There is an interesting article in BusinessWeek on how AOL is utilizing software and analytics data in an effort to match content with user interests and monetize it more successfully.
Are you sure you want to write that article, Dave?
Is this a good thing? Done right, I say absolutely. As I’ve covered in past posts on monitoring hot search trends and dealing with seasonal dips in search traffic, news sites can leverage tools and data to gain powerful insights into what’s working and not working on their sites. This information can also be used to find the areas where editorial coverage and user interests most overlap, ultimately resulting in more traffic, pageviews and time on site.
Now that doesn’t mean that the tools should rule the roost, and applying these practices to the extreme of Demand Media or AOL’s SEED is a slippery slope. Standards of quality and editorial voice must be maintained, and news organizations in particular play a more important role in society than simply manufacturing content for the sake of making money from it.
But there is no reason not to use tools and data to help make smart business – and editorial – decisions. If news organizations can’t stay in business, they won’t be playing any role at all.