When Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post relaunched its commenting platform, it needed a data dashboard which spoke the language of each expert contributor.
Data vice president Korey Lee and data director Romain Rouquier tell the story of what happened next in an INMA blog this week.
“Data helps organisations make better decisions, but only if teams organise it and make it meaningful,” they say. “Dashboards are used by nearly every department at media companies today – from screens in the newsrooms to advertising sales departments to audience growth teams. But how do we build dashboards that yield insights and foster inter-department collaboration?”
Following the relaunch of SCMP’s commenting platform – which involves knowledge experts to elevate conversations around trending topics – the publisher needed a new way to feed the cross-department collaboration. “Different departments speak different data languages, have varied data maturity and tools, and have their own focus and KPIs,” say Lee and Rouquier.
Three pillars addressed centralising insights from all departments, easing data adoption through UX and UI, and enabling greater reactivity with real-time data and alerts.
SCMP’s different departments use data in various ways with specific and varying areas of focus and KPIs. For example:
Product: Which platform are users commenting on the most? How many users are logged in? How many visitors are ready to comment? From which entry point?
Audience growth: Which stories should we feature to encourage readers to comment? How was the performance of the EDM and the in-house ad? What is the open rate of the retention e-mail?
Editorial: What are the sections with the most or least engagement? How many comments from the newsroom have been posted? Is the quality of comments improving?
Corporate communications: How many readers took part in the conversation? How many of those comments did not pass moderation?
All teams: How did my actions impact cross-department targets?
Insights were centralised to enable teams to maximise the reach and impact of this new platform, driving transparency, mutual understanding, and shared focus.
With clarity the top priority, data visualisation, UI and UX were considered for the new dashboard, sourcing inspiration from “the best non-analytical products” to craft a well-designed and easy-to-use dashboard.
The dashboard was divided into six pages with a clear structure that mirrored the design of the reach-acquisition-engagement funnel, which aligns with company and team level growth objectives. This provides an overview as well as specific steps within the funnel.
Each page has an explainer to provide context, while user guides and tutorials explain details of the dashboard, add filters and accommodate self-service so dashboards can easily be used globally across all satellite offices.
Alerts are integrated into the online team so they can be aware of spikes in engagement and potentially repost and/or curate compelling comments. The dashboard clarifies which comments are trending and when external experts contribute so the team can respond or reply.
“Good dashboards are instrumental to the success of many other projects, changes, and decisions by maximising the impact of data and fostering collaboration,” say Lee and Rouquier.