Media Briefing: Publishers like Gannett are using micro-surveys to amass audience data

On this week’s Media Briefing, media editor Kayleigh Barber seems to be at how publishers like Gannett and The Atlantic are surveying their readers to build up extra first-party information that may increase their promoting companies.

Micro-surveying at scale

The important thing hits: 

  • Gannett is hoping three-question surveys embedded in articles will get readers to supply up first-party information at a excessive quantity. 
  • Some media consumers declare they’d be keen to spend a good quantity for this information based mostly on the dimensions issue, however wouldn’t essentially pay larger CPMs. 
  • Not like long-form surveys, advertisers may not see as a lot worth in shopping for customized questions in micro-surveys.

Within the race to gather first-party information, publishers are contemplating each possibility, together with recycling viewers engagement techniques like surveying. Solely now, the secret is getting as many individuals as doable to reply questions with as little friction as doable.

For Gannett, the writer of USA Immediately and 230-plus native information websites, this technique is coming within the type of its new Pulse product, which launched in January and integrates three-question surveys within the physique of articles that readers are prompted to reply as they scroll down the web page. 

“It’s very delicate [and] it’s utterly voluntary. They determine in the event that they wish to [answer] it or not,” mentioned Gannett’s chief product officer Kris Barton. “There aren’t any paywalls or blocks earlier than they will proceed studying the article.”

Gannett isn’t the one writer extra actively surveying its viewers. Earlier this yr, The Atlantic’s CEO Nick Thompson mentioned his viewers workforce started sending out as many surveys as doable to gather first-party information that’s “measuring not who you’re [but] what you do.”

“We’re not taking exact geographic location information, we’re not checking your race — we’re checking what tales did you click on on? What number of tales did you learn? We’re asking questions alongside these strains,” Thompson advised Digiday in April.

In the meantime, Hearst within the U.S. has examined in-article polling for the previous couple of years. Nevertheless, though polls are nonetheless being​​ used intermittently throughout a number of the writer’s manufacturers, it’s not a central focus, in keeping with an individual conversant in the writer’s technique. Hearst declined to remark for this text.

These micro-surveys bear a relation to the panels that publishers like Complicated Networks and Hearst UK have convened over the previous few years. However their nearer comparability stands out as the micro-surveys that advertisers have adopted on platforms like Fb, Google and LinkedIn, which may assist to clarify why publishers like Gannett are pitching advertisers on soliciting particular questions by Pulse for a charge (Barton declined to reveal how a lot the writer is charging).

“We’ve seen an increase of in-ad lead technology applications drive success in accumulating first-party information by way of [platforms] like Fb and LinkedIn Lead Gen Advertisements, in addition to Google Advertisements with Lead Kind Extensions,” mentioned Greg Kaufman, svp of analytics enablement at promoting company RAPP, in an e mail to Digiday. “Gannett’s method could also be much more compelling to the end-user as it’s woven into trusted, high-quality content material.” — Kayleigh Barber

Why Gannett goes the micro route

The micro-survey method was interesting to Barton’s workforce at Gannett versus the extra conventional long-form survey, he mentioned, as a result of “we don’t assume it’s very pure to say, ‘sit down for 20 minutes and inform us every thing.’ And we predict that additionally introduces bias across the panel of who solutions your questions,” particularly in the event that they’re solely being despatched out to paid readers or e-newsletter subscribers. 

Gannett’s readers are introduced with three questions, the primary one or two being extra opinion-based and referring to the context of the story, akin to the place a reader stands on a difficulty. That is geared toward getting the reader engaged with Pulse and comfy with answering a query whereas studying, in keeping with Barton.

After breaking the ice, the questions shift into extra private territory like: Do you personal a house or what’s your family earnings? 

However past the speediness of solely asking three questions at a time, the context of the articles that the questions seem can say so much about readers’ propensity to take part, which provides an important studying alternative for Barton’s workforce whereas testing Pulse.

“We will be taught much more about your temper, belongings you’re keen to share or not share with totally different instances. In the event you’re studying one thing that’s slightly extra heavy in information, possibly you’re much less liable to share versus slightly extra upbeat,” he mentioned.

Consumers say: ‘Scale alone offers worth’ 

At the moment, Pulse micro-surveys are introduced to about 2.5% of Gannett’s whole viewers on any given day, in keeping with Barton, who mentioned that common distinctive guests throughout the corporate sits at about 180 million per 30 days. This proportion will improve over time, he mentioned however declined to share a plan for that development. Viewers members are picked at random to be introduced with micro-surveys, with the one exception being that sure onerous information matters, like terrorism, are exempt from Pulse. He mentioned this was to keep away from model security issues on advertisers’ half.

