We’ve just launched new Alerts in Spike, surfacing the most relevant stories to your inbox, as they start to trend.
Since we launched Spike back in 2012, one of our most-requested features has been the ability to better alert users to specific stories that are going to be ‘big’ online, before they get there.
Spike is all about surfacing relevant content to individual users as they need it, so the need for these alerts was clear. But all users have different requirements, and sending out a useful alert from Spike is a lot different to, say, a news site blasting out a push notification to all its subscribers.
Our development team started researching the solution about a year ago. We wanted to make sure that the alerts would be genuinely useful to users that are likely already being hit with lots of email alerts and notifications in their daily routine.
Relevancy and timing were major factors; how could we be sure that the alerts would be of interest to the recipient, and that they were delivered as the story was spreading, but before it hit critical mass online?
After much testing, we’re excited to announce the launch of Alerts to all Spike users today.
NewsWhip CTO, Andrew Mullaney, explains what’s involved:
“The new system acts as a ‘probabilistic engine’, quickly sifting through the stories, videos and other content to surface what’s rising to the top, fast. Once an overperforming story is identified, an email alert is fired off to your inbox.”
“The alerts are designed to keep Spike users completely informed of all important stories on their beat, or about their company, quicker than ever.”
They’re based on the panels that users build for themselves in Spike, meaning that they’re completely customisable. Once Spike detects a story that’s performing above a threshold that’s dynamically computed for each of your panels, an alert is activated.
The alerts use the same maths that helps ensure the safety of jet engines in flight – an association that might seem a bit strange, but fitted our needs perfectly.
For major breaking news stories, the alert is delivered within minutes of the story being published.
You can also choose to get alerts around stories mentioning different key words:
For news sites, the alerts make it easy to react quickly to under-the-radar regional stories:
Users also have control over the frequency of alerts that they want to see, so if you’re seeing good results, you can increase your daily volume.
At its core, these alerts are about making our users’ lives easier, by quickly notifying them of the most relevant stories.
If that sounds like something you could use, why not give them a go?
How to Set up Alerts in Spike
To set up alerts in Spike, create a panel around whatever topic you like, using the ‘Save As New Panel’ button on the top left of your screen. For best results, specify exactly what you’re interested in (different categories, countries, cities, platforms, time-frames and more) in the panel.
These panels then stay on the left-hand side of your screen. Click in to any to bring up the following options at the top of the screen:
Check ‘On’ to activate the alerts. By clicking the edit button, you can change the preferred number of alerts you get each day.
These alerts are in addition to the existing Spike Alerts, which show you the most shared stories in any category at different stages throughout the day.
To help avoid confusion, these updates will now be called ‘Digest’, and can be set up and edited in the same way as before.
We hope that Spike’s new Alerts will help speed up the process of finding the day’s best stories, and help you connect meaningfully with your audience.
Your feedback counts. Let us know what you think of any individual alert by clicking through to the feedback form linked at the bottom of each email: