Grupo AM helps journalists fall in love with data
Ideas Blog | 30 January 2022
Data is difficult to understand, especially when you’re new to the data journey. So Grupo AM decided to explain it using the universal language of love.
“We’re very early in our data journey,” said Enrique Gomez, chief operating officer at Grupo AM, a regional news media company based in the Mexican region of Bajío. “What we found is that the newsroom struggles with it. They’re able to gather the data, but it’s difficult for them to understand. We wanted to help by making things easy for them. We wanted to help our journalists become data lovers to better serve our brand lovers.”
Keeping it simple
That meant making data easy to read and understand, easy to cater to the needs and desires of brand lovers, and easy to test so they could learn and improve.
Five goals were associated with that plan:
- Change the culture.
- Boost loyalty.
- Learn to love the readers back.
- Increase engagement.
- Grow the business.
To reach those five goals, Grupo AM established three tools:
- Cartas de amor (“love letters”): Reports focusing on brand lovers that are easy for the newsroom to read and understand. These weekly newsletters provide insights on the most valuable user segments and also explain what sections and articles are most popular.
- A/BC del amor: A playbook for the newsroom to run A/B tests leveraging tools they already have available.
- Tableros AMigos & AMantes: Live dashboards to better understand the behaviour of key user segments.
The idea was to get the entire newsroom talking about these dashboards and why they are important, Gomez said: “The goal of this is for everyone to get this information and start talking about why things are happening. Not just looking at the charts but asking: How is my section doing? Why are these things happening? And how can I do better?”
As they built the tools, Gomez said, they ran into an obstacle: Their existing Web site was not well designed for gathering data. “We needed to build a more sophisticated dashboard, and that is going well.”
The second project, A/BC del amor, included creating an A/B testing playbook with a focus on hypothesis generation. “We believe that is the most difficult part to get right: the why,” Gomez said. “Why are we doing this, what do we think will happen? So we distilled this into a very easy phrase of, ‘If we do this, then this will happen’ and that’s their hypothesis.”
Grupo AM conducted product and editorial tests. Product has been extremely successful in improving engagement. The newsroom is running A/B tests on subject lines, which Gomez said is the easiest to produce. “That’s not been as significant in terms of impact, but the whole goal is to get them going on A/B tests.”
The power of love
The third project has been more challenging than they envisioned, as it is taking longer to build the real-time dashboard needed. “Right now, we don’t have specific segments we can look at in real time,” Gomez said. So, they’ll be looking into what tools they can use, such as Piano and CXense, to make better use of the data.
However, overall the programme has been a success.
“We were measuring success by falling in love,” Gomez said. “In the short term, we wanted the newsroom to fall in love with data, and we’re getting there. We’re getting engagement and seeing responses. We’re slowly looking for what’s going to get them to engage.”
They’re also going to turn it into a company-wide project, Al Lector con Amor (“to the reader with love”), to emphasise the culture change aspect.
Next, Grupo AM will expand its love letters and the playbook projects to get more sophisticated data — and continue making everyone in the company fall in love with data while helping readers fall in love with the content.
This case study originally appeared in the INMA report The Benefits and Risks of Media Data Democratisation, free to INMA members.