The six local media companies in the Google News Initiative (GNI) Data Lab, a partnership of Google, Deloitte Consulting and Local Media Association, have made notable progress in their strategic data use, as outlined in LMA’s final report on the project, How six local media companies leveraged data to grow revenue. [link] 

Data Lab participants, including The Seattle Times, WFSB-TV (Meredith Corp.), The Philadelphia Inquirer, WNBC-TV, New York (NBC Universal), St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Lee Enterprises), and Tampa Bay Times, tackled new data-based initiatives such as increasing digital ad yield, improving sales effectiveness, evolving organizational structure to embrace data, and adopting a data-infused, decision-making mindset with the passion and fortitude it takes to drive their business with this vital cultural change. 

Making meaningful changes to underlying data capabilities is a long process, but progress is possible with dedication and focus on the key areas featured in this report: 

  • Data foundations
  • Systems and tools optimization
  • KPIs
  • Experimentation
  • Sales effectiveness
  • Audience segmentation

In addition to many pointed successes and observations covered in the report, three themes emerged through the ongoing work.

Segmentation dominates: consumers, businesses, salespeople

Smart companies lean heavily into understanding their customers’ individual needs and wants, developing different solutions and services for different customer segments based on that knowledge. Savvily gathering data for each customer type leads to better decision-making on how to best serve those customers, and where media companies should place their bets.

Persistence pays

According to Deloitte, media companies globally lag in data maturity; they tend to have good data strategies, but struggle to operationalize data. Data Lab participants have some notable pockets of success with strong future plans backed by their newly gained insights. 

The power of cohorts and benchmarking

Data Lab companies repeatedly mention the intrinsic value of inter-company collaboration. Benefits often come from more general idea exchanges or best practice sharing, as well as from KPI benchmarking. 

To download the full report with details from across the partners who have experimented and improved in sales effectiveness, system optimization, audience segmentation and more, fill out the form below or click here.