Τhis is a recent and excellent report on how newsrooms use data for better audience understanding, published by the Reuters Institute (University of Oxford). The report also reviews analytics’ best practices from large media organisations like the Guardian, BBC, Financial Times and Huffington Post and apart from the UK and US, it sheds light to a few organisations of continental Europe as well.
Some of the reports main takeaways are:
a) Editorial analytics are crucial for target group demographics and psychographics
b) Different channels have to be explored in order to understand what types of content works for which platform
c) Timing plays a significant role in publishing content: a media company should not publish content only when they can (or need to) but mainly when their audience is active
d) Audience patterns for reading content give more insights than mere click tracking
e) A complicated but extremely valuable task is to track your content’s journey once reached (copies, shares, re-posts, etc) and hence, understand better your audience’s behaviours.
In my opinion, it is important to understand that moving from rudimentary analytics to editorial or any other kind of sophisticated data analysis, specific tools, training and reshuffled organisational structure is highly needed.
Data analytics -and in particular, editorial analytics- is not about a quick and superficial trick for increasing reach and audience engagement (measured as mere likes, shares, comments for many news institutions so far). Data will not do the job by itself, nor will tell you the whole picture: it will require technological advancement (and knowledge), strong strategic priorities, organisational revisions and cultural change.
Image source: https://www.theguardian.com/media-network/media-network-blog/2013/mar/15/newsroom-predictive-data-future