Front Page Snapshots & Arrangement History

All of what we do here at VR is forward looking and we’re extremely conscious of not taking a left turn and ending up creating another web analytics solution (again!). However, with the uniqueness of the data we collect we do understand that editors, publishers and audience development folks (to name a few) are eager to visit historical data on occasion.

At the beginning of 2012 we officially launched the Front Page Arrangement History report. We invested in this because we believe it’s more than just a nice to have. A publisher who sits still and doesn’t innovate in this day and age is setting themselves up for a fall. Every publisher we work with is continually tuning and tweaking their homepage or section front pages but many lack the necessary tools to help them answer questions such as:

- What if I relocate this module?
- What’s the impact of the deploying a full width Doomsday module?
- If I move this ad unit down, how are the surrounding positions affected?
- I use multiple templates which one performs better on a Monday?

The list is almost endless…and the question is to what end? How are these tweaks affecting content engagement?

The above contains sample data only 

There are plenty of tools out there that take snapshots (screenshots) of specific pages on a site and whilst this is useful, without data it’s really just a collection of images – remember the WayBackMachine! We took a slightly more advanced approach with our solution and combined both snapshots and data.

- We take full length snapshots of every front page under management
- Snapshots are taken every time you update a given front page – every time!
- Alongside each snapshot, we store a matrix view sorted by position
- Article position data and its performance during each snapshot period
- Data on the best/worst performing arrangements; current, day, week, month
- ALL snapshots and position data for the lifetime of the account are stored
- Use our API or UI to pull either the snapshots or data directly

Snapshots are eye candy on their own, but when coupled with the corresponding historical position, arrangement and performance data they become unbelievably insightful and set the stage for in-depth analysis. The arrangement history provides a meaningful backdrop for internal publisher discussions; from editorial to audience development and advertising to design, all publisher stakeholders can benefit from this level of detail.


  • http://twitter.com/DennisMortensen Dennis R. Mortensen

    So a Homepage and 13 section front pages each being updated every 10 min, whether that be manually using our recommendation platform or even automatically = 14 front pages * 6 updates an hour * 24 hours in a day * 365 days = 735,840 full size high quality images and detailed data points for EVERY single front page and position in 2011 for a newsroom running on VR.


    Exciting actually, if you think about all the opportunities this provides us in creating that “Bloomberg Terminal” of the newsroom.

    d. :-)