The Guardian to make own-brand digital marketing more targeted

The Guardian is set to introduce more targeted marketing on its website to point its readers towards the most relevant paid-for services it offers.

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Marketing for commercial inventory such as dating service Soulmates or its holiday deals will be tailored based on user behaviour. Promotions based on demographic data will also be optimised further down the line.

The media brand hopes that a new optimisation solution, provided by Cognitive Match, will inspire more users to spend on the site, which runs on a “freemium” model.

Chris Lawson, the Guardian’s content sales and marketing director, says: “If we know someone is a new customer that has never visited the site before, is promoting a subscription to our iPhone app to them as relevant as pointing it to someone that’s been on the site 25 times?

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“Of course it’s not. This is about trying to show users the most relevant offers so they get the most useful experience from our site.”

He adds that the aim is not to direct traffic away from the Guardian’s journalism, but instead to showcase its commercial offerings on a more targeted basis than before.

The Guardian’s website attracts more than 60 million unique browsers each month and its Facebook app has been installed by more than 4 million people since its launch in September.

The paper’s editor in chief Alan Rusbridger and Andrew Miller, chief executive of parent company Guardian Media Group, unveiled the title’s “digital first” transformation strategy earlier this year in response to “inexorable” trends in media consumption from print to online.

The company hopes the strategy will be a driver in helping digital revenues double to nearly £100m by 2015.

The Guardian is set to launch a brand marketing campaign early next year, devised by Bartle Bogle Hegarty, to highlight the strategy and the paper’s “open” approach to journalism as it looks to encourage more print and iPhone subscribers to the title.

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