Chartbeat CEO John Saroff on VatorNews podcast

Steven Loeb · April 21, 2021 · Short URL:

Chartbeat works with global publishers, providing them with data and real-time analytics

Steven Loeb interviews John Saroff, CEO of Chartbeat, a company that provides data and analytics to global content providers. The company has raised $39.1 million in venture funding. 

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Highlights from the interview:

  • All of the world's largest media companies are trying to build meaningful connections with their audience, trying to deepen engagement, and to get users more deeply engaged with their content. Chartbeat provides analytics and optimization for the world's largest media companies to help drive that engagement.
  • Chartbeat provides real-time analytics, helping publishers understand how their audiences receive their content. Because content is changing so often, having a real-time feed of analytics that is accessible to everyone who needs to make decisions is extraordinarily powerful and important for them to grow their audience.
  • Chartbeats' big picture, mission and vision is to enable meaningful stories to thrive. Right now, the company is focused on the media use case, but one of the reasons that Saroff thinks the future for Chartbeat is so bright is because the concept of content is being extended into every vertical and into every part of users’ lives.
  • The company can also help publishers with evergreen posts, so they can push old content. Chartbeat will let the team know what that it's happening, helping them decide where stories should be positioned on the homepage and on the app, what the right headline to go with those stories is, what the right image is to go with those stories.
  • By using Chartbeat, published produce better content that is more tailored to the reader. Almost a billion people every day are reading a piece of content that has been influenced by a decision made in Chartbeat and they tend to stick around longer, they tend to return more often. 
  • Chartbeat has a headline testing product that enables its customers to do A/B testing and test them in real-time on users. The company measures more than clicks, but also weighs what it calls "the quality click." If a user clicks on a story and then actually stays for 15 seconds, it gets more of a bump in Chartbeat's headline testing algorithm than if they just click and leave. 
  • There has been a shift toward more subscription-based models, rather than an ad-based model. Subscription businesses, as whole, tend to have less readership within the context of pageviews, uniques or video views than freely available sites.  Those who are successful with a subscription model are the ones that have clear vision on what their value prop is to the user, to the community, and just being ruthlessly clear about it. 
  • E-commerce is another emerging business model. The ability to monetize affiliate links has been a game changer for lots of customers, so the ability to provide honest reviews, extraordinarily clear and transparent options, and to be able to translate those into econ revenue, has been especially important during the pandemic, where there's been secular shifts from shopping in stores to shopping on e-commerce. 
  • When it comes to truth and facts in publishing, misinformation is a really thorny problem and Saroff doesn't think tech is going to be able to solve all of it. We're going to have to rely on some technology, as well as human editors, and we also need to have a very active and engaged populace that also challenges both companies and individuals. 

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