NHST Media Group is among the media companies using data to grow its brand. The media company is in the process of reorganising its new vision around insights for improved business and society.
NHST Media Group includes Norway’s biggest business daily, Dagens Næringsliv DN, and has been the country’s biggest business publisher since the 1990s. It is composed of data engineers, data analysts, and data scientists, and its main focus is on business publications and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).
The company’s data journey has just begun, and each different publication within the company is at different stages of data maturity.
“Some haven’t started with the journey and only have data reports, some are beginners, and some are really using insights to drive decisions and product development,” said Ariane Grumstad, head of analytics at the company.
The journey started in 2017 with a pilot project run by Dagens Næringsliv to “really investigate the potential of advanced analytics,” Grumstad said. The team established a few successful concepts, then formed its analytics team. From there, it created the building blocks of its data strategy:
- Solid data foundation.
- High-value insights.
- Collaborative team.
- Data culture.
“We want to build a solid data foundation, to give the base for how we can use this data to give high-value insights, and create a collaborative team working well with the business teams that are going to use the products, and enhancing skills and culture around data,” Grumstad said.
Within the data foundation, NHST works in data and tech silos between its publications. Grumstad explained there is a lot of duplication with working like this, which is not very effective and their goal is to simplify this process even more.
Grumstad explained how the company is focusing on moving toward digitalisation and why it is important: “Digitalisation is an opportunity for us, and we want to understand how we can use this data to create value for our company and for our users and customers,” she said. Tracking is another important driver of building its data foundation. With tracking, the team is able to identify the users. Without tracking, the team is unable to identify who its users are, therefore the data has limited value because “it is difficult to get any information besides the behavioural insights,” Grumstad said.
There are three actions the NHST team takes to get the necessary insights on its audience:
- Get users to register and log in. This identifies the user.
- Enrich the user profile to get more information about the user.
- Understand the user behaviour across the platform. NHST identified its data strategy building blocks to ensure a solid foundation for using the data it collects.
The 5 data principles
NHST has developed five data foundation principles to guarantee the collection of the necessary data that will gather insights and provide growth opportunities:
- Data ownership on NHST level, which allows faster and more effective solutions across all of its publications without duplicating work within the teams.
- Create a common ID across its publications, so the user registers and logs in once across all publications instead of having multiple logins for each.
- Define profiles for its users, which gathers more data for each user to open opportunities for the brand.
- Centralise the data on a common platform so it is more accessible and efficient for the teams.
- Provide security for users and the company. NHST also identified which actions it needed to take to get the necessary insights on its audience.
To drive users to register, the company developed an investing game, “Fantasyfond,” which has helped attract users that might not typically engage in its content. Not only did the company get a lot of new data, but it also had a growth in subscriptions. Offering free paid content to users for adding additional information to their profiles was successful, and Grumstad said approximately 50% of the users participated in this initiative.
Using data to improve results
NHST has developed focus areas to use data to improve its business results across its publications. They are:
- Improve reader engagement.
- Increase paying relationships with readers.
- Drive revenue from advertisers.
The team is making sure data is being used effectively to improve NHST, Grumstad said: “This journey is about becoming more data-informed, and everyone in the company should be a part of that journey.”
This case study originally appeared in the INMA report, The Guide to Smart Data Strategy in Media.