The competition for today for companies like Schibsted are Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Amazon — not other news companies, according to Edoardo Jacucci, vice president of strategy and data analytics at Schibsted.

Schibsted is a global giant with 200 million users and  20 billion pageviews with a digital transformation focused on building a new foundation. The company hired 12 enthusiastic young people from different countries to make up its advanced data analytics (ADA) team, Jacucci told delegates at the INMA European Conference on Thursday. The new hires were divided into two teams: the data science team and the conversion team. 

ADA operates in three areas: marketplace platform, media house platform, new advertising solutions. The team’s main focuses are: 

  • B2C sales and marketing: Track users to their site, then convert them to whatever action they want (subscription or posting an ad). Then try to retain them.

  • Personalised user services: Amount of content is not what drives engagement; it's relevant information that is most important. 

  • Targeted advertising: Important, as companies like Facebook and Google are shaping the market. 

Recommendation and audience profiling is very important to Schibsted, Jacucci said. The company wants to tailor parts of its Web pages to properly recommend articles to readers. That’s why Schibsted is building a recommendation engine with multiple algorithms to personalise user experience with boxes like “people who read this also read” or “based on your past readings, you may also be interested in” (Amazon style). 

Jacucci explained three types of recommendations, explaining that switching between those brought higher click-through rates. Those recommendations are: popularity based, content based (CTR + 33%), and collaborative filtering (CTR + 44%).

In terms of conversion rate optimisation, Schibsted sees a lot of low hanging fruits, ready to be picked. For example, simply removing of one screen in the sales poster on the Web page helped increase sales by 52%.

Jacucci’s advice: 

  • Be data driven: Data is predictive, so it is important to empower business enabling it to be data driven. One thing is to look what data tells you, he said, but also let’s trust what journalist know. There should be a healthy balance. 

  • Be inter-disciplinary: ADA is not a standalone team. Teams for technology and also are needed.  Organise people and competence around product global, scalable and resilient - think big, shy away from quick fixes and hacks, beyond prototyping. 

  • Be mature: From start-up to professional organisation, keep control over data, data science, common infrastructure.

  • Keep a higher bar: Vision agitation and top talents attract other top talents.

  • Be conscious of what data has most value for your business.