In this edition:
- What to do so you’re set for the 2023 change in analytics
- New study credits Newspack with giving publishers substantial gains
- Jetpack Search has been upgraded. Interested?
- A change to adding a PDF to your page or post
- Get our meetings on your calendar
What you need to know now about GA4 changeover
You’ve likely received an email — probably several — from Google to let you know that Google Analytics 3 (aka Universal Analytics, or UA, that you now have on your site) is going away on July 1, 2023. The Newspack team wants to ensure a smooth transition to GA4 for all of our publishers, so we wanted to give you a few updates and resources to help you start getting up to speed with the changes.
The most important point is that data from UA will not be carried over to GA4, so you’ll want to make sure you have GA4 set up soon and collecting data by the end of this month to ensure you have a year’s worth of data in both UA and GA4 to be able to do year-over-year comparisons when support for UA ends.
If you have not yet created a GA4 property — and if you’re asking “what’s that?” then you probably haven’t — Site Kit documentation covers this process. Most sites will follow the process under “If you previously set up Universal Analytics in Site Kit.”
An update coming Monday will make GA4 available for all Newspack sites via the Google Site Kit plugin. If you have a GA4 property in your Analytics account, the connection through Site Kit to GA4 should happen automatically within a couple of days.
More GA4 info at Tuesday’s publisher’s meeting
Google’s Anntao Diaz, Head of News Consumer Insights, Realtime Content insights and Google Surveys for Publishers, will be our featured guest on Tuesday’s publisher call. Anntao will walk through the new GA4 interface and describe its benefits and how it differs from what what everyone’s been accustomed to with UA.
Here’s the link to the Zoom call. See the last item in this newsletter to get the recurring meeting on your calendar.
Newspack shines in new study of 4 publication migrations
A new report from the Local Media Association looked at four of our publishers and their switch to Newspack, and the results were terrific.
In a post releasing the report, the association asked an important question…
Does a new content management system for digital sites deliver enough return on investment to justify the time and expense needed to convert?
…and then quickly answered it.
It will provide demonstrable enhancements to user experience, lay groundwork for meaningful digital transformation, and fuel later strategic decisions aimed at long-term sustainability.
Our colleague Michael Grant wrote the report based on his involvement in migrating over The Atlanta Voice, New York Amsterdam News, Houston Defender Network, and The Washington Informer, all venerable Black-owned print publications looking to improve their digital presence.
Among the key findings in his report:
- Page load time improvements ranging from 82% to more than 3,000% on top-performing articles.
- Improved ease-of-use for staff and faster paths to feature/function enhancements.
- Better visibility into the tradeoffs between business-side needs — including third-party components that produce revenue — and overall site performance, enabling strategic decision-making about which opportunities are worth pursuing.
We’re proud to partner with these publications and the rest of our 170+ publishers in bringing your readers a better experience — and bringing you more revenue options.
An upgrade is available for Jetpack Search
Earlier this week, Jetpack Search temporarily broke for all publishers using Jetpack classic search. This issue was not unique to Newspack, tracing back to a bug in the Jetpack plugin.
While waiting for the Jetpack Search team to resolve the issue, we fixed the sites that reported issues by upgrading them to the newer version of Jetpack Search. We’d kept the classic version of Jetpack Search active on Newspack sites while we waited for the newer, more powerful Jetpack Search to be made AMP-compatible.
Newspack engineers added that compatibility, and we’d successfully set it up on a handful of sites before this week.
The problem with classic search is now fixed. But this provides us with a great opportunity to upgrade Search for those who are interested. If you would like to have your site updated, reply in this thread on Slack, or drop a request in the help channel.
New PDF plugin ensures your content looks good on mobile
We’ve discovered an issue where the File block no longer displays a PDF embed on mobile. In our testing, this affects all WordPress sites and isn’t specific to Newspack. As a workaround while we wait for a potential fix to the issue with the File block:
- Install the PDF Viewer Block for Gutenber.
- In the post or page, add the PDF Viewer block.
- Choose your PDF file.
- Turn AMP off on the post.
Note that the PDF does’t display in the editor anymore, but it appears as expected in the public-facing view.
For stories that have a PDF in a File block, you should add this new block and remove the existing File block.
If you need assistance, feel free to open a request in the Slack help channel.
Get our regularly scheduled meetings on your calendar with a couple of clicks
We have a meeting every other Tuesday at 11 a.m. Eastern Time. This is for publishers and developers to get together, but it is by no means mandatory. Most of the meeting is turned over to guest speakers for professional development, or to one of our team members to highlight a major change to the Newspack platform. We use this meeting to update you on business and product developments, as well.
The next meeting is June 14.
And here’s a handy way to get them all on your calendar:
We also hold a 30-minute How To session each Friday at 1 p.m. Eastern Time. We offer a quick look at one topic, block, feature or other useful maneuver. You can see how these work by going here for or small-but-growing library of videos. The password is
Add event to calendar