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Measurement: Don’t Get Caught in the Weeds


NPR is pretty much a pillar of American society. Even if you’re not a listener, you probably know someone who religiously listens to the network on the way to work, school, during work or while straightening up the house.

Like all modern businesses, technology created new competition NPR. Nope it’s not CNN, the WSJ or another radio news program; it’s iTunes. People listening to NPR in the car is NPR’s bread and butter. What happens to the network in our mp3/iTunes culture?

During the final day of AMEC Measurement Week, NPR’s Lauren Bracey Scheidt, product manager for consumer engagement, and Nick DePrey, analytics manager and innovation accountant, outlined how they used focus and data to create the mobile app NPR ONE to gain more listeners and thrive in the new age of digital.

Check out Lauren and Nick’s key takeaways:

Audits & Death by Data


Struggling against a new competitor. Lauren suggests asking, “What do we do better, and what do we do that no one else can do?” After you do a qualitative audit, it’s time to look at the data. If certain things aren’t working, pull it. Data forces people to stop doing things they’ve always done, cut out what’s not and optimize for success.



It would have been easy for NPR to focus on different goals, like increasing website traffic, boosting engagement on Facebook and improving location features, but then they would not solve their core problem: maintaining and increasing their listeners.

“NPR One is a listening experience,” Nick explained. “We don’t add features that get in the way of that.”

The only metrics his team measures to determine NPR One’s success are:

  • Total listening hours
  • Activity across the week
  • Retention

All other metrics are just fluff. When creating a PR campaign, identify the problem you’re solving and focus on only those metrics.

Beware of Data Without Context


Looking at a numbers without context is just a headache. If you’re working with a data analyst, avoid asking for a report. Lauren suggests talking to the analysts about your problem and asking for help. That way you’ll get not only data, but insights as well.

Also don’t be siloed in your measurement metrics. For example, Lauren manages email campaigns, where the benchmark for success is click-through rates. However, she didn’t want NPR One emails to be measured for clicks, rather she wanted to see if they increased listeners for the app.

“Email is time consuming and expensive,” she said. “If it’s not increasing listeners, what’s the point?”

Measurement tip: Don’t just do campaigns just to do them. Focus on your goals, see what works and what doesn’t, then adjust.

Images: Marcelo César Augusto RomeoJakub T. Jankiewicz, Mark Hunter, Ryoji Ikeda (Creative Commons)

Tags : measurement

About Adrienne Sheares

Adrienne Sheares is an enthusiast for all things social media. On the rare times she’s not on social media, she loves watching any cooking show and frequently pretends she’s a “Top Chef” contestant in her kitchen. You can find her on Twitter at @SocialMediaDC.

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