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Friday, March 15, 2013

Smart Data-Driven Redesign at the NYTimes

Like so many others, I'm constantly impressed with the NYTimes.  They have such an incredibly rich history of award-winning content, and have been pioneers in so many areas of digital media.  Plus they are loaded with super smart, data-driven, talented people.

We're incredibly lucky to have them as a customer of ours at Webtrends.

Mashable has a great article on the redesign of the article layouts the NYTimes is rolling out.  So many of these changes are driven by smart analysis of data.  Note these quotes:

  • Longer articles are no longer paginated because the Times found that readers read further and stay longer when they don't have those obstacles, Ian Adelman, the Times' director of digital design, says.
  • Approximately 46% of the Times's web traffic comes through the home page, and Adelman says desktop visitors frequently click on an article from the home page and click back to the home page to choose another article over and over again.
  • Subscribers who log in to the Times site when the redesigned pages roll out will notice that the navigation menu has been pre-populated with shortcuts to the sections they visit most.
  • Overall, there are less ads, but the Times expects impression numbers will remain steady because the new site will encourage people to read for longer periods of time.
  • There's also an expectation that, with less elements to compete with on a page, advertisers' messages will stand out more — a hypothesis that will be tested in time by click-throughs rates and other engagement metrics.
  • Larson says they are still testing to determine optimal placements for many of these features, particularly the most-emailed stories widget, which is especially popular with readers.
  • To keep you reading, a row of additional stories from the section appear at the end of articles, followed by a second row of stories recommended for you based on your previous reading history.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Micro-Campaigns with Real Cookies

Over at AdRants, Steve Hall notes "The most important issue the real-time marketing trendlet has brought to the forefront -- much the same way Twitter and other social media did -- is that the campaign is dead."

He's referring to the big campaigns that brands and agencies have run for a long time, and probably will still run moving forward, but I agree with him that there will be fewer of them, and that the trend is toward more of a real time marketing approach.

He cites the Oreo Super Bowl ad/tweet (such a clever, quick idea pulled off during the power outage while the game was paused) as an example of why it's critical for brands to be executing ideas much more rapidly.

We see the same trends at Webtrends, and have started to think in terms of micro-campaigns when we're thinking of analytics and optimization solutions.  Micro-campaigns are measured in terms of hours, not days or weeks.  They are frequent, and are generally supported by social media efforts, along with search, ads, and other drivers/sources.  There are all kinds of conversion metrics, and the goals can vary, but the nature of them is consistent: move fast, double-down where things work, and reset where they don't.

Our recent developments around Webtrends Streams and Optimize are focused on helping folks who are constantly testing, constantly learning and constantly running micro-campaigns.  You can't succeed at the art of micro-campaigning if you aren't measuring them as-they-happen.  And no other solution allows you to do this like Streams.  Check it out.


webtrends reinvigorate analytics