Mic redefines the newsroom using data insights from Keen IO.

Live data and custom dashboards tell the end-to-end story of reader engagement

The Company

Mic is building a news organization that speaks to today’s readers and their unique millennial ethos: inquisitive with a healthy skepticism for conventional wisdom and a craving for conversation-sparking news. Since its founding in 2011, the company has grown to more than 160 people, with a growing news staff producing original reporting in 10 topic verticals—and drawing more than 30 million people per month. What’s behind this success? World-class technology and data analytics provide Mic an unprecedented understanding of their users and how they consume news.

The Challenge

The biggest thing we were looking for was flexibility—the ability to collect data from any interaction on any media property. We didn’t want to conform to what other analytics platforms thought was a good metric. We needed control over how we were collecting and analyzing our data.

Mic’s growth has been tremendous. At peak, Mic’s traffic has reached hundreds of thousands simultaneous readers. To avoid crashes and ensure they were capturing insights on the end-to-end reader experience, Mic needed a way to:

  • Reliably collect data, even during periods of heavy traffic.
  • Deliver relevant data for writers, salespeople, engineers, and analysts on how readers access, read, and share articles.
  • Report live readership data with complete and flexible query control.
  • Allow sales teams to create highly customizable, customer-facing dashboards that match Mic’s branding.
  • Provide tools that were easy to learn and use and would help every team from day one.

We’ve never really wanted to rely upon a fully baked-out third-party platform because we wanted to make sure we understand the data we are collecting. So it actually has as much meaning as it possibly can to us. With Keen IO, there’s no black box around our data.

The Solution

Keen IO enables us to rely upon our own view of what’s important to us. We can control the focus points for our editorial and content teams, so a custom dashboard shows them only what matters to them, and in a form that’s easy to understand.

Mic used Keen to track the end-to-end experience of readers so they could tell a story about each person who visits its site. This data helped editorial, engineering, sales, and analysis teams provide the best experience for readers and the best information to customers. In short order, the Mic team:

  • Learned who their visitors were, and how, when, and what they were reading and sharing.
  • Built a dashboard for the product team that tracked the impact of every A/B test being run, all in one view.
  • Supported a data driven editorial team by embedding content analytics right into their home-built content management system
  • Built Mic-branded dashboards for customer presentations that allowed Mic to interpret, deliver, and display data exactly how they wanted.
  • Enabled lightly-technical Sales and Editorial team members to use Keen’s focused reports to make decisions using existing workflows, without needing to learn a new tool.

It’s amazing how live data and well-designed dashboards can emotionally affect an organization. Keen enables us to keep our newsroom fired up on a day-to-day basis.

The Impact

More than two years later, Mic is still using Keen’s reliable, straightforward tools to create striking dashboards and gain critical insights. Editorial, sales, engineering, and analysis teams have all seen positive results:

  • Mic saw an increase of over 1M monthly unique visitors when the editorial team re-prioritized story formats based on Keen’s analysis of SEO data on article characteristics and reader engagement.
  • Using Keen dashboards, Mic helps brands hone ad campaign strategies and build new revenue streams based on reader opinion, behavior, and demographics.
  • Website UX flows were improved by tracking and identifying key areas of reader falloff and reworking them accordingly.
  • Cooperation between editorial, engineering, sales, and analysis teams has increased as they share insights gained from Keen.
  • Facebook likes and Twitter followers have increased 5X, which Mic attributes to Keen-inspired optimizations.

Since Keen has mastered the heavy lifting of data collection, analysis, and querying, we can focus on creating the best-looking news site in the world.

How can Keen help you build better products, grow your business, and turn customers into fans? Only one way to find out.