Use case: how The Local looks at native advertising from a new angle with Content Insights

Content Insights has made its way to newsrooms around the world. In the last few months, we’ve presented how analysts, audience editors and insights managers integrate our solution into their workflows. Now, it’s time to look at Content Insights from a completely new angle and discover how valuable it can be for marketing specialists too.

A month ago, we had a chance to see how Content Insights helps The Local’s editors create content that perfectly responds to the readers’ interests and preferences. This time, we’re crossing to the other side of the aisle and talking to the folks in marketing, who use our application for different reasons…

The Local was shortlisted for the prestigious Native Advertising Awards 2018 in the category of ‘Best Use of Online Media’, so naturally, we were looking forward to sitting down with Shaena Harrison, their manager of strategic commercial partnerships, to get her to take on our content intelligence solution and find out what she does with it.

When Shaena first saw Content Insights, news editors at The Local were already “squeezing insights” out of our analytics software with considerable success. “I thought it was brilliant,” she says, “and I had to wonder: why aren’t we [marketing specialists] using it too?”

She had started doing analytics with Google, but as she said, it only offered her numbers and that wasn’t what she was after.

“Combine Content Insights with Google Analytics and you have a super powerful tool”.

One application, two perspectives

Shaena looks at Content Insights from both from the commercial and editorial point of view, but the focus in both cases is on our driving force – CPI [Content Performance Indicator].


What is CPI?

CPI is the heart and soul of Content Insights. It’s an algorithm that shows how well your content is performing in comparison to other published articles on your

platform. It also provides insights for Sections, Topics, Authors, and also a whole website.

CPI takes into consideration dozens of different content performance metrics and examines their relations. It also weighs them differently in accordance with three recognized behavioral models: exposure, engagement, and loyalty.

CPI is always a number between 1 and 1000. When CPI is over 500 that means the article, section, the author performs better than the average.


When Shaena’s looking at the editorial side of things, the numbers are not indicative enough for her, so she looks at our actionable insights, such as how deeply the articles are being read by the readers [read depth]. That informs her what the next editorial step should be. Another thing she finds very valuable is the ability to benchmark different types of content via Content Insights.

Read depth bar of an article, screenshot from the demo, not actual data

On the commercial side of things, she uses Content Insights when negotiating with potential advertisers, something she considers an indispensable part of her pitch to clients.

“My task is to give them an in-depth perspective of our audience and reveal how engaged are they with our content.”

Shaena feels that the more information she can get to her clients, the better the service she’s able to give to them. She also feels that being able to show clients exactly how certain content is performing is very beneficial and adds another layer of transparency to the relationship. In fact, she finds the Content Insights interface so user-friendly that she uses it directly:

“I really enjoy the layout of your platform. I actually present it to the clients instead of giving them reports.”

Content Insights matters when she wants to describe who the readers of The Local really are. Hearing the thoughts of others is crucial for coming up with successful advertising campaigns that generate conversions and high click-through-rates.

“I have a slide in my pitch that says why Content Insights is important. It doesn’t only give them the numbers and metrics, but it starts to explain the context too”.

Explaining to a potential advertiser the exact number of reads they will acquire from a certain campaign is not enough. Shaena says that there is a need to emphasize the data behind the content in a richer way – in part to educate the client base that things such as ‘reads’ aren’t sufficient to explain engagement or exposure. That’s why she finds Content Insights so appealing and incredible: you don’t have to look around for long to see that it takes a more rounded approach to reader behavior.

Getting the right information out there

When we asked her could this be too much information for her clients, Shaena answered that information is what they are paying for. As she explains, a difference between native advertising and PR is that people who want to do native advertising can actually see what is the return on their investment.

“When you’re doing PR, you don’t get any insights. You don’t see how content has engaged the readers. There are no comments or any feedback. On the other hand, presenting insights from our application lets people see what the return on their investment in native advertising is. Shaena says Content Insights empowers her to say “this is why you should continue working with us.”

Even though Content Insights was created for editors in the context of the newsroom as a force to evaluate the performance of news stories, it can actually be used for a lot more than that. Content Insights has a place anywhere digital content matters: whether it’s a news story, a blog post, or a native advertising piece.

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

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