How Summit Media Makes Data-driven Decisions Using Taboola Newsroom

Summit Media is a leading digital lifestyle network in the Philippines, serving over 31 million unique monthly visitors across fourteen websites and related social media channels. They utilize Taboola’s Newsroom solution for real-time data insights into content consumption across their network.

We had a chance to speak to Jillian Gatcheco, Summit Media’s Deputy Editorial Director—Operations and Product Development, about how and why Summit Media chose Taboola Newsroom and what exciting results they’ve experienced.

What’s your publication’s mission?

We want to be the leading digital media network for Filipinos by creating useful, entertaining, and inspiring content that will help them lead better lives and get ahead. As for our advertising partners, we want to help them achieve their business goals with innovative marketing solutions.

Why did you initially decide to start using Taboola Newsroom?

Summit Media has a diverse portfolio of 14 digital brands catering to audiences with very specific needs and wants. And for us to understand and serve them better, we cannot ignore data—what they read, watch, search for, or share on social media at any given time. Taboola Newsroom presents this information in a visually appealing, easy-to-digest way that our editors love and base their content decisions on.

Summit Media has a diverse portfolio… catering to audiences with very specific needs and wants. And for us to understand and serve them better, we cannot ignore data… Taboola Newsroom presents this information in a visually appealing, easy-to-digest way that our editors love and base their content decisions on.

What were the major challenges or objectives you faced before using Taboola Newsroom?

We would get data from various sources, but Taboola Newsroom put all the major points together in a mobile-friendly format that’s so straightforward and effortless to read.

We also love the “My Alerts” section that spoon-feeds the action you should take based on traffic spikes and drops. The teams act on at least 50% of the alerts, and these, combined with editorial insights, help us determine what to push on social media and what to highlight on our website homepages. There’s very little guesswork, and it speeds up decision-making for very busy editors.

The teams act on at least 50% of the (Taboola Newsroom) alerts, and these, combined with editorial insights, help us determine what to push on social media and what to highlight on our website homepages. There’s very little guesswork, and it speeds up decision-making for very busy editors.

What are some specific metrics your team acts on?

Each team uses Taboola Newsroom in their unique way, but specific functions that are actionable are:

  • Reports you can customize and email to yourself (like the Top 10 Articles in the last 24 hours) – this lets teams have something to kickstart the day with as a jumping-off point for their story lineup.
  • Top Search content – this gives us insights into what our readers are actively searching for online.
  • Top Social stories – the breakdown of traffic sources per article identifies distribution opportunities for our teams. For example, have we already promoted a story on Instagram? On Facebook? How can we push it more to the audiences we want?
  • Here are some examples of specific features of Newsroom where you find data that helps improve this workflow:

  • The customized email reports
  • “My Alerts”
  • Very clear traffic source breakdowns
  • A mobile-friendly interface
  • How has Taboola Newsroom helped your editorial teams who are working remotely?

    Working remotely means sending each other tons of screenshots to illustrate one’s point and make communicating easier. Taboola Newsroom’s aesthetically pleasing layout is a fantastic way to quickly and easily inform teammates of a surge in pageviews or a dip in engagement. The “Authors” section also helps us monitor our performance and identify personal benchmarks to keep us motivated.

    Taboola Newsroom’s aesthetically pleasing layout is a fantastic way to quickly and easily inform teammates of a surge in pageviews or a dip in engagement.

    What are some of the benefits your team has gotten from using Newsroom’s alerts?

    If we get an alert about a particular story gaining traction on social media, we usually milk that topic by producing related content, increasing its reach through Facebook boosting, or promoting it on other social media platforms.

    The alerts also help us identify which stories to highlight on our homepages.

    If we get an alert about a particular story gaining traction on social media, we usually milk that topic by producing related content, increasing its reach through Facebook boosting, or promoting it on other social media platforms.

    What are some of the positive outcomes your team has gotten from the Newsroom training sessions, and how they use data for decision-making?

    We only have positive feedback for the Taboola team! Hannah Teoh, our Engagement Manager, met up with all 14 Summit Media editorial brands and customized her tutorials based on each team’s needs.

    She has also been incredibly helpful with data analysis and prepared with insights for each group she met. We feel like the whole process has been fruitful and collaborative in the best way.

    What, if anything, has changed in how your editorial team operates as a result of the coronavirus?

    Everyone is now working from home, which means all forms of communication have shifted online, and sharing one’s screen to show a dashboard, deck, or visuals is essential to getting one’s point across.

    Summit Media’s teams have also become more collaborative via regular online huddles and check-ins. The pandemic has made us closer in terms of reaching out to each other; there are more meetings, but we’ve also never communicated as well as we do now.

    In what ways have you built a data-driven editorial team?

    It was built over time, especially since Summit Media had its beginnings in print. It all boils down to numbers transparency: Show everyone what’s working and what’s not via dashboards that are easy to understand.

    Soon, people understood that those who used the dashboards and listened to data—combined with editorial intuition—had better pageviews. I think I can honestly say that at Summit Media, there is not one editor who doesn’t open at least one dashboard a day.

    Editors also have access to other teams’ dashboards to learn from best practices or adopt strategies to work for their respective brands. We milk having 14 brands in the network; this diversity allows us to share resources, leverage each other’s strengths, and pursue content that reaches a wider audience.

    What are the most critical metrics/signals your editorial team looks for when choosing their next story?

    It’s all about listening to your audience—what they consume, share, and engage with. It’s also equally important to take note of what they DO NOT like.

    It’s all about listening to your audience—what they consume, share, and engage with. It’s also equally important to take note of what they DO NOT like.

    What are the key metrics you’ll be measuring in 2021? What’s your definition of success?

    As with any digital publisher, pageviews and unique users are important, but reader engagement on our websites is also up there on our list.

    What’s one unique thing about the Summit editorial team that doesn’t exist in any other?

    We have 14 websites catering to 14 unique audiences, making us the Philippines’ leading digital lifestyle network. Whether you’re part of Gen Z or you are a Boomer, we have multimedia content for you to consume.

    Most of our female readers actually “grew up” reading Summit Media titles—they start in high school or college reading Candy, graduate to Cosmopolitan, then cross over to Female Network or Smart Parenting.

    We also have brands that cover various genders, age groups, and interest points, like Preview, Yummy, Esquire, Spin, Spot, PEP, Real Living, and TopGear/TopBikes. In 2020, we launched reportr, our news website.

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