OF DAY… (Today’s was relatively crappy, but that’s in part because the last month’s has been great.)

Photo: Business Insider


OUR TOP STORIES RIGHT NOW, AND HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE READING THEM… (Most folks were reading the main page when I took this screenshot.)

Photo: Business Insider


WHERE OUR CURRENT READERS ARE READING FROM… (Put your cursor on the map on the live dashboard and scroll around to see details. It’s cool to check this map at different times of the day and night, because you’ll see our readership move around the world.)

Photo: Business Insider



Photo: Business Insider

OUR AVERAGE PAGE-LOAD TIMES… (A lot faster than they used to be, thanks to our awesome tech team, but slower than they eventually will be.)

Photo: Business Insider

And a whole bunch of other cool stuff…

So have a look!

But remember, what THE ENGAGE-O-METER (and ChartBeat’s dashboard) measure are mostly real-time analytics–what visitors are doing on the site right now.

Our broader readership analytics–unique visitors, pageviews, etc.–generally cover longer periods, such as weeks or months. According to Google Analytics, one of our other major analytical tools, 12 million unique visitors dropped by the site last month. And we were thrilled to have every one of them!

UPDATE: After seeing the dashboard, a reader asked whether we use it to make major decisions about the site. The answer is actually “no.” The Engage-o-meter dashboard is what I would describe as “analytics porn”–interesting, cool, and beautifully presented information, but not information that is particularly helpful in making real-time editing and production decisions or tracking key data. For that, we have a homegrown analytics system. It’s not pretty to look at, but it’s enormously helpful. Running the site without that system would be like flying a plane at night without instruments.

UPDATE 2: Below, ChartBeat founder John Borthwick suggests a few ways we could be using ChartBeat to improve the site, and we’re going to jump on that. The in-house analytics system I described above already gives us windows into what folks are reading (and stores the info in a helpful way), so we haven’t been using ChartBeat for that. If we didn’t already have this system, though, the ChartBeat data would be revolutionary.

UPDATE 3: And our head of engineering, Pax Dickinson, weighs in to say he finds ChartBeat extremely helpful from an engineering perspective. So we do use it to make important decisions!

In any event, we hope you enjoy the ENGAGE-O-METER. We’ll be bringing you some more “live engagement” features soon…

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