Four analytics tools for journalists

by Ben Colmery
Oct 30, 2018 in Miscellaneous

There should be no mystery about what works and what doesn’t for your news site's users. Easy-to-use analytics tools can tell you what content users are visiting and sharing, how many people visit your site, how they find your content (Web search? social media? email?) and much more.

There are plenty of tools that let news sites and other Web publishers capture analytics in a snap. Here are a few standouts:

Google Analytics

It’s a one-stop shop for all the online feedback you can handle, offering free measuring tools for content, social media, mobile, advertising and conversion. Find out how many visitors viewed your site, what led them there and what they viewed. Use the Flow Visualization tool to follow the path visitors paved during their time on your site.

Bloggers and online journalists can discover readership demographics, compare the number of new versus returning visitors or track down the most widely read blog post of the day, month or year, among many other possibilities. If you want to master all the tool has to offer, you can take a free online course here or check out these YouTube tutorials.

Winner of last year's Knight News Challenge-Networks, this not-yet-launched social analytics tool displays real-time feedback on the number of tweets and Facebook likes, shares and comments your content receives. The tool offers the distinct advantage of seeing the same metrics for your competitor’s social media chatter, so you can track which news sites’ stories are gaining ground.

Visualized in a story flow presentation,’s charts show the birth, peak and leveling out of the shared links, tracking the velocity of each article. Join the tool's sign up list here.


Currently termed Chartbeat Publishing, this real-time analytics tool lets you decipher whether your top content is still spiking or slowing down, track trends over time, dissect direct traffic into more specific sources and get email alerts when an unusual traffic spike hits.

But it’s individualization within newsrooms that makes this tool unique. Create user accounts with different levels of access for specific editors, so reporters can log in and see data only for their own content. But beware, this tool comes with a price and is best suited for newsrooms with big budgets or larger blogging operations. If the pricing puts you off, its parent, Chartbeat, is more affordable.


If in-depth analytics are more than you need, and you’d just like quick insight into a certain story or topic, check out Topsy. Search across keywords, links, tweets, photos, videos, experts or trending topics to spot where content is surging online, across 10 languages at no cost.

For free analytics, search and compare up to three queries, either by domain name, Twitter handle or keyword. From these search terms, Topsy will graph the mentions on Twitter and provide the top links from the past 24 hours. If you’re won over, you can sign up for a pro version to access unlimited search terms, historical data, sentiment tracking and more.

Image CC-licensed on Flickr via brianellin.