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Ringier Axel Springer, Sifted reach audiences through data

By Chandler Wieberg

INMA

Austin, Texas, United States

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By Dawn McMullan

INMA

Dallas, Texas, USA

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How do we get our users to read more and engage more with our content, keeping and using their subscriptions? It’s the question every news media organisation seeks the answer to.

Much of that answer lies in analytics and knowing your audience through data and metrics. 

Sifted, a UK-start-up

Sifted was founded in 2018 to fill a gap in the European market, with a mission to create the best news analysis for Europe’s new economy, to build from the industry’s most valuable platform and database, and to accelerate the emergence of a new generation of start-ups.

“As a new product, a new venture, we knew we had to start with content to get the reach into our audience base and to build our reputation with them,” Caspar Woolley, founder and CEO of the UK company, told attendees of the INMA Product and Data for Media Summit on Thursday.

Caspar Woolley, founder and CEO at Sifted, described how the CRUX Knowledge Tracker used machine learning to recommend content to readers.
Caspar Woolley, founder and CEO at Sifted, described how the CRUX Knowledge Tracker used machine learning to recommend content to readers.

The team brought in knowledge tracking with CRUX, which uses Natural Language Processing and machine learning to obtain quantified knowledge about the content.

Putting the library of Sifted content into CRUX allowed it to find relevant content according to certain taxonomies, as well as continuing to feed new articles into the system.

“It does deep natural language processing that looks at all of those things and gives each article a base weight,” Woolley said. “It then recognises every article from within Sifted that an individual reader has read in a previous topic, and it scores every other article we have that is relevant to that topic in relation to the knowledge that particular reader already has.”

At the bottom of each article a reader looks at is a box with three related, recommended articles — each with a personal score of the relative knowledge increase those articles would give the reader.

This tool meets both the user needs of discovery, guidance, and the other needs users have — along with Sifted’s needs for user engagement.

Ringier Axel-Springer’s Ring Publishing

Ring Publishing is a digital publishing solution Ringier Axel-Springer created for itself and others media publishers to build, maintain, and monetise content.

Greg Piechota, who moderated today's session, took a poll of attendees asking the subject of their experiments.
Greg Piechota, who moderated today's session, took a poll of attendees asking the subject of their experiments.

One of its brands, Neewsweek.pl, introduced its paywall in 2019. Regardless of increased interested in news in the year of the pandemic, the company saw churn from readers who did not see value in the freemium model. So they created a bundled option, Mediaklub. 

“I would say that we were quite crazy and aggressive in what we did, said Marek Kopeć, group director/product at Ringier Axel Springer. “Our key question was, What’s the most effective trial period for generating loyal subscribers?

The company created various promotional offers, testing them on 150,000 people. They found a one- or two-month offer was not enough time for readers to find value in the product. The sweet spot is five months.

Marek Kopeć, group director/product at Ringier Axel Springer, shared the experimental offers.
Marek Kopeć, group director/product at Ringier Axel Springer, shared the experimental offers.

“Why five months? This is the time we found the churn curve is flattening. If we are able to attract someone to stay with us for five months, usually that means we’ll have them for a longer period. 

INMA’s Product and Data Summit continues on Tuesdays and Thursdays through October 19. 

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