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Google News Consumer Insights tool: the need-to-know

Hello Genoveva, you're the Strategic Partner Manager at Google in Spain. What does that mean? What is your specific role?

Hi Marion, my role consists of supporting with their digital monetization strategies. Most of them rely on our technology, Google Ad Manager, an ad management platform for large publishers which provides granular controls and supports multiple ad exchanges and networks.

I am also focused in assessing and accompanying them in their digital transformation. Especially now that we are witnessing huge changes in the digital ecosystem like privacy changes and new regulations, revenue models and news consumption patterns… I try to act as more of a trusted advisor rather than a technology provider.

You introduced us to Google News Consumer Insights at our Audiencers' Festival in Madrid. Can you tell us about this tool? How long has it been around?

The News Consumer Insights tool was launched in 2018 by the Google News Initiative. This tool is built on top of Google Analytics and has helped thousands of news organizations across nearly 130 countries make -driven business decisions that grow reader loyalty and increase profitability.

This free tool is extremely easy to use. Just by linking your GA account to the tool, you turn your raw data into business intelligence and actionable insights.

As a newspaper publisher, what can NCI help me with?

This tool helps both big and small News publishers whose goals are to grow Reader and Reader Revenue.

It will allow them to segment their audience based on how often they visit their site across a 30-day period and consequently provide actionable recommendations tailored to your site to inform your audience engagement and revenue strategy.

The audience is segmented into 3 segments:

  • Casual readers are the newest audiences; they visit a site once
  • Loyal readers visit a site 2–14 times
  • Brand lovers visit a site 15+ times

Together, these three segments make up the funnel. The end goal is to move readers across the funnel – turn the casual readers into brand lovers.

Based on this, the tool will provide publishers with actionable recommendations on:

  • Reader engagement
  • Reader Revenue
  • Video insights

On top of this, the tool will provide publishers with a new metric: “Reader Engagement Score (RES)”. This score will allow publishers to see how their audience engages compared to other news organizations. RES ranges between 0 and 100. 50 is the industry average.

Do you have any recommendations for making the most of this tool? Maybe from a publisher already using it?

This tool was very helpful for a partner I managed that was struggling to get more subscribers. NCI was valuable to show which levers they should work on to boost their newsletter subscriber base.

Many departments were involved in making this change happen: from IT to teams. All focused on the same goal. In the first instance, they put the sign-up box in a much more visible location: anchored in the top page, present across all articles and above the fold. They also removed the standard message “Subscribe Now” to something more personal: “Become part of our community”. As well as adding striking colors in the sign-up box. Lastly, they removed 3/4 of the form fields to subscribe, leaving just the email field. Newsletter subscribers increased by 150% in less than 3 months.

What's on the roadmap for this tool's development?

We are extremely excited to announce the launch of NCI 3.0. A daily 360 performance tool paired with personalized, -powered recommendations. This new tool, also free, will include new data tools such as Google Ad Manager, Google Adsense and Search Console so publishers will be able to get a much broader scope of insights and recommendations.

On top of that, other tools from the Google News Initiative like Real Time Content Insights or News Tagging Guide will be integrated in this new version.

The goal of this release is to gather all the recommendations that apply to the whole in the same place: content, audience and business.

Stay tuned for the upcoming launch!

If you had just one piece of advice to give to European press publishers, what would it be?

A good but difficult question… I would say “always act and think in a reader-first approach”. Give the reader what they want and make it easy for them to get it. Competition today is very strong, so why should the reader choose you? Give them the content they like, the ads they like, the formats they like (video, text, audio) and the icing on the cake is to send them personalized newsletters that simulate a private conversation between you and them. Creating this cozy space will be the key to retain them and make them love your brand. This sentiment of “reader first” should come from the top and cascade to the rest of the organization.

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