Gannett Chief Digital Officer: USA Today Site Revamp is a Prototype for Stations, Papers

By on 02/21/2013 6:46 AM @daisywhitney

As the flagship property at Gannett, USA Today’s recent Web site revamp will likely serve as a prototype for other Gannett properties. At the Beet.TV executive retreat earlier this month, we heard from David Payne, Senior VP and Chief Digital Officer with the Gannett Company, who spoke with Rob Norman, Chief Digital Officer at GroupM Global, about the new ad/content platform as well as measurement challenges in a digital world.

“USA Today is the first of the rollout of this new paltform that will then go to the other 100 properties across the country,” Payne explains to Beet.TV.

The redesign features a site optimized for any device and engineered for left-to-right navigation. “Because we open up the entire screen for advertising in a native and fluid user experience, the behavior we are trying to create is not scroll, scroll, scroll, it’s skim, skim, skim,” he explains. Ultimately, the goal of the revamp is to move away from needing to click on an ad to learn about the product or service, to integrating the ads into the experiene, much as magazine ads are, he says.

Gannett is also eager for multi-screen measurement. “Measurement makes everything better,” Payne says, adding that Gannett relies on third-party measurement from companies such as Comscore with its Validated Campaign Essentials and Pointroll for its attribution models. “We need to unify that data into a common currency. Until then it will be messy and challenging.”

Payne adds that Gannett is exploring how to share content across its properties, from local stations to newspapers. “You get a perspective of national and local and this is our challenge — to think of ourselves not just as one entity but as a massive organization. We have 100 bureaus, if you think about it.”




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