Metrics for News Aligns With Funnel Strategies to Grow Revenue and Engage
2019 Finalist

Metrics for News Aligns With Funnel Strategies to Grow Revenue and Engage

American Press Institute

Arlington, United States

Category Best Use of New Technology To Generate Revenue and Engage

Media associated with this campaign

Overview of this campaign

We built Metrics for News (MFN) to solve several problems journalists face with existing analytics platforms, including how to analyze what drives users to engage on the path to subscription.

  • One problem is data overload — having too many numbers to watch and act on. MFN solves this by allowing publishers to create and access blended engagement scores, which can weight any number of metrics (page views, time spent, etc.) into a single number. This simultaneously simplifies metrics while maintaining a comprehensive view of the data.

  • Basic web metrics were also designed to help sell advertising, not to help build content strategy or win subscribers. MFN solves this by adding proprietary tagging that codifies journalistic characteristics of content and converts conventional analytics into journalism metrics. By tracking key journalistic qualities — topics, enterprise, watchdog, etc. — publishers learn what they aren’t doing enough of, what they could stop doing and/or do differently.

  • Web analytics also do not easily tell a story of how different audience groups engage with content or why. MFN also solves this problem by allowing audience segmentation to easily showcase how publishers engage, build loyalty and drive subscriptions with key audiences they want to track: millennials, subscribers, loyal users, etc. Our partners use this data to develop content strategies for particular segments and/or to align with funnel strategies aimed at turning casual readers into paying subscribers.

  • In fostering a culture of data discovery in newsrooms, one problem is often the newsroom doesn't know what the larger goals are or how they contribute to those goals. A new feature we developed this year allows publishers to communicate newsroom priorities. Publishers can customize their data dashboards designed for varying newsroom roles to foster transparency.


Results for this campaign

Metrics for News is a strategic tool that can transform how a newsroom operates. We’ve seen that transformation happen in big and small ways with 85+ partners across the country. Some use it to simplify data and foster a better awareness of analytics. Others use it to develop coverage areas of excellence. More frequently, newsrooms use it to identify opportunities for turning casual and loyal readers into paying subscribers. Specific examples include:

  • A New York newsroom uses MFN data to drive the conversation about what to do, and what to do differently. For the enterprise team specifically, a culture of tracking audience analytics has helped prioritize what stories to pursue and has resulted in 22% more engagement than average over the past 12 months.

  • A Minnesota newsroom uses MFN data to identify and track engagement habits of their most likely converters on the path to subscription.

  • A Virginia newsroom had a hypothesis to do more lifestyle military reporting but quickly learned it wasn’t working. Instead they saw a theme in their MFN data that stories about how and where to spend money were driving engagement. They decided to start a consumer beat. It began with one reporter and has grown to a four-person team over the course of a year. It continues to be among the top 10 topics driving engagement and growing new audiences.

  • A Pennsylvania newsroom learned local crime was a major audience concern but their coverage could improve. A committee decided to focus their coverage around a theme: “How to make our city a better and a safer place to live.” Over the course of one year views to their crime coverage grew 200% and shares went up 250%.


Contact

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