Attention Minutes is Upworthy’s change-up on “fine-grained and unforgiving” engagement measure ::a new standard?::

Pageviews vs Attention Minutes

Introducing attention minutes, Upworthy’s new primary metric, which we’re planning to track in two forms:

  • Total Attention on Site (per hour, day, week, month, whatever) — that tells us (like total uniques or total pageviews) how good of a job Upworthy is doing overall at drawing attention to important topics.
  • And Total Attention per Piece, which is a combination of how many people watch something on Upworthy and how much of it they actually watch. Pieces with higher Total Attention should be promoted more.

…We built attention minutes to look at a wide range of signals — everything from video player signals about whether a video is currently playing, to a user’s mouse movements, to which browser tab is currently open — to determine whether the user is still engaged. The result is a fine-grained and unforgiving metric that tells us whether people are really engaged with our content or whether they’ve moved on to the next thing.

Read the full piece at What Uniques And Pageviews Leave Out (And Why We're Measuring Attention Minutes Instead) – Upworthy Insider
Also see What’s the best way to measure attention online? Upworthy thinks it has the answer | Gigaom

Sounds like a good idea. Time will tell whether it gets a wide-enough take-up to make it a standard. Other efforts by other online measurists haven’t. I’m thinking Klout, for instance.

If it does become widely adopted, I can’t help but think that something like this is more easily rolled out by aggregators and curators than original content creators. After all, if an aggregist’s numbers (in whatever form) are down, you just need to tweak the type of content you’re borrowing. For original producers, it means the much bigger task of changing what you produce and how you produce it.

Which is why original producers/publishers tend to be less excited by metrics that show too clearly a low ratio of engagement (significant attention vs. raw hits) for their content.