Since launching Pulse in January, the writer has collected a whole lot of 1000’s of information factors and about 44% of those that begin a survey will reply at the least three questions as soon as they’ve engaged with the product, in keeping with Barton. What’s extra, about six instances extra folks reply the primary query in a micro-survey than click on on an advert, he added. He declined to say what proportion of individuals uncovered to a micro-survey reply at the least one query.

“Somebody as massive as Gannett blasting [a three-question survey] to actually anybody who’s going to be studying one among their prime headlines right this moment, there’s going to be a ton of responses to that,” mentioned Seth Hargrave, CEO of media shopping for company Media Two Interactive. 

And that capacity to simply collect thousands and thousands of responses each day generally is a boon for Gannett within the eyes of consumers, although the writer just isn’t at the moment charging extra for the first-party information coming in by micro-surveying, in keeping with the corporate. 

“Scale alone offers worth,” Hargrave added. “However that doesn’t essentially imply we’d be keen to pay extra for it on a CPM foundation. We’d purchase extra of it total, simply because we could also be using that for larger frequency or no matter it might be for that individual consumer, however what the particular greenback worth of that information set is, it’s most likely extra so within the quantity and never essentially within the upfront worth within the entrance CPM.”

Finally, long-form surveys and micro surveys provide very totally different alternatives for media consumers, in keeping with Hargrave. Whereas lengthy kind surveys can present info wanted to put the groundwork for bigger media campaigns aimed on the writer’s viewers, micro-surveys are going to be restricted to understanding model recognition with this cohort. 

“[Micro surveys are] not going to establish true viewers propensities that we may construct customized options towards,” mentioned Hargrave.

What we’ve heard

“The price range cuts we made in April didn’t account for the modifications in shopper spending which have occurred since then, in addition to different stark financial alerts, just like the prediction of a recession and the inventory market decline.”

Food52 spokesperson on the corporate’s newest spherical of layoffs and cost-cutting measures

3 questions with The Washington Submit’s Kris Coratti on internet hosting bigger occasions

Even pre-pandemic, The Washington Submit prioritized internet hosting intimate in-person occasions for senior executives and newsmakers, and streaming stay programming to a wider viewers to tune in totally free just about. That’s altering this yr. 

In 2022, the Submit plans to placed on a complete of 10 to twenty in-person occasions, together with a 300-person, invite-only summit with Tina Brown Media, to offer extra networking alternatives and to develop The Submit’s franchises.

The Submit is teaming up with the media firm run by Tina Brown — the previous The New Yorker and Self-importance Honest editor who served as founding editor-in-chief of The Day by day Beast earlier than forming Tina Brown Media to host the “International Girls’s Summit,” a full-day occasion in November. It’ll purpose to carry collectively international girls leaders throughout sectors, in keeping with the corporate. Tina Brown Media beforehand ran an annual summit for over a decade referred to as “Girls within the World,” which closed down in April 2020 due to the pandemic.

The upcoming girls’s summit will deal with points akin to international management, monetary fairness, office reform and ladies’s struggles with excessive job losses for the reason that pandemic hit. The presenting sponsor is AARP. It is going to happen at The Washington Submit’s constructing in Washington, D.C., inside its auditorium.

Digiday spoke to Kris Coratti, chief communications officer and gm of Washington Submit Stay, to debate why the Submit is investing in bigger, in-person occasions this yr and in 2023. – Sara Guaglione

The interview has been edited and condensed.

Why is The Washington Submit internet hosting a summit with Tina Brown Media?

After we had been eager about coming again [to in-person events], we knew we wished to do it otherwise than we did it pre-pandemic. We had been nonetheless going to have our typical Washington [Live] applications. However we wished to do issues that had been just a bit bit extra formidable. Whenever you’re coming again in particular person after a pandemic, I used to be pondering, what’s actually going to attract folks collectively? A kind of issues is the truth that folks wish to be networking with each other. However what extra can we do? We began to consider taking our tentpole matters and constructing them out in a approach that, to start out, are a half-day or a full day — the place we may actually construct in not simply the distinctive programming, however much more of that networking. 

We talked to Tina Brown pre-pandemic and had began eager about partnering along with her. And it simply felt like a extremely pure match. On the finish of the day, Tina is a information particular person. She loves diving in and having deep and considerate information interviews and we thought — what an thrilling approach to usher in a brand new model along with our model. A few of what’s been actually thrilling to us is considering partnerships that we may create that may assist what we’re doing, usher in what they’re doing and make every thing even greater. We may form of rebuild and reimagine “Girls within the World.” We’re calling it one thing barely totally different nevertheless it’s that very same sense of taking a look at international points, how girls are eager about their monetary well-being, the economic system — this form of international connectedness that’s, for higher or worse, actually altering the best way all of us stay.

