Los Andes works on 3 obstacles to boost subscriber engagement

By Paula Felps


Nashville, Tennessee, United States


Los Andes’ rich history as a regional newspaper published in the Argentinian city of Mendoza began in 1883, and it proved itself to be a pioneer again in 1995 when it became the first newspaper in Argentina with a Web site. In 2020, the Grupo Clarín-owned newspaper wanted to reinforce its standing as a forward-thinking company by exploring tools for data analysis and learn how to use those to increase subscriptions, said Leo Rearte, the company’s assistant secretary of editing.

“We are in the early stage in [digital] subscriptions so we had to explore tools to grow in this race. There were several things lacking that we had to tackle head on,” Rearte said. In the Meta Accelerator programme, the company was able to identify its needs and create a road map for reaching its goals.

Los Andes first had to identify its objectives so it could make a roadmap for reaching its goals.
Los Andes first had to identify its objectives so it could make a roadmap for reaching its goals.

The first objective was to increase usage from registered subscribers, and that meant finding what generates greater engagement from those users. As the team delved into what they needed to do, they discovered three obstacles:

  • They didn’t count on the need for segmentation and didn’t know how readers were divided.
  • They didn’t know what content was most relevant for each group and what content generated the most interest and activity.
  • They didn’t have a tool to automatically cross-reference the data.

One thing at a time

Each issue needed to be approached individually, and they began by implementing Wyleex analytics, which works with a paywall. “This allowed us, based on their analytics, to identify reader clusters,” Rearte said. “That let us understand how the clusters were formed.”

Identifying reader clusters allowed them to segment the audience, differentiating between light readers, more interested readers, and fans with high levels of engagement.

“We divided the readers by activity level and user cluster,” Rearte said. “Then we needed to understand what type of content each one read.”

Once they understood that, they were able to cross-reference clusters to see what content was most appealing: “Using cluster analysis, we sent newsletters with content of high interest for fans to the group of interested readers. We wanted to convert those interested readers to fans.”

Testing traditional methods 

Another trial involved testing their newsletter. While one group received Los Andes’ traditional e-mail newsletter, others received a curated newsletter based on analytics. “We were able to send a newsletter with information that would supposedly create high engagement,” Rearte said. 

Los Andes was pleased with the results of its experiment.
Los Andes was pleased with the results of its experiment.

And while it is still too early to draw final conclusions, the results have been promising, he said.

“The opening of the curated newsletter was 65% greater than the traditional newsletter. We did not see much variance regarding the traditional newsletter, but in the analytics newsletter, there was greater effectiveness.”

This experiment taught the need to have a focused approach and create trials to experiment and measure results. Next, they will continue conducting trials and measuring the results to see how they can translate the process to a commercial model.

“This will allow us to generate small commercial newsletters and monetise what we’ve learned so far,” Rearte said.

This case study originally appeared in the INMA report, The Benefits and Risks of Media Data Democratisation.

About Paula Felps

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