World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers

Data – the driver to grow audience

World News Publishing Focus

World News Publishing Focus
Your Guide to the Changing Media Landscape

Data – the driver to grow audience

That was the key message from Laura Evans, who is Head of Audience Insights and Analytics for Dow Jones.

So what is good data? It all starts with a good implementation of analytics so companies can more easily measure exactly what is important to the business, such as geography, audience type (potential subscriber, segments, repeats or initial customers, etc. And it must be multiplatform, taking advantage of a strong sign in/registered/logged in rate, and learning how to use other platforms to grow that base.

But of course understanding and making sense of all this data requires keen insights from a publishers’ analysts so it can be optimised. They must understand how products work both indivdually and together to make the best decisions for the business.

Producing the right content at the right time and to the right audience is key for growing audience in today’s 24/7 media cycle. “It is crucial that you can set mechanisms in place to create predictive data sources, particularly with your websites so you know what to expect for your site traffic, to set goals and predictive performance – automatically,” she said.

At certain times of the day, she said publishers should be able to measure traffic to better forecast page views and unique visitors, but more importantly, to know if they they are hitting their goals.

Figures should be broken down by audience. Social networking, which presents its own set of challenges for measuring, is a good example “and this does not mean just looking at Twitter and Facebook, but looking at who are your likes, what works among fans, who is doing all the sharing.”

With social, she said it is important to know when a topic is spiking so you can add elements to the conversation, for example, or push it to other social sites.

A good way to grow loyalty among users is to drill down and focus on depth, trying to avoid bounce rates. This means analysing top pages, looking at what are the worst bounce rates, and using next pages as a guide for related content and inline linking.

To get users to spend more time on your platforms, understanding time of day impact is crucial to adapt and adjust content accordingly to users’ lives. “For example, during the day people don’t have time to look at five-minute videos.”

Ultimately converting users to subscribers means a better understanding of the path to get them to that point, i.e. where in the usage stream is the best time and place to nudge them to pay. But it also means knowing what are the best types of content to get them to subscribe, to generate tons of free traffic, what sections in your platforms have the greatest ratios to conversions, etc.

“How can you convert one-hit wonders to become low potential subscribers or to even high potentials?” said Evans. “By creating highly differiated segments, sizing them and understanding what it takes to get them to move from one level to a higher one. This sets you up for experimentation and clear insights into what is driving user behaviour.”

She emphasised that newspapers should strike a balance of using metrics to grow audience and understand users with optimising the user experience, i.e. not always letting it dictate news. Instead, it is about knowing what to expect from your platforms and learn from those traffic patterns.

You may download Ms Evans's presentation on slideshare.


Dean Roper's picture

Dean Roper


2012-09-04 16:50

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