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1 May, 2019

Realtime Data Keeps Ekstra Bladet on the Customer Pulse


Article By

Lars Gundersen, Head of Data & Insights, Ekstra Bladet
Michael Teglgaard Nielsen, Director of Science, Flowtale

As the biggest digital publisher in Denmark, not to mention the most visited website in Denmark after Google, Facebook & Youtube, Ekstrabladet was sitting on a data goldmine and their Head of Data & Insights, Lars Gundersen knew it.

His team was already working on ad-hoc reporting using simple Excel solutions and Google Analytics, but he knew they could do much more by unlocking their data resources and using it in an advanced manner. The competencies needed to get this off the ground was something his team lacked at that point, so before he took on new people to fill the capability gap, he decided to bring in consultants to get a good head-start on the projects he had planned and the overall learning curve to data science maturity. 

Lars partnered up with Flowtale and started working closely with Director of Science, Michael Teglgaard Nielsen and his team of data scientists, to explore how Ekstrabladet could use their data, “Michael and the team are really enquiring guys. There was a lot of inspiration that was outside the defined scope that came up for us and new possibilities we hadn’t considered” says Lars. “The response time and the interaction going back and forth was really good, because we didn’t have big specs on what we wanted to build, so the guidance and responsibility Flowtale took on, and the solutions they came up with, were really cool.”

One of these solutions is a real-time dashboard which Ekstra Bladet uses to measure the performance of content on the front page of their website. If articles are not being clicked on or read, then they are quickly replaced with more relevant content. “The real-time reporting has had a huge impact on value for our business,” says Lars, “we use it every day and if it’s down for one minute, the whole company is screaming and telling us that they can’t do their work,” he said. “Because we are a newspaper” he continued, “people in the company act on data insights within 1-2 minutes and that wouldn’t be possible without the infrastructure Flowtale built for us”.

The result of this solution is a much better front-page experience for Ekstrabladet’s subscribers. From a business perspective, another solution involved the build of machine learning infrastructure predicting the age and gender of readers. This has not only helped Ekstrabladet tailor content more accurately but also enabled them to automate and predict the demographics they should be reaching out to when selling subscriptions. 

“One of the main things I got from working with Flowtale was the insights on what you need to do in an organisation if you don’t have the capabilities in your team to work with advanced data science,” says Lars. “It was just a great learning journey on what competencies were needed, what systems to use and the possibilities available to us, so we could hire the right people and continue on the road to data science maturity within our own team” he concluded.