4 Steps to Increasing Audience Engagement for Top Publishers

By NativeAI / March 15, 2018

Audience engagement is as simple as knowing what the audience wants at all times.

In other words, it isn't simple.

Human behavior is complex, and always has been. However, the abundance of digital content is driving rapid change in the behavior and interests of audience members. Google research reveals 86% of consumers admit to preferring personalized content and experiences, while 62% are even willing to pay more for it.

In the era of hyper-personalization, delivering highly-relevant content consistently is the only way to succeed. Publishers need the insights to create segmented, targeted publishing strategies that deliver the right content to the right audience.

For top publishers, finding necessary insights through traditional website analytics is virtually impossible. So, how do you translate audience analytics into a publishing strategy that drives audience engagement?

4 Steps to Audience Engagement for Publishers

Translating audience analytics into actionable insights and finding patterns in engagement based on audience interests intelligence, story format and length, and many other key factors, can enable publishers to build loyalty, achieve engagement, and build on former wins. 

Step #1: Discover What Drives Engagement

Publishers know the metrics used to identify their most engaging content. Typically, engagement is measured using metrics such as:

  • Page views
  • Time spent
  • Social sharing

While it's easy to identify your most engaging content–today, over the past week, and from all-time, understanding why that content was engaging is another story entirely. Traditional analytics doesn’t deliver insights into the characteristics of the content that performs well. 

Did your audience respond to the topic? Format? Author's voice?

For publishers working with a large volume of stories (hundreds of article per day) this is even more difficult. Beyond looking at the best/worst 20 performing stories, everything else can easily get lost in the data.

Without insight into these nuances, publishers have a hard time repeating wins.

Publishers need audience insights tools which allow drill-down analysis of their best and worst-performing content, to discover trends among their audience as a whole and audience segments, with reporting and dashboard features such as:

  1. Audience interest reporting
  2. Content format insights
  3. Author insights
  4. Under-served topic opportunities
  5. Insights by channel, device, and geography

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Step #2: Discover What Creates Loyalty

What's the difference between first-time website visitors who engage with content and share it on social media, and your most loyal audience members who return regularly?

By unlocking the patterns in loyal visitor behavior and the content they engage with, publishers can maintain the attention of their most-engaged audience members and convert more first-time visitors into loyal readers. Creating more loyalty conversions requires identifying patterns in analytics, and deep insight into detailed data categories such as:

  • Loyal visitor interests, devices, geography, and channels
  • Loyal visitor engagement by story, author, and topic

Simply knowing that 45% of readers viewed a recent piece of high-performing content, for example, isn't enough to build on engagement. Publishers need to know the types of content, authors, and ideas that resonate with their most-engaged audience members.

Step #3: Discover the Patterns of Engagement

A typical web analytics dashboard shows trends and moment-to-moment change, but it doesn't necessarily reveal patterns that matter to publishers. There's undoubtedly value in understanding engagement trends over time, but it's not the same as patterns that inform action.

Patterns that inform strategy answer questions that publishers already have, such as:

  1. What percentage of our total audience is interested in each category of content?
  2. How does the time spent engaged with our content on one certain topic compare to the site average?
  3. What are some secondary and tertiary interests among our readership in every category?

Not only do publishers need the ability to find these patterns, but they need these answers quickly.

At many of the most highly-engaging publishing organizations, this is best achieved with user-friendly, easy-to-navigate insights tools that allow data scientists and publishing strategists to click-through and drill-down on insights and categories as-needed.

Step #4: Focus On the Things That Work

What if you could identify topics of interest to your audience that are underserved on your website?

What if publishers could consistently deliver content on the right topics, in the right formats, at the right time for their audience members?

The results, of course, would be stellar engagement and increased visitor loyalty.

By focusing on the content types, formats, topics, interests, and styles that resonate with readers, publishers can avoid wasted effort and budget on content that's destined to be ignored. With intelligent insight into "opportunities" or under-served topics, they can also be the first to cover topics their audience wants to engage with.

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Turning Analytics into Action

Human behavior has never been simple, but the mystery of engagement is captured in web analytics of clicks, reads, consumption, and social shares. The publishers who succeed at achieving and building on engagement are the organizations who have the technological and process-based ability to uncover patterns in real-time and deliver content that is in high demand very quickly.

For many publishers, traditional analytical dashboards on daily page views and shares don't provide enough insights. To establish a data-driven engagement strategy that delivers results, there's a need for intelligent tools which answer critical questions in real-time.

Audience engagement doesn't have to be a guessing game. Armed with deep, actionable insights into their readers, publishers can know what their audience likes, and respond accordingly. To learn more about NativeAI and get a demo, click here.

Written by NativeAI / March 15, 2018