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3 Smart Ways to Analyze Data in Your Newsroom

Guido Buelow

News Partnerships


14 German-language publishers gathered in Berlin for the program’s 2nd session.


A key theme: Data-informed content creation and its impact on subscriptions.


Publishers shared tactics for data-driven content creation.
Everybody’s got data. Not everybody is acting on it.
Among the 14 German-language publishers attending the second session of the Reader Revenue Accelerator, a three-month program focused on increasing digital subscriptions, several participants are driving ahead with new data initiatives to help their organization build more loyal readers and, eventually, more paying subscribers.
Over the two-day session, publishers shared several ways they are using data to drive change in their publishing houses. Here are a few key takeaways.
Make Your Insights Transparent to the Whole Company
Oberpfalz Medien shared two ways they’re sharing data across their organization to help everyone understand what’s working and what isn’t.
  1. They built an Installation Team focused on paid products with multidisciplinary membership from the newsroom and IT to product and reader services. As a result, members of the team can bring what they learned back to their own core teams and thus spread insights through the organization more quickly.
  2. This team is aligned around a single “north star,” or one extremely significant goal. Having a north star provides a clear and attainable mission that everyone in the organization can rally around. Medien’s north star reflects one subscriptions goal that includes both digital and print subscriptions. That way, the organization can look at subscriptions health holistically and balance steady or lowering print subscriptions with increased digital subscriptions.
Now the newsroom can use insights from the Installation Team to inform their content creation and know how their work aligns with the organization’s north star in the same way as the digital marketers or product teams.
Identify Your Priority Visitors
You can’t improve what you can’t measure – and at the Accelerator, the team from DuMont shared how they made an entirely new metric to focus on their most important readers.
“There are a lot of perspectives on what makes a good article,” said Fabius Klabunde, audience intelligence manager at DuMont. “We want to make it easier for editors to see what articles are proven to be most interesting to our audience.”
The DuMont team introduced a new metric called “Priority Visitors.” This measurement helps the entire organization focus on the interests of loyal users with a higher likelihood for conversion. PrioVis measures those who visit the publication’s website from the publication’s distribution areas and who are reading the site regularly. Then, the DuMont team sends the newsroom a daily report on which articles drove the most priority visitors. These daily reports help everyone understand topics and distribution channels that are of interest to the publication’s loyal visitors.
Get Your Readers to Take the Next Step
Funke Media’s “+1 strategy” – how do we get readers to take one additional step? – develops content and a user experience encouraging readers to go beyond the single article they’re reading.
Here are some ways the Funke team is acting on the +1 strategy:
  • Link to relevant articles within each piece
  • Include newsletter sign-up calls to action
  • Use standard copy at the end of articles that link to the respective topics pages
  • Provide optimization guidelines to the editorial team
  • Test and optimize the login buttons because Funke had learned that logged-in users read more articles.
“We’ve changed our strategy of how our editorial teams work: We focus on our user’s needs and teach our editorial teams on how to combine data-informed and experience-based decisions,” says Dr. Ruth Betz, director of digital transformation at Funke. Dr. Anne Krum, deputy editor-in-chief of the Funke Newspapers in North Rhine Westphalia, adds: “Our editorial teams are more and more focusing on online storytelling and how it performs best online.”

The Accelerator Program
The Facebook Journalism Project’s Accelerator Program helps news publishers build sustainable businesses. Funded and organized by the Facebook Journalism Project (FJP), each Accelerator includes a three-month period of hands-on workshops led by news industry veterans, grants administered by non-profit journalism organizations, and regular reports on best business practices. The Accelerator’s executive director is Tim Griggs, an independent consultant/advisor and former New York Times and Texas Tribune executive.
For monthly updates on the Accelerator Program, sign up for the FJP newsletter.
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