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Centralizing data for actionable insights

Economedia and Capital leverage data to understand audiences, increase user engagement, and optimize revenue.

Bulgaria’s business news leader

Economic daily Capital first rolled off the presses in 1993, covering Bulgaria’s first steps in the market economy and democracy. Its success led to the founding of parent company Economedia in 2006, which has grown into one of the country’s leading business media publishers. The Capital website now attracts 860,000 readers a month. The publisher describes their audiences as educated professionals seeking trusted sources for business news.

“We just had our 30th anniversary,” notes Head of Audience Data Chavdar Dimov. “It’s in our DNA to make old-fashioned, quality journalism, held to the highest standards.”

Other Economedia brands include news site Dnevnik covering national and world news, politics, lifestyle, and the environment; tech and business platform Digitalk; and specialized info products for careers, law, and more – reaching a total of 2.2 million unique users a month.

For years, Economedia used data to understand their audiences and create engaging content. “We used Google Analytics to get audience insights for our different publications,” Dimov says. “This was key to our success.” However, their data sources were fragmented (coming from Google Analytics, social media, and others), with data silos within the individual properties. They couldn’t track audience members across publications.

“We have a single sign-on infrastructure at Economedia, which allows one user with a single ID to log into any of our publications,” Dimov explains. “But we were not able to track them effectively to make reports. We tried different dashboards, but all had limitations and difficulties. We needed more actionable data to grow.”

To better understand and engage audiences and grow revenue across their brands, Economedia needed one centralized source for data collection, storage, management, and analysis. The company chose Google Cloud to house their new data warehouse.

“Through our data warehouse initiative, Google helped us connect the dots between data sets and get a 360-degree view of the user. It’s a game changer.”
Chavdar Dimov
Head of Audience Data, Economedia

Transforming data silos into one data warehouse

Economedia had participated in various Google News Initiative (GNI) programs. In 2023, the publisher took part in GNI Subscription Academy, a training delivered in partnership with FT Strategies. Here they embarked on a year-long initiative to transform and centralize their data systems across all properties.

The goal was to build a reliable data warehouse in BigQuery, serving as a single source of truth for all the company’s data sources. The project followed a data insights approach encompassing infrastructure setup, comprehensive data assessment, data mapping, and visualizing actionable insights through dynamic dashboards in Looker.

With technical support provided by Premier Google Partner Cloud Office in Bulgaria, Economedia worked tirelessly to make the new system a reality in a matter of months. Dimov recalls, “Our experience with data was an extremely important foundation for the data warehouse project because we were able to literally take off with a flying start.”

The flexible approach allows for adjustments as publication requirements and resources change. “Everyone on the project worked alongside our Google partner to get us to completion,” says Director of Digital Business Maria Toycheva. The new system launched in October 2023.

News Ideas

All around the world, news publishers are innovating ways to engage their audiences. From digital distribution and subscriptions to real-time analytics and AI, to delivering what readers want and giving readers a voice, they are using technology to reimagine the news — growing revenue and keeping journalism going strong. Their insights might inspire your own next big News Idea.

  • 44% increase in subscribers via websites
  • 39% rise in digital-only subscribers
  • 21% growth in retention rate

Using data to increase audience engagement

The data warehouse allows Economedia to “connect the dots between data sets and get a 360-degree view of the user,” Toycheva says. “It’s a game changer.”

For example, they built a dashboard for Capital to analyze traffic from other Economedia properties. “We can see the RFV [recency, frequency, and value] of each and every registered Capital user,” Toycheva explains. “We took data streams and information from different sources in the data warehouse, and we can visualize it as well. That was very important for us.”

Adds Dimov, “We combined Google Analytics data with our internal data, which was never possible before.” In addition, “BigQuery has not only streamlined data storage and analysis but has fostered a culture of informed decision-making.”

With data now easily accessible across publications, the company can experiment with different types of content, formats, and offers based on audience members’ past behaviors. As a result, they have seen a 44-percent increase in organic subscribers (website signups), 39 percent in digital-only subscribers, and 21 percent in retention rates. The system also allows them to spot red flags for unauthorized account sharing. By automating and streamlining their data systems, Economedia saves time and money – relieving tech staff of additional work, giving marketers intelligence to drive new growth, and freeing up journalists to focus on creating engaging content.

“We monitor user behavior to see when they convert to paying subscribers,” Dimov says. “Before this, to learn about the KPIs [key performance indicators] for user engagement, we had to write a ticket to the IT department, put it in their pipeline, then export the data and analyze it. These days, I just go to the dashboard and look for the RFV. It’s a piece of cake.”

The best part, Toycheva says, is that Economedia now has the knowledge and expertise to expand their data-driven capabilities.

“Now we have this know-how in-house to manage the data warehouse on our own,” Toycheva says. “We are building new dashboards and adding different data streams whenever they are needed. We can now do five experiments in one month, which was never possible before. We’ve already built a plan to develop our data capabilities even further.”

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