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Audience Development Team of the Year 2017

Congratulations to Bauer Xcel who are the winners of Audience Development Team of the Year 2017



Your ‘Elevator Pitch’


Bauer’s Audience Development team is a passionate and data-driven unit that focuses on the identification, engagement and retention of target audiences. We are a strategic business function that unites product, content, marketing, data, and revenue goals. We pride ourselves on creating continuous cycles of measurable learning within brands, as well as disseminating best practices across the wider Bauer organisation in a speedy and efficient manner. Above all, we’ve fostered a culture of openness and collaboration, and significantly improved the company’s digital competency with demonstrable impacts: nearly all of our core brands demonstrated ±100% Year-on-Year organic growth in six months’ time.


Set The Scene

Audience Development was a completely new concept and function in Bauer in 2015.
1. To establish and prove the value of audience development
2. To integrate audience development into core business functions, gain trust, and foster collaboration across departments
3. To up-skill an instinct-driven content business by demonstrating the value of data and insights in an approachable, non-patronising and infectious manner
4. To deliver repeatable success in a fast-moving industry where competitors have been investing more than ever in marketing and audience development
5. To continuously grow audience despite an initial scarcity of product development and digital marketing infrastructure.


Tell Us The Story

As Bauer Media’s first audience development team, we collaborated with the Debrief and doubled their audience within three months. A key driver of success was the deployment of our Audience Development Model. This brandagnostic model supercharges editorial instincts by seamlessly integrating audience insights (i.e. search, social and performance data) into content workflow. Key elements include:

  • Study user intent and seasonality (keyword tools, Google Adwords)
  • Analyze competitor content strategies (Buzzsumo, SearchMetrics, Hitwise)
  • Automate workflow to optimize insight-sharing and collaboration (Spike to Slack integration)
  • Surface actionable insights (custom dashboards)
  • Emphasise transparency, teamwork, iteration

For the Debrief, the model helped it establish a strong repertoire of millennial-focused, socially-aware, zeitgeisty content. This created a perfect platform to launch award-winning campaigns like “make-renting-fair”, which successfully petitioned the UK government to prohibit unjust rental agency fees.

Adapting our tactics to shifting market forces also contributed to the Debrief’s success. When social traffic became increasingly volatile, we developed ways to grow search traffic using trending social themes.

After the Debrief, our next challenge was to aggressively spread the audience development model across Bauer’s portfolio. This was an incredible success: all five of our core lifestyle brands demonstrated over 100% year-on-year growth in search traffic within six months of model implementation.

And the best thing? We’ve laid the foundation, and now we’re working towards integrating our model across the entire global Bauer Network (and its 107 brands). When we open up and learn from one another, the world is truly our oyster.

The Results


The Debrief: The results speak for themselves. Traffic for 2016 was up +43% YOY and we delivered consistent monthon month growth. Our relentless focus on our readers’ search behavior saw our search traffic go up by +119%.
Furthermore, despite Facebook’s endless algorithm changes (which penalised many publishers) we grew Facebook traffic by +41% YOY. Revenue rose +48% YOY and we worked with an enviable catalogue of partners including Nike, Chanel, British Airways, Boots and H&M. Perhaps what matters most is what the readers say – and they love it. In our latest on site survey over 90% said they liked or loved EVERY section of the site.
Additional Year on Year traffic increase success:
Mother and baby: 95% increase in search referrals
Grazia: 108% increase in search referrals
Heat: 154% increase in search referrals
Today’s Golfer: 169% increase in social referrals
Closer: 58% increase in search referrals

Audience Development Team of the Year 2017




Audience Development Team of the Year 2017 sponsored by Sublime Skinz

In Partnership with


In Partnership with

AOP - Association of Publishers