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8 September 2015 at 19:56 Leave a comment

“The media industry must measure up”

Defending competitive position and measurement issues stifle innovation in digital media. Gideon Spanier writes about constraints and challenges of print plus digital audience reach.

The media business does not do a good enough job of measuring its own performance. Newspapers and magazines have been particularly poor at producing meaningful circulation and readership figures that combine print and digital.

Amazingly, the British magazine industry will for the first time ever officially produce a single “headline” circulation figure encompassing both print and digital next week — when new six-monthly figures are released by the Audit Bureau of Circulation. Newspaper ABCs are arguably even more archaic as monthly print and digital data are still not even published on the same day.

As Mike Darcey, chief executive of News UK, parent company of The Sun and The Times, told this week’s Enders Analysis media conference: “I remain mystified as to why, 15 years into the internet era, and with everyone claiming mature digital strategies, we still only ever talk about print sales.”…

Part of the problem is many in publishing view digital through the lens of print. For example, the digital edition of a magazine has needed to be a near-replica of the print version to be included in the ABC data. Even after next week’s changes, the digital edition can only drop 5% of the articles from the print version and it can only add up to 25% of new content that differs from print (there is no restriction on video).

Critics say such a mindset stifles  innovation and investment. That’s because a publisher is rewarded when its digital offering mimics print with a replica PDF-style edition and is penalised when digital differs radically from print — because those sales are excluded from the circulation figures.

While some publishers have criticised ABC, the circulation body has also been held back by some members, which include advertisers and media agencies. As Enders said in a recent note: “Delays to decisions about measurement could be viewed as symptomatic of an industry focused on competitive positions rather than on defending a sustainable future for the industry as a whole.”

It is hard to agree on statistics. Combining a paper’s daily print sale with mobile app users and unique daily online browser visits can feel like comparing apples and pears.

Ultimately, this is a problem across the media. There is still no single agreed measure for website visitor numbers. TV viewing figures also leave much to be desired. Darcey says publishers must also produce better figures on “engagement and dwell time”.

Our data-driven digital age demands more accurate measurement.

9 February 2014 at 13:38 Leave a comment

Revisiting Analytics 101

For the New year, I’ve just reread June Dershewitz’s Top 10 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started in Web Analytics.

  1. LIAISE: You will sit between the techies and the marketers.
  2. BIG PICTURE: You will learn all about your business. 
  3. LINGO: Ahem, what is this thing you call a “Visit”?
  4. DIRTY DATA: Dirty, dirty, dirty. 
  5. SOURCES: You will learn to love the query string.
  6. ACRONYMS: CSV stands for “comma-separated value” …
  7. LEARN: Operators are standing by
  8. AUTOMATE: Don’t fall into the “report monkey” trap.
  9. NETWORK: You are not alone.
  10. PLAN:  Think long-term.

6 January 2014 at 16:10 Leave a comment

Meet the Product analysts at UK Government Digital Service

The product analysts look at how people interact with the site, where they come from, and what we’re particularly interested in on GOV.UK is getting people to transactions or to the information that they want.

3 July 2013 at 21:57 Leave a comment

Balanced scorecards

My mate Jack Kenward‘s thoughts on balanced scorecards:

The answer is, of course, ‘yes, but’.
The ‘standard’ balanced scorecard (‘financial, customer, process, learning’ – sometimes augmented by ‘environment’) is somewhat unbalanced in what it measures (the argument is that the standard four only measure what you can hope to control).
A more balanced starting point for a scorecard of measures is internal / external on one axis, quantitative / qualitative on the other; it’s easy to see where the standard categories fit in to this (the only slightly tricky one is ‘customer’, strictly speaking external, but usually place at the boundary with internal); from which it is easy to see what is being measured, and what isn’t, then either develop additional measures for the gaps, or at the very least be aware of the context for what is being measured.
So the answer is really ‘yes, if’ (if they are balanced and if they are contextualised).

3 July 2013 at 21:45 Leave a comment

Content Marketing Show 31 May 13

On Friday I attended Kelvin Newman’s (and sponsors’) excellent Content Marketing Show, held in the very pleasant Logan Theatre at the Institute of Education.

On the whole a day well spent – not only because of  the speakers, but also from the added value of being amongst others that care about this stuff and the expanded user experience through social media.

