Use case: How Mittelbayerische Zeitung is transforming to digital and reader first with Content Insights

Mittelbayerische Zeitung partnered up with Content Insights to discover what kind of content makes their readers more engaged and loyal, and also, what turns their regular readers into paying subscribers.

In case you’re not familiar with this brand, Mittelbayerische Zeitung is a German regional paper, based in Regensburg. It has 13 different local editions, and their website content is also focused on regional and local stories. It’s mostly read by people in Upper Palatinate and large parts of Lower Bavaria. Their website now operates on a freemium paywall model, which means that readers can read only part of the content for free, while subscribers have access to all the stories.

Mittelbayerische is a news company that cares about understanding their audience behavior and they’ve chosen a business model which aligns with these values. They believe in building stronger relationships with their readers, and see this as the key instrument for taking their business to new heights.

That’s the main reason why they decided to make Content Insights an integral part of their process.

After a couple of months of using our content intelligence software, we touched base with Mittelbayerische’s Data Analyst, Andreas Wöhrl, who explained to us how he uses Content Insights, what he likes the most about it and how our unique content intelligence software helps the German-based publisher grow its business.

What makes Content Insights Essential for Mittelbayerische Zeitung?

Our chat with Andreas was mostly focused on understanding the value he and his team get from our advanced content intelligence solution. Here’s a short summary of all the key value points Mittelbayerische’s Data Analyst said Content Insights brings to their organization:

  • Discovering reader behavior and growing subscribers base
  • Having a customizable reporting system that singles out content that performs well
  • Having complex metrics that other tools don’t offer, such as Read Depth and Attention Time
  • Guiding a cultural shift from following simple, browser metrics to using complex metrics
  • Learning how to attract more readers to the wire content
  • An easy way of looking at longtail articles
  • A simple referral system that divides traffic by internal and external
  • Being able to compare how content from different regions performs

As you can see by looking at the bullet points above, Andreas is interested in digging deeper into the behavior of the publication’s readers on a regional level, improving lead generation, and finding out which success patterns his colleagues can replicate to establish a stronger bond with people who already consume their content.

Discovering reader behavior and growing subscribers base

Nothing is more important to media organizations today than learning what their readers want and how to better meet their expectation. This kind of information Andreas says he gets from Content Insights:

“We’re looking to engage people and create loyalty, so this is very important for us. Content Insights has some metrics other tools don’t have to this extent”.

Andreas refers to our Content Performance Indicator (CPI), specifically on Loyalty CPI and Engagement CPI.

But this is just the tip of the iceberg. Mittelbayerische’s team also looks at metrics such as Attention Time and Read Depth in order to understand the level of their readers’ engagement.

“This is very important for us because we believe this is the way to go for subscribers. First, we need to find out which content attracts people and then makes them subscribe at some point” 

Andreas says that Mittelbayerische’s goal is to first build a loyal following, then figure out how to convert their loyal readers into paying subscribers.

With our advanced content intelligence solutions and our unique metrics, Mittelbayerische Zeitung is making a cultural shift in their newsroom and how they define actions of value for their publication. This change is built around lowering the impact of single metrics:

“Since we started using Content Insights we see more value in behavioral metrics than simple metrics, because of stuff like Pageviews don’t tell you anything. I’m really thinking to lose them completely in a lot of reports because they just don’t tell you the whole story.”

Our interlocutor adds that with the change to their paywall, which now operates on the freemium model, they are defining what metrics are important for them.

“This change will definitely bring more focus to behavioral metrics because it would be very important for us to see how long users are staying on the website and to see the Page Depth as well”.

In addition to Page Depth, Andreas also focuses a lot on our Read Depth metric. He says it’s very important for them to see the precise engagement levels of their readers who land on their website from different sources.

“Let’s take Facebook users for example. It’s very important to inform editors how articles perform on this network, like do they help to convert people, or are these people even diving deeper on the website. With just Pageviews, you just don’t see that”.

Reporting system in action

In order to stay in the loop with how Mittelbayerische Zeitung’s website (and specific articles on it) is performing, Andreas has set up a reporting system that feeds him with actionable insights on daily basis.

Mittelbayerische’s Data Analyst uses different reports. He has specific reports that focus on the company’s original content, wire content, and the mixture of these two types of material, wire content that Mittelbayerische’s writers need to rewrite or edit.

The difference in performance between articles that come through these different types of reports is usually quite noticeable. Their regional (original), and national (agency) stories show diametrically different results.

“We redact, edit or change headlines to some of the agency articles, to suit our audience in a better way. We see these articles’ performance somewhere in between (original and plain wire content)”.

In other daily reports, Andreas is looking at the best articles sorted by Loyalty CPI and Engagement CPI, and then he focuses on separate metrics such as Read Depth and Attention Time.

An easy way of looking at everlasting articles

Andreas finds our long-tail menu very useful.

“Looking at long-tail articles is really something useful because that’s difficult to measure with any other web analytics tool”.

Our interlocutor says it excites him to follow which articles and topics suddenly revamp themselves and start to interest readers again.

He then looks at these good-performing older articles and sees what they can re-post on social media, bring back to the homepage, or use as a good foundation for writing new articles.

One example of a successful long-tail content is a story about a mayor involved in a corruption scandal. Andreas tells us that this story was first hot in October, but since the trial is currently now in full swing, new reports appear from time to time. As Andreas says, old pieces still attract readers who want to know more about the whole story.

Simple referral system

Andreas finds Content Insights very useful and efficient for analyzing internal and external traffic:

“It’s not done in the same way as it would usually be in web analytics. I used to work as an analytics consultant for newspapers and one of the questions was always to compare internal and external traffic. You really want to see what is driving those article reads, so it’s quite interesting to see the share of internal and external traffic in that way.”

Comparing content from different regions

Digging deeper into the performance of different sections on Mittelbayerische Zeitung’s website is also something that Andreas finds very interesting. These sections are named after different regions which Mittelbayerische covers on their website. For Andreas, Content Insights’ sections performance graph basically looks like a map of regions which shows how Mittelbayerische’s content performs in different regions:

“This is very interesting for me because we don’t get this kind of presentation in any other tool. Here I can see which sections perform best and the regional differences as well. For example, there are regions which report a lot in picture galleries, and others don’t, so I definitely see the difference”.

Andreas here learns how loyal and engaged Mittelbayerische Zeitung’s readers are in each region:

“It’s really a big difference. We can now see that people coming from a certain region are more engaged, more loyal, and they are coming back more often, or have great Page Depth when they read content”.

Andreas explains that the next step for him and his team is to find out what is causing the difference in content performance: is it the content, the way it’s presented, or people’s behavior in different regions?

If you think that our content intelligence solution could be helpful for your organization, please get in touch with us.

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