Twenty years ago, most adults read the local newspaper before heading off to work, maybe flipped through a magazine on their lunch break, and then went home for a couple of hours of TV before bed. These days, we have access to news, video, social media, and practically any source of information we could possibly ask for in our pockets at all times, and we’re inundated with more media than ever before.
Studies show that in the UK, adults spend nearly eight hours a day consuming media. In the US that number is over 11.
On one hand, that’s great news for media organizations looking to deliver content to relevant audiences. On the other, it can be hard to guess what content will resonate with which user. That’s where data comes into play.
The word “audience” is singular, and perhaps that’s why we tend to think of our audience as a singular group. But in reality, an audience is a multifaceted group with many different subsets.
For example, The New York Times has a huge audience, but not everyone (probably hardly anyone) reads the entire paper every single day. There are those who head straight to the opinion section, others who enjoy features, and some who just skim the headlines until they’ve got the overall gist of what’s going on in the world.
Using data to understand the different segments of your audience is an important first step toward connecting with them on a more meaningful level.
To understand your audience, start with your digital analytics data.
Once you know your top entry pages, pageviews per device, and top articles on social media, you can combine this data with your CRM data (such as audience demographics) to help you understand both your content audience, and which types of content are resonating. That way, you can focus your resources on developing content and formats that will keep your different audience segments engaged.
Of course, most of us hope that all of our content is an instant hit. There’s nothing worse than working hard on a blog post, article, or video, posting it to a webpage and/or social media, and then seeing zero response.
On social media, the easy ability to share and like content turns each post into a popularity contest, and let’s be honest, losing kind of stings.
There are a few key data points that can ensure you’re creating the kinds of content your audience responds to.
The first is, of course, the number of visitors. How many people have viewed your content? The second is scroll, which gives an idea of your content’s qualitative performance by indicating whether or not your audiences have truly engaged with content until the end.
And finally, time spent with audio or video content will give you an indication of how long audiences are spending, as well as letting you know whether they caught any post-roll or mid-roll ads you might have included.
Everyone wants high quality content, but these days, it seems like no one wants to look at ads in order to get it.
The stats around audiences using ad blockers are a little bit bleak: In the UK 22% of internet users have enable ad blockers, while a full 25% have enabled them in the US.
Getting around ad blockers can be tricky, though some publications have had success simply by asking audiences to turn them off. However, other publications, like The New York Times, have successfully implemented paywall systems in order to give audiences the content they want without the burden of intrusive advertising.
Data can be an important tool when it comes to exploring and targeting audiences who would prefer a paid subscription to disabling ad blockers.
Segmenting groups into fly-by, occasional, and regular readers can help shed some light on how to turn visitors into subscribers.
Fly-bys are users who’ve just visited your site once, and offering them a few articles for free could be the way to turn them into regular visitors or even subscribers. Occasional readers know your brand but don’t regularly consume your content. Asking them to sign up for a free account is the best way to invite these users to become regulars. Regulars are frequent and faithful consumers of your content.
Understanding what content they consume and how often will help you decide between a “pay per article” approach to subscriptions or a personalized paid subscription offer.
Attracting new audiences is a long term goal for most media companies, but retaining the fans you already have is a vital component to a successful operation.
In fact, some estimates say that reducing churn by as little as 5% can increase profits anywhere from 15% to a mind-boggling 95%. Gaining insights into exactly how audiences are interacting with your company goes a long way toward turning new visitors into loyal audiences.
Retention analysis data around which sources attract engaged users and the impacts of specific campaigns and content can help identify the types of content most successful for driving engagement.
And understanding which users are engaging with content helps prevent churn. Loyal users love rewards, and offering incentives like early bird access or loyalty programs are important ways of reducing churn.
Providing audiences with information, whether news or entertainment, is both an art and a science. And data is the magic ingredient to that can bridge the gap between the two in order to help your business survive in today’s challenging and fast-changing context.
For more information on how a quality digital analytics tool can help your media organization thrive, download AT Internet’s white paper, “Winning the Data Game: Digital Analytics Tactics for Media Groups.”
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