Here’s my notes of the day – not every speaker included:

Sir Alex Ferguson’s way of building the best (content) team, Danny Denhard, from vouchercodes.co.uk

Danny talked about selecting and managing a team as an analogy of managing Manchester United. For me, there was too much football, but I liked the goalkeeper requirement: someone who’s safe, pays attention to detail, agile, and does legal.

How to create content people have to share,  Laura Edwards, Nitter Natter, @laurahelen


  • Content so good people want to share it.
  • Content Production Value & capability. Effort
  • Research: look at  Trendsmap etc.
  • Pay attention to execution of content discovery and sharing. Give a reason to follow and share.

Developing an editorial mindset in a non-editorial business, Dan Fielder, Sticky Content

Venn diagram of your domain of expertise & what audience wants – find the overlap – even if it’s niche.

Growth in “how to” searches. Answer a question, grow your content. Get experts involved in content generation.

Robots, Gumballs and Marxism, Ben Redford, Mint Digital

Lessons from connecting “things” to the internet – Olly and Polly that smelled sweet or gave you a sweet (respectively) in response to tweets. You can build a community if you have engaging content – even if it’s niche.

Great content marketing is about great storytelling, Tony Samios, Caliber

  • Importance of punchline. Humans built for stories
  • Connect people through time and across generations/cultures
  • Technology presents opportunities and challenges to storytelling.
  • There isn’t anyone you couldn’t love if you didn’t know their story Finding Nemo guy
  • Make me care
  • Wolfdog old spice ad

Content Strategy > Make data your friend, Simon Penson, Zazzle, @simonpenson

Content Marketing Show 2013 from Simon Penson

Search a bit eclipsed by Social

Facebook Power Editor – lets you get into fb data – demographics, people like you like this too

What is the right mix of content?,  Sarah Howard, Red Rocket Media

What is the right mix of content for your brand? Find out in 5 simple steps from Red Rocket Media

Good content metrics:

  • visits
  • views
  • bounce
  • time spent
  • conversions
  • inbound links
  • rankings
  • unique and repeat visits
  • social shares
  • comments

Selling the Content Marketing Story, Pak Hou Cheung, BlueGlass UK

Content marketing show 2013 selling the content marketing story – 29.05.2013 – cv from Pak Hou Cheung
  • Awareness
    • Raise awareness to prospects
      • Make sure infographics tell a relevant story

  • Consideration

  • Purchase
    • Inspire your audience to buy

What is success in content marketing?  Of course it’s specific to your project.  Slides.

Making video work for your brand, Amanda Poole-Connor, TNR, the Press Association

Video is big…


Putting conversion into content, Justin Taylor, Graphitas

Putting the conversion into content – Justin Taylor from Justin Taylor

How is (content) success measured? NOT vanity metrics – likes/retweets/+1s/ Pins. Look beyond social shares to conversions



  1. Define your objectives
  2. Understand audience
  3. Use audience’s  language and writing style and scope to audience
  4. Focus on headlines 5 x as many read headlines as body copy
  5. Anchor products into content. Avoid dead ends. If they’re interested to do something, they’ll be interested to buy –  make sure you link to product
  6. Calls to action and triggers e.g “free returns”
  7. Content with visual impact
  8.  Add value eg: ‘buy the look’ feature on Asos
  9. Never stop testing
  10. Play to win

Smarter Content, Matt Roberts, linkdex

only smart content gets shared

Smarter mnemonic

  • S specific, significant, sharable
  • M Measurable, meaningful, memorable
  • A Appropriate, ambitious, aligned
  • R Relevant, results-driven, resonant
  • T Timely,targetted, trackable
  • E Engaging, enjoyable, evergreen
  • R Rewarding, reassess, reaching

Which of these (in each row) works to make smarter content?


New community at smartercontent.org #smartercontent

Submit case studies!

2 June 2013 at 21:53 Leave a comment

“…most users reach for search, but they don’t know how to use it”

Jakob Nielsen strikes a combative note about most users’ search skills.

Most users are unable to solve even halfway complicated problems with search. Better to redirect their efforts into more supportive user interfaces when possible.

via Converting Search into Navigation.

23 March 2013 at 20:52 Leave a comment

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