Real-time Audience Insights Challenge Editorial ‘Gut Feeling’ for Specialist Publisher

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Audience analytics are essential to any modern digital publication. Journalists rely on data to do their job properly.

But with so many analytics tools and platforms out there, it is easy to become overwhelmed by data, leading to inconsistencies, confusion, and the potential for chasing the wrong metrics.

When Felix Disselhoff joined the digital team at German-based specialist publisher Computer Bild two years ago, every team had their own data set with no central standard for measuring success.

“There were so many dashboards, spreadsheets… It was a huge problem,” Disselhoff told Taboola.

The immediate challenge was to find a new data set that would solve the problem.

Disselhoff, who is both Deputy Editor-in-Chief and Content Director of Computer Bild, explained:

“We needed a standard set of data in a tool that was easy to use and made to fit into the overall working day of editors; something that gave fast, reliable feedback on whether our content was working or not – do we need to drill deeper into a topic, for example? Showing us where our traffic was coming from, what are the trends…”

Computer Bild, owned by Axel Springer, is Germany’s largest portal for technology news, reviews, tests, buying recommendations, and downloads. In addition, the fortnightly print magazine, published in nine countries, is one of Europe’s best-selling computer titles.

As a Taboola publisher partner, Computer Bild is able to benefit from using Newsroom, Taboola’s audience analytics platform for publishers.

Newsroom has been designed from the ground up, working with some the largest digital publishers in the world, and is aimed specifically at journalists and editors. Real-time and historical article data is presented on a single platform view, engineered to fit directly into editorial workflows.

Once Newsroom was introduced, it quickly became the go-to tool for Computer Bild editors, even instilling a sense of competition amongst journalists eager to find out if their stories were outperforming their colleagues’, and challenging the traditional ‘gut instinct’ approach to publishing.

“Sometimes you get a gut feeling that a particular topic could be good for us, but it can be misleading. Newsroom Insights informs you quickly whether you are right or wrong and determines how a topic is selected and produced.”

Newsroom Insights also influence what goes into the Computer Bild print magazine.

For example, a Computer Bild editor monitoring Newsroom’s real-time insights noticed that a short online story about the loss of a popular mobile banking function following a company merger was attracting a huge amount of traffic for the site. The function was of significant interest to online readers.

The decision was quickly made to enhance the online story by creating a more in-depth feature and producing a video to build engagement. The story was then re-worked for publication in the magazine.

“Normally we wouldn’t consider covering a Fintech topic for the magazine, but we couldn’t ignore the data,” said Disselhoff.

Covid was a step-change too, with both site users and Computer Bild’s 70 editors and journalists being forced to work from home.

Audience traffic peaks flattened as commuting stopped and new readership trends began to emerge. The reliance on accurate, real-time data had never been more important and became an essential part of the daily workflow.

“Our editors became more data savvy as a result of Covid,” said Disselhoff.

“They became very engaged with the data and saw immediately what the topic trends were, which content formats were working better than others, how traffic patterns were changing on a daily, weekly and monthly basis…”

“We made it interesting, showing them practical use cases and this in turn created discussion and competition around the data, with different teams sharing successes between each other.”

Powered by Taboola’s predictive engine and massive data set of over 500 million daily active users, Taboola Newsroom helps writers, editors and special-interest teams make informed decisions to increase readership.

In addition to real-time traffic, Newsroom measures audience engagement at the article level using six different metrics, including bounce rate, average time on page, video watch rate and subscription conversions.

Editors can monitor article performance in real-time for every position on their homepage and run A/B tests on headlines and images to improve click-through rate.

Our unique Topic Insights readership data also shows editorial teams what content themes are trending across the open web, both in real-time and over the last 90 days.

For more information and to see a live demo of Newsroom, please contact Nigel Vincent at nigel.v@taboola.com.

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