Media, Publishing

How the Atlantic uses Heap to measure content results

The Atlantic, founded in 1857, is one of the fastest growing magazine brands across its print, digital, and events platforms and a leading voice in culture, business, and politics.

Jen Sun is a Product Manager at The Atlantic whose team develops and produces The Atlantic’s sponsored content. With user friendly tools, Heap enables Jen’s team to focus on producing the best articles, videos as well as infographics and validate that this content results in advertiser engagement.


Jen Sun, Product Manager

Missing page engagement metrics

The Atlantic relies on a collection of tools including Omniture, SimpleReach and Moat Analytics to track a variety of metrics such as page views and time on site, but was missing page engagement metrics that explain how users interact with sponsored content on a granular level. The need for detailed user-level behavior became increasingly important as Jen’s team continued to develop more complex widgets and interactive content for their articles.

The most intuitive analytics platform

Jen explored a number of other analytics tools to address this requirement, but Heap was the only platform that had a truly intuitive user interface that program managers at The Atlantic could use without having to go through the development team. Other products required developers to insert JavaScript event listeners to track user behavior, which was a painstaking and inefficient process. Using Heap’s Event Visualizer, the sponsored content team is able to define events in a simple point-and-click manner without ever having to write tracking code. As a result, non-technical users are empowered to define events and perform analysis independent of development resources.

Retroactive analysis

For The Atlantic team, Heap offers peace of mind due to its unique retroactive analysis capability. Jen’s team no longer has to worry about having the data they need as Heap automatically captures all user interactions from the day of installation. As her team began to use Heap, Heap was deployed to all sponsored content and collected all user behavior even before performing any analysis. At one point, a client requested more detailed engagement data and The Atlantic team was able to leverage the value of Heap’s retroactive analysis to present a key metric to the client although it was not an initially measured KPI.

Above all, Heap has closed the feedback loop from question to answer. Previously, the sponsored content team needed to formulate a question to analyze, deploy code to track data, validate the implementation, and wait for information to trickle in. With Heap, answers can be provided immediately after questions are asked. According to Jen, “we’ve closed the feedback loop to the point that there isn’t a feedback loop anymore.”


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