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27 Sep 2013

Analyse this! Web analytics are changing the world of journalism. Have you considered how this changes your next communications plan?

We started off by looking at the impact that the inherent measurability of digital media is having on the way that journalists in the technology sector work and what now needs to be considered when planning PR and marketing campaigns.

Web analytics have been routinely used by organisations for site optimisation to improve search ranking and optimise sales journeys. In recent years, as more and more publications have taken their content fully online, publishers have gained huge amounts of quantitative data on consumer behaviour via their own web analytics.

We knew anecdotally that this data was sometimes shared with editorial teams. That made us wonder whether this was changing journalists’ working practices.

So we surveyed a large cross-section of UK technology journalists. We asked them if web analytics used by publishers was changing the way they thought about and wrote their stories, and if they felt analytics were changing the future of their profession.

We received responses from 60 top journalists from the major national and trade titles. What we found was fascinating and with 75% of journalists claiming their publishers now use web analytics, it is significant for brands:

  • 39% of technology journalists say that web analytics is changing the way they think about stories and how they write them
  • 37% of journalists agree that web analytics play a role in editorial planning
  • Almost half (48%) of technology journalists’ personal appraisals are informed by some use of web analytics

We believe that brands need to refine the way they develop stories to take into account how publishers’ web analytics systems gauge relevance and value. Those responding well to the changes in the publishing industry are following simple steps:

  • Studying both the editorial and advertising content of target sites to interpret subtle editorial preferences accurately and build this into their messaging planning
  • Making sure the content they offer will both satisfy and increase reader interest help to drive click through on advertising content
  • Identifying if target journalists are using web analytics to guide their stories
  • Testing via paying for advertising spots to drive eyes to owned or even earned media, to determine which best delivers against their communication objectives
  • Integrating thought leadership activities so that content created for and used by the media is seen to have an actual measurable impact with demand created

If you’re interested in learning more, just email us now for a copy of the full report ”Analyse this! Web analytics, journalism and your next communication strategy.”

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