Matt BooherJournalists are constantly reminded to never assume anything when writing articles — this is great advice when approaching analytics, too.

Matt Booher, director of insights and innovation at Empower Media Marketing, recalls a lesson he learned as a former publisher about his audience. The company assumed they knew the true demographics of readers — not digitally savvy, of retiring age and “dying off,” he said. What they found from analysis work surprised them.

“Once we dug into the data we began to find a younger demographic,” he said. “Our audience isn’t dying. It’s just changing. You can never know enough about your audience.”

He encourages news organizations to look at the analytics of their digital content — who is the audience and how are they using the content?

“My guess is you’ll be surprised at what you find,” he said.

Booher recently spoke about the importance of Web analytics and digital marketing measurement strategies during the workshop “Getting publishers to think like marketers.” The workshop was part of The Journalytics Summit, a digital analytics event for the news media industry, hosted by the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute.

Both content marketers and news media publishers are struggling with how to effectively reach audiences as media consumption habits change rapidly, said Booher.

Booher’s takeaways and insights:

  1. Think insights. Not just story.
    1. Use data collected from analytics research to gather more information about audience and readership. It’s not just a matter of “what do I write next?” pointed out Booher.
    2. Use the data to not only understand who the audience is but what they want.
  2. Put data in the hands of editors.
    1. Data has the potential to offer editors with feedback about how headlines and articles are performing on digital platforms.
  3. Expand your thinking. “If you just look at the data, look at it differently,” said Booher. “It’s an opportunity to find ways to do things differently. Try out a few things. See what works, what doesn’t.”
  4. Get insights quickly.
    1. Look at social data — how is the content being shared? Are people talking negatively or positively about content?
    2. Look at site data — what kind of content do readers like or dislike?
    3. Look at search trends — is there content that is particularly popular?
    4. Audience data — what sites are popular/unpopular?
  5. Find ways to integrate marketing skills into newsrooms.
    1. Researchers, product managers and data scientists can help news leaders look at their content and analytics data from a different point of view.

Jennifer Nelson  
Senior Information Specialist


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