Congratulations to Bauer Xcel who are the winners of Audience Development Team of the year 2018
Your ’Elevator Pitch’
Bauer’s Audience Development team managed the impossible this year, completing a highly-challenging project which represents an industry-first, as well as growing traffic and engagement across all the three divisions it works on: radio, lifestyle, and specialist/automotive.
Our biggest achievement was the successful migration of Grazia, Heat and Closer from their former home on the lifestyle.one portal site to new dedicated brand sites. This involved the technical challenge of undoing several years of complex redirects from the original merger of the brands, as well as developing a post-migration content strategy which drove more page views than ever before.
Set The Scene
Bauer’s Audience Development team consists of two people, covering lifestyle, radio and specialist/automotive. The biggest project of the year was the uncoupling of lifestyle.one, the portal formed of the merger of Grazia, Heat and Closer.
As far as we know, no team has ever tackled splitting a single domain into three after a merger. But simply doing the demerge was not enough: we also had to ensure that pageviews increased, which required a reworked search and social strategy. And all this was done against a challenging background of reduced reach on Facebook, as the company’s algorithm changes started to bite.
Tell Us The Story
In 2015, Bauer had embarked upon a strategy which saw its lifestyle brands – Grazia, Heat, and Closer – merged into a single domain, Lifestyle.one. Although there were good reasons to do this at the time, by 2017 it was clear that the strategy was holding back traffic growth and not delivering the kinds of revenue growth required.
It was time to move to a new platform, and Bauer chose to build on top of the DADI Publish CMS which we had already successfully used on our radio brands. We also moved a fourth brand – The Debrief – to the same platform at the same time.
For audience development, this meant creating a brand new taxonomy for the site, and constructing the redirects which would ensure content was migrated correctly and that no content was left “dead”, something which could massively impact on the search traffic. This meant unravelling hundreds of thousands of redirects, sometimes chained together.
And all this had to happen with no additional resource beyond the team of two people, while also continuing to ensure that the radio and specialist/automotive divisions grew their traffic too.
Beyond the pre-launch work, audience development also had to create a new content strategy designed to reduce the dependence on social media traffic – common amongst lifestyle brands – and increase evergreen search traffic. This involved developing individual keyword strategies for the brands, and weaning brands away from instant hits of news traffic towards more evergreen content.
The team were set a target of maintaining their level of monthly unique users while increasing their pages per visit from just over two to four. By the end of the year, they had smashed these numbers out of the park, increasing users by more than 12% across the combined brands while getting over six pages per visit out of each user on average.
Although social traffic was reduced, as we had expected and planned for, search traffic rose massively over the last few months of the year as the new search-focused strategy kicked in and delivered higher levels of traffic on core topics. Overall, the project proved to be a massive success for Bauer – and audience development played a central part in making this happen.