Massive amounts of data driving audience growth

Rich Gordon’s latest white paper on successful audience growth projects is now available. It’s on the Asbury Park Press’s DataUniverse.

In the five months from December 2006 to April 2007, DataUniverse has generated more than 25 million page views, D’Ambrosio said. That’s an average of more than 5 million page views per month – more than a quarter of the Web site’s total.

“I’ll be honest with you. I did not expect it would generate a huge amount of traffic,� Hidlay said. “What this really shows is that the public really wants access to the raw data. We have been amazed at what a traffic builder and audience builder this is.�

When a new database is published on DataUniverse, D’Ambrosio said, users don’t look at just that one. “They then start exploring all the databases – all the other databases explode with traffic.� Traffic also increases to the rest of the paper’s Web site, D’Ambrosio said.

It seems so obvious — newspapers are great at gathering data (when I was reporter, I remember having reams of data stuffed in my desk drawers), and the web makes publishing data in easy-access formats so relatively simple. Plus, newspapers online, in my view, have a journalistic obligation to be a repository for as much information about their communities as possible.

It’s great to see solid evidence in audience growth for a project like this.

My suggestion though: drop the current o-wrap, go with a simpler design, and run only contextually relevant advertising (such as AdSense).

Disclosure: Gordon’s project is brought to you by the Digital Media Federation’s (part of the NAA) audience development committee, which I chair.

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