Based upon its work with nearly 400 digital media organizations, the Parse.ly team examined how different companies use, or don’t use, tags and published an Authority Report on The State of Tags in Digital Media. For the purpose of its analysis, Parse.ly defines tag as:
- Metadata accompanying an article or post on a media or content site.
- The most common use of tags is to identify topics or subjects in an article that go beyond the high-level “section” designation.
- Sometimes tags are also used to help readers or internal users find other articles that cover the same subset of topics.
According to the report, there’s been a significant amount of discussion about the possibility of expanding the usefulness of tags beyond topic identification to a classification system of anything including identifying sponsored content, sentiment, tone, and length. Interestingly, Parse.ly found that tags have no bearing on audience size. Publishers who are not using tags garner a higher number of average daily page views (one million) than publishers who are using tags (612,000 average daily page views).
While most digital publishers use “keyword tags” to categorize posts by topic, some are now turning to “knowledge tags” to classify content beyond the topic of an article. According to Parse.ly, publishers have found value in tagging by: Content Type, Editorial vs. Native/Sponsored Content, and Paywall Access.
They found that the average number of tags per post, among all posts using tags is 5.2. However it is interesting to note that they found that using more tags doesn’t necessarily generate more page views.