The Newspack Data Benchmarking service pulls together data from a variety of third-party services to make it easy for you to find your top level metrics all in one place without having to login to each service individually. Additionally, the service allows you to compare your performance against that of similar publishers by size and by nonprofit/for-profit status.

At launch, the service pulls data from five third-party data sources (Google Analytics, Google Ad Manager, Mailchimp, Facebook, and Stripe) and presents metrics in a unified set of dashboards, allowing publishers to easily view their top-level metrics and compare their performance against that of their peers.

The dashboards can be accessed at: https://newspack.pub/benchmarking (only available to Newspack customers)

Onboarding documentation is here: https://newspack.pub/support/benchmark-faq/connecting-third-party-services-to-fivetran/

FAQs

What is the Newspack Data Benchmarking project?

The Newspack Data Benchmarking service, which can be accessed at https://newspack.pub/benchmarking, pulls together data from a variety of third-party services to make it easy for you to find your top level metrics all in one place without having to login to each service individually. Additionally, the service allows you to compare your performance against that of similar publishers by size and by nonprofit/for-profit status.

What does it cost?

The benchmarking service is only available to Newspack customers at this time. For Newspack customers, the service is included as part of your regular Newspack fees at no additional cost. If you’re not yet a Newspack customer you can apply here.

How does it work?

The service pulls data from various third-party sources using a service called Fivetran to establish and maintain the data pipelines. You grant access to Fivetran for each service individually via the “connections” tab of the Newspack plugin. Once authorized, Fivetran pulls selected data from the supported third-party services into a data warehouse using Google’s BigQuery service. The Fivetran connectors also remove or anonymize any personally identifiable information to make sure your users’ privacy is protected. Once the data is in BiqQuery we are able to manipulate and present it in the benchmarking dashboards using Google Data Studio. The dashboards allow you to select a date range, see top-level metrics from each of the third-party services in a single place, and compare your performance against similar publishers by either size (based on website traffic) or non-profit/for-profit status.

When will I be able to start using it?

We are starting to onboard publishers the week of February 21, 2022. The rollout will happen in phases starting with a number of sites who have volunteered to help us test and refine the tools. We will then open it up to other publishers over the next couple of months with the goal of making it available to everyone by the end of May 2022.

What data sources are available?

At launch, the benchmarking service uses data from Google Analytics, Google Ad Manager, Stripe, Mailchimp, and Facebook. We’re using a service called Fivetran to connect to these services and maintain our data pipelines. Fivetran has a number of  connectors available for other services that we might use in the future: https://www.fivetran.com/connectors.

What security measures are you taking to make sure our customer data is safe?

Our use of data for the benchmarking service is governed by the Newspack Supplemental Terms of Service: https://newspack.pub/terms-of-service/ 

While many of the third-party services we’re using make a lot of customer data available, we are careful to only pull the data we need to power the dashboards we’ve built. We have been careful to exclude or anonymize any personally identifiable information to minimize the risk that this data could be exposed in the unlikely event that our data warehouse is compromised. 

Additionally, Newspack does not handle any of the data directly, rather it is pulled from third-party services using a service called Fivetran and then stored in Google BigQuery. By using these best-in-class service providers for the data pipeline and data warehouse, we are able to benefit from their security and privacy protections and minimize the risk we would introduce by building these services ourselves or hosting them on our infrastructure.

Fivetran and Google also have security and privacy documentation that you can review if you want to dig more into the specifics.

Will Newspack’s Data Benchmarking Service affect site performance?

No. The service does not interact with your website and thus cannot affect its performance. The data is drawn from APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) provided by the various services to which you authorize access: Google Analytics, Google Ad Manager, Stripe, Mailchimp and Facebook. We use a service called Fivetran to make these connections and only the initial authorization to allow them to pull this data happens through the Newspack plugin. Once connected, the benchmarking service relies on Fivetran’s infrastructure to pull data from these third-party services. This ensures that no additional load is placed on your site and has no impact on the ability of these third-party services to provide services to your site.