Chartbeat records data about traffic and engagement on each page path; a path is typically a canonical URL.
In addition to supporting reporting at the URL and site level, Chartbeat also supports breaking down traffic by section and author across our products. Because section and author-level analyses are an important part of the Chartbeat product, correct implementation of these fields is critical to getting the most out of Chartbeat. Below, we describe in detail how Chartbeat gathers these fields.
Passing section and author data to Chartbeat
Customers should ensure that they pass sections and authors to Chartbeat on each platform they wish to measure.
Links to platform-specific instructions are below:
Section and author best practices
Because sections and authors are an important part of Chartbeat’s reporting, it is critical that these fields contain clean, complete data. We strongly recommend the following best practices:
- Ensure that the values of these fields are equivalent between platforms. While Chartbeat has algorithms in place, detailed below, to resolve conflicts between platforms, the best way to ensure consistent data is to ensure consistent tags.
- Pass multiple authors and sections as comma-separated lists. For example, if a page is written by John Doe and Jane Roe, pass authors=”John Doe,Jane Roe”.
- Strip other language from section and author fields before passing to Chartbeat. For example, do not set an author field as “written by John Doe.”
- If a page does not have a section or author, simply leave the field blank and Chartbeat will record “no section” and/or “no author” in the corresponding field.
It’s similarly important to ensure that page title values are equivalent across platforms (your website, mobile app, AMP pages, etc). Information on how our tracking code collects page titles for each unique platform that we integrate with can be found in our Developer Docs.
Handling section, author, title changes over time and between platforms
For a given URL, Chartbeat may receive different data from a page over time, for example as a page is tagged with additional authors as a story receives edits over time, or as the page title is updated. Chartbeat employs a set of algorithms to receive and respond to changes in section, author, and title data. Key attributes of this algorithm are:
- Each hour, Chartbeat assigns each page the title, sections, and authors that have been most commonly seen over the past hour. Thus, if a page’s title, authors, and/or sections change, these changes will be picked up in the next hour.
- Titles, sections, and authors are viewed as a property of the page, so if an author is added to a page after publication, they will receive credit for all traffic the page has received. Similarly, if an author is deleted from a page after publication, they will no longer receive credit for traffic the page has received.
- Chartbeat updates title, section, and author data for a page’s first seven days after publication.
As an example of these principles in practice, consider the following timeline.:
- The article “site.com/article” was published on a given day and tagged with the author “John Doe.” Subsequently, it received 1,000 pageviews that day.
- The next day, Jane Roe contributed to the article and its author was updated to “John Doe,Jane Roe” denoting that both John and Jane were authors. After this update, the story received an additional 2,000 pageviews.
After the conclusion of step 2, Historical dashboards for both John Doe and Jane Roe will display 3,000 pageviews in total.