76: How PopSugar Is Using Adobe Analytics To Fuel Growth
Tonight we have Chris George from PopSugar. Those of you who haven’t heard of PopSugar are probably male, because PopSugar is aimed at 18-36 year old women I believe. But what I love about what they do there is they have a mixture of shopping and editorial content. The editorial content is very similar to what you would see on websites such as BuzzFeed. You have lots of viral content and lots of pre-viral content and evergreen content all mixed in together.
What has often fascinated me is what tools that sites such as PopSugar or even BuzzFeed use to determine what is viral and what’s about to go viral. What analytics do they actually use? I recently learned that over 100 PopSugar content creators leverage Adobe Analytics to closely observe trends and historical data. That data is then leveraged in creative ways to generate the best content pieces. This way PopSugar is better able to predict and anticipate the stories that readers (in their case female millennials) will actually click on. For the cynics among you all you need to look at is their SnapChat figures. SnapChat is getting a lot of attention at the moment and seems to be going through somewhat of a transformation especially where businesses are concerned.
Can you tell me a little about yourself and your role at PopSugar?
I’ve been with PopSugar about three years and I head up product marketing here. My background is I started my career in the late 90’s on the ad agency side. I was there four years before I jumped over to the publishing side. One of the things that drew me to that side was the access to all of the data and first party information that we had at our fingertips.
I started my career on the publishing side at a gaming site called IGN. One of the first products I worked on was something called gamer matrix. We were taking all of the IGN data around people’s interest in video games and we were able to forecast the first month’s sales of games. It was a great way to use data at a pretty early stage and inform and help that industry move forward.
Can you tell me a little bit more about what you do and what PopSugar is all about?
In my role I have a couple of different functions. I oversee the consumer insights team and that team is responsible for not only providing our sales team, who are working with our brand partners, with insights and data to help inform their recommendations but also feed data and help people understand how to use our data throughout the organization.
We also focus on product development. So I work very closely with our product team to make sure we’re creating new experiences for our audience to help grow our reach as well as provide new solutions for brands.
Has the success on SnapChat surprised you at all?
I think it’s been our fastest growing platform. When we started to focus specifically on SnapChat which was in Q4 of last year, that’s when we saw it really start to take off. I think that’s a great lesson for any platform you are working to build an audience on. You can’t create blanket content and push it across every platform. You have to understand the unique needs and the use cases for each individual platform. With SnapChat our June reviews are up to 35 million and we expect to surpass that in July. The trajectory has been phenomenal and speaks to the popularity of SnapChat.
Can you explain how data analytics and technology is transforming PopSugar?
We used to say we were a data driven company and I think if you have to say it you are probably trying too hard. I think now what’s happened is we don’t say it, we just are. It’s become second nature and it’s a part of everything we do. A big part of that is having the right tools to understand the data. When I started here three years ago we didn’t have access to tools like Adobe Analytics which is our system of record for driving the business. Without that we were shooting in the dark. We didn’t understand the types of content people were interested in, we didn’t know when they were interested in that type of content and all those data points when they surfaced and became more accessible is when we saw our content take off.
What’s next for PopSugar?
A big push for us is video. We’ve seen a huge surge on SnapChat, Facebook and YouTube. We have a product we’re launching called PopSugar Connect where influencers can access the content that PopSugar is creating. This is premium content that is produced by PopSugar and we’re giving influencers the ability to push that out to their own channels.
For anyone wanting to learn more about PopSugar what is the best method for reaching out?
You can reach me on LinkedIn (Chris George). You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org