ACM sees 64% more story conversions using data insights tool

By Paula Felps


Nashville, Tennessee, United States


At Australian Community Media, Australia’s largest independent media organisation (formerly Fairfax Media), it became apparent its Web sites were no longer serving the company’s needs, said Emily Sweet, head of engagement. Wanting to drive growth amongst its 140+ titles, the company recognised the Web sites were key.

“Our designers went back to the drawing board and what they came up with are some sites that have been redesigned to maximise the content we’re producing across our sites,” she said, speaking at the Asia/Pacific News Media Summit. The two-day virtual event, sponsored by Google News InitiativeNotixPiano, and Protecmedia, continues Friday.

The initiative, called Project Autumn, highlights the compelling photography and elevates the profile of some of the company’s journalists. It also allows for better engagement and sharing.

ACM focused on content as it transitioned to a digital focus.
ACM focused on content as it transitioned to a digital focus.

The main purpose of the redesign, however, was to support ACM’s cluster strategy, which puts most of the publications behind a paywall. Subscribers can then access content from other ACM publications in their specific cluster.

Project Autumn paved the way for ACM to focus on content, Sweet said. It started with the daily publications then will move on to non-dailies. The new focus is to look at what types of stories are converting best and what stories people are not reading. Newsrooms now have a digital specialist to “help focus on all the things we need to do to help make sure the content is hitting the mark,” she said.

As they drill down into the content, they’re using dashboards that allow for deep content analysis to learn what content is converting, how each reporter’s work is performing, and which areas are most interesting to readers.

Newsroom dashboards helped journalists focus on how their content was performing with readers.
Newsroom dashboards helped journalists focus on how their content was performing with readers.

To help journalists better understand how their content is performing and how it contributes to subscriptions, ACM started using a tool called Incites about eight months ago. The tool helps reporters see, in real-time, how to improve their content, Sweet said: “It’s really just identifying those key gaps in the content that a reporter can get their quick insight and know what they need to do to tweak their copy and hopefully achieve better results.”

So far, those who use the tool are seeing 64% more conversions from their stories than other users.

A series of dashboards at a higher level help editors and teams analyse and interpret subscriber data, which then influences the decisions ACM makes: “Being able to have access to that data… being able to really crystalise it into useful information for our newsrooms and our teams as well, for us to be able to build strategies on top of that is really core to what we’re doing.”

The summit continues on Friday. Registration is free and includes post-event recordings of the virtual event plus speaker presentations.

About Paula Felps

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