A new version of News Corp Australia’s award-winning Verity analytics tool firmly embeds a data-influenced strategy to content selection in the newsroom, improving journalism-driven subscriptions.
In an INMA Newsroom Initiative blog, consultant Peter Bale says Verity appears to be driving impressive results and evidently influencing judgments in newsrooms in favour of content that drives engagement and converts readers to subscribers or increases use by existing subscribers and therefore helps retention.
The original version won a 2019 INMA campaign award based on major growth in subscriptions.
The tool integrates multiple data sources and now presents them in pages better designed for specific tasks from journalists, to editors, to subscriptions, and sales.
Subscriptions director Brendan Collogan says it also exposes new audience cohorts that might not otherwise have been noticed. He told Bale it is now “much more intuitive and directive on the metrics that matter”.
Editors and specialists get different home screens, and guidance on things such as “performance and readership of every story that you’ve written”.
Stronger capabilities now surround predictive analysis, allowing reporters to test headlines and return the likelihood of a story driving a subscription.
The role of journalism in driving paying audiences has been critical in a recent subscription drive. Verity has helped move that proportion from 21 per cent in 2018, to about 70 per cent of subscriptions driven directly from journalism.
And, he says, “that’s a far more economical source than marketing”.
Collogan says this has accelerated growth, “and we’re acquiring customers through the best possible channel – the core product – while shifting our mix of acquisitions and significantly lowering the cost of growth.”
Bale quotes News Corp Australia head of audience development Soraiya Fuda that newsrooms are using Verity to better serve audiences and create better content.
“With Verity, the audience is telling us which rounds and types of journalism that they want to read,” she said. “We use it as a lever to maybe follow up on stories… We almost saw a return like for like page visits and acquisition.”
Verity shows geographic information on subscription generation from content (with some commercial data obscured).
For the full interview, go to the INMA website