Laura Evans: The role of metrics and goals in the newsroom


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Laura Evans

VP of Audience Development and Data Science, Scripps Networks Interactive

Laura Evans is vice president of audience development and data science at Scripps Networks Interactive (HGTV, DIY Network, Food Channel, Cooking Channel, Travel Channel and Great American Country). In this role, Evans leads audience development, data analysis, development and deployment of analytics across all SNI digital products, digital marketing execution, customer service, and audience strategy through leveraging data and its management.

Previously, Evans was head of Dow Jones' audience insights and analytics team: a cross-functional and highly specialized group focusing on digital audience growth and strategic research, as well as data analysis for all digital, mobile and offline properties of Dow Jones and Co. (The Wall Street Journal, MarketWatch, Barron's, Factiva).

Prior to joining Dow Jones, Evans was with The Washington Post for 10 years where her last position was chief experience officer and vice president of research. Her team had the directive of making sure The Washington Post had a clear audience strategy across all products, serving as the link between customers' needs and the business's operations.

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  • News rooms and editorial folks are just starting to get used to data and now the immense proliferation of devices has caused confusion. Has caused people to be more skeptical of using data in editorial decision making. So what are the pitfalls in this confusion. How can we use it to your advantage without getting lost in it. I am going to discuss the common issues I have heard in my years with newsrooms and what some of the basic pitfalls are and how to avoid them in your own day to day decision making.
  • Too often we talk about mobile trends and collapse tablet and phones. This creates a lot of confusion because across dozens of sites, dozens of content areas, I have seen the same thing. Smartphones are distinctive from tablets. More so than tablets are distinctive from desktop. The needs, uses and experince of the two “mobile” products are very different. Need to always put the UX and user first. Avoid arbitrary collapses. Push back when you see them.
  • Data isn’t about audience sizing and knowledge sharing. It is about action and optimization. Ask you analysts – what does it tell me I should do? What does it recommend? Think about what high search but low social referrals means you should do. A high bounce rate means you should do? Where do you focus your enegery when resources are thin. Your data has the answers. If you find it interesting. It isn’t good enough. Push for more.
  • I posit, TOO much time is being WASTED trying to make sense and stitch it together. Truthfully, this idea of the brand loyalist acrosss may devices, reading so much content is a practically a myth. The most lauded subscription models are low single digit percentages of audience. Cross platform usage, even only a small portion of that. So focusing so much on figuring out the interrelationship and customization around it, to try to get metrics to match doesn’t ddeserve the time we spend on it. Let the business side worry about that. Your goal is to make the best of the product.
  • At each level of the funnel different things matter. First, getting users. Uvs are importantNext, get them to consume condent – pageviews, video views.Get them to spend time with the content – more exposure means more likely to repeat. Pageviews/visitGet them to come back on their own build loyalty – repeat visits. Direct visitorsGet them to log in… etc… Focusing on year over year. Focusing on two metrics doesn’t get you there.
  • They will only get more important. Think about how the data can help you help the business. Don’t pander. Your business doesn’t want that. Your brand doesn’t want that. Think about data and how it can help you optimize and grow. Not change.
  • If users want you to know all about them, they will log in. If they trust and value you, they will help you with insights. Just listen to them right from the start. (subscription, member benefits, etc..). At that point, your metrics should all converge around retention. consideration is in churn. And you can do amazing things with that information. Do your part
  • Laura Evans: The role of metrics and goals in the newsroom

    1. 1. Laura Evans, Ph.D. VP, Audience Development & Data Science Scripps Networks Interactive @evanslaurab HOW TO USE AUDIENCE INFORMATION IN A FRAGMENTED WORLD.
    2. 2. MISCHARACTERIZING “MOBILE” • Confusion springs from incorrect collapsing. • Think about the experience. Think about the user.
    3. 3. TOO MUCH FOCUS ON MULTIPLE DEVICE USAGE • Too much concern on cross-platform audience sizing. • Too little concern on action.
    4. 4. GETTING LOST IN THE CAVEATS • By focusing on cross platform inconsistencies, we lose focus on what is happening on that device/product. • What the user is saying about the experience.
    5. 5. MIS-MEASURING SUCCESS • If you are talking year over year growth, you aren’t talking data. • Think about goals. Measure from there.
    6. 6. DON’T FEAR MEASUREMENT • Business runs on uniques and pageviews. • How you get there is up to you. “Using metrics as a measure of performance, though, wou ld lead to popular journalism. I already see that on TV”
    7. 7. USE THE DATA TO CREATE RELATIONSHIPS • Getting a user to log in is the most valuable thing you can do for understanding your audience, enhancing your product and increasing the quality of your data. • But you need to provide them the incentive for doing so.
    9. 9. How Does it Manifest Itself? We recognize the visitor from registration & data appendages We show modules recommending content she will like Recommends for you: Start your Personal Pages with the everything you love on one page >> We deliver an ad relevant to context and audience.
    10. 10. Current State The right buyer But not the right content The right content But not the right buyer
    11. 11. MY THOUGHTS • Forget about the caveats, focus on the user. • Let your data reflect the consumer experience. • Help in the collection of it. • Think action with your data, don’t settle for information. • Optimize within that product.
    12. 12. Delivering a great experience is more likely to get a repeat user, more likely to get them to try your other products… than nearly anything else.