Would you say that this is likely one of the largest in-person occasions Washington Submit Stay has hosted? 

This would be the largest. The complete-day would be the largest that we’ve taken on since I’ve overseen Stay. However I might give it some thought as creating franchises. We’re at all times going to have our topic-based Washington breakfasts, however I wish to have these tentpoles, these franchises that we will create. I feel that this girls’s summit is one among them. I feel our work on local weather is one other. I don’t know that it’s going to be all laid out completely this yr. However the concept is that as we transfer ahead, that’s the imaginative and prescient for it. I might like to see folks touring for these. So possibly we’re not there in yr one however definitely in yr two. What’s good is it’s by no means going to be only a Washington viewers as a result of we’ve our digital viewers. 

Why does the Submit really feel it’s well worth the trade-off of sharing income from a summit like this one to host it with one other firm?

As a result of once we come collectively, it makes it greater. I imply, I firmly consider that this partnership will imply extra total income. So I really feel very comfy with the place we’ll find yourself. Tina Brown is an unimaginable power in media. Bringing her star energy along with our star energy — it elevates the entire thing. I’ve no downside with partnerships like this. I feel when finished proper and finished neatly and albeit and finished in good religion the place we’re agreeing upfront with what this seems to be like — then it’s nothing however success going ahead.

Income will come from sponsorship. What we do — at all times with our stay programming just because house is proscribed — is we curate our invitation lists in order that we will be certain that we’ve a extremely robust combine of individuals. Once more, bringing that networking alternative into play. So we don’t promote tickets for our stay occasions. We make it obtainable to everybody in our stay stream. I anticipate this yr may even be our largest yr ever, significantly from a income perspective.

Numbers to know

41%: Share drop in BuzzFeed’s inventory value on Monday after firm executives and a few buyers gained the flexibility to promote their shares.

$80 million: How a lot cash Hispanic media firm Latino Media Community raised, which the corporate has used to amass 18 Hispanic radio stations from TelevisaUnivision.

13 million: What number of monetizable each day lively customers Twitter expects so as to add this quarter.

<$215 million: How a lot podcast income Spotify generated in 2021.

What we’ve lined

Refinery29 expects its Unbothered vertical to attract 1000’s to its first ticketed occasion in Atlanta:

  • Unbothered’s “The Glow Up” occasion will happen on June 18 and 19.
  • The vertical expects as much as 4,000 folks to attend.

Learn extra about Refinery29 right here.

Vox Media launches its personal SSP:

  • The media firm’s SSP is designed to assist the writer programmatically promote its nonstandard advert codecs.
  • Initially, Vox Media’s SSP solely sells its Athena advert format by The Commerce Desk’s DSP.

Learn extra about Vox Media right here.

Google’s David Temkin sheds gentle on the corporate’s preparations for disabling third-party cookies:

  • Google is conserving to its end-of-2023 deadline for disabling using third-party cookies in its Chrome browser, Google exec David Temkin mentioned within the newest Digiday Podcast episode.
  • Temkin additionally mentioned Google’s two current Privateness Sandboxes and the potential for a 3rd targeted on related TV.

Hearken to the most recent Digiday Podcast episode right here.

How CoinDesk is utilizing crypto tokens for in-person occasion sponsorship offers:

  • The crypto information writer is doling out participation tokens to folks attending its Consensus convention.
  • The convention’s 267 sponsors may even be utilizing the token, which will help to gauge the sponsorships’ effectiveness.

Learn extra about CoinDesk right here.

Food52 workers hit with one other sweeping spherical of layoffs and decreased hours amid financial downturn:

  • The media firm has laid off 21 workers, or 15% of its workers.
  • Food52 has additionally moved its content material workforce and a part of its artistic workforce to a 32-hour workweek to economize.

Learn extra about Food52 right here.

What we’re studying

Vice Media Group makes cuts:
VMG has slowed its tempo of hiring and is trying to make some cuts to its enterprise because the media firm preps for a sale, in keeping with The Info.

Clubhouse makes cuts:
Just a little over a yr after Clubhouse kicked off the stay audio development, the app has laid off some workers and misplaced others who left due to the corporate’s lessened deal with classes like sports activities and information, in keeping with Bloomberg.

Gannett makes changes:
The writer of USA Immediately is reorganizing its operations with two new divisions, one targeted on its media enterprise — together with promoting and subscriptions — and the opposite oriented round its advertising and marketing providers enterprise, in keeping with USA Immediately.

Affiliate links make publishers less money:
The income development that publishers are seeing from carrying affiliate hyperlinks on their websites has dwindled from 163% year-over-year development in 2020 to 2% to this point in 2022, in keeping with Adweek.

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