“We’re trying to obsess over audiences in a positive way, and how we can better support them,” Robins said. That means using Google’s HEART framework to assess the user experience on the site. The team is looking deeply at how users browse through the site, and how “we can encourage them to sign up.”
On the advertising side, the team is just now building out audience segments in the DMP. The goal is twofold: first, to leverage predefined segments for some of its more routine buys with agencies and ad networks, and second, to create a private marketplace using its audience data.
For direct sales, Sift Media will create custom segments to help individual advertisers with direct buys. “The way we work is more consultative,” Robins said. “We take a proactive stance working with clients, trying to understand what goals they’ve got, who they’re trying to reach and then measuring satisfaction.”
Those custom segments for advertisers could take into account frequency of visits and what areas of the site the user is visiting, for example, to determine if a reader on Accountingweb.co.uk is interested in tax software.
To build those segments, Sift Media had to categorize its content. So far, “the biggest part was us implementing some things around better defined metadata,” which the team did using a Drupal module.
The team’s working approach is agile. “We set simplistic goals, take small steps, test, learn and then change and refine further.” Sift Media is doing that with its first set of segments, starting with five categories and expanding from there.
The earliest iteration of the content module will be up and running next week. Starting to sell advertising according to its segments is not far behind. Further along, Sift Media plans to use the Cxense tools to guide entire redesigns of its site experiences.
As the team continues to add technology, those decisions will be made with the goal of improving the experience for the reader and advertiser. “We’re doing a lot of work to make sure we understand the audience, and creating the content & experiences they want,” Robins said. “That’s the journey we’re starting out on with Cxense.”