The GNI Data Lab’s six participants are each buckling down on two to three strategic initiatives, based on their Data Maturity reports and a July 22 cohort meeting in Chicago.

Early reviews indicate a big focus on creating more value from owned-and-operated audience segments, and growing revenue with better direct sales and programmatic performance. Each company will fully report on results at the Google Local conference, Dec. 10-11. Updates from two participating companies:

  • The Philadelphia Inquirer has set an ambitious goal of more than doubling its direct sell-through rate by December, while also increasing direct eCPM. Better, smarter contextual targeting will be a key driver, along with empowering sales reps with O&O audience segment knowledge and ad performance results.
  • The Tampa Bay Times has already unified its direct and programmatic ops management, a big step to improve yield in both channels. They’ve seen positive early results in August. They will also start to create valuable audience segments for direct sales to target. Google is helping with a full audit of the Times’ Google Analytics, in part based on what the Tampa Bay Times had learned from the Philadelphia Inquirer at the Chicago cohort meeting.

The GNI Data Lab is a partnership of Google News Initiative, Deloitte and Local Media Association.