news.com.au – increasing user engagement and website traffic through redesign
This case study was submitted by Vida Redoblado of News Digital Media. To submit a case please email firstname.lastname@example.org for the guidelines.
news.com.au is one of Australia’s largest news websites. With over six million users worldwide, the team identified the need to adapt its brand, news and layout to best serve its diverse audience.
Product manager: Ziggy Ng
Creative Agency: George Patterson Y&R
Media Agency: Publicis
As a major national and international news website, news.com.au aims to provide the latest news and information in innovative, engaging and relevant ways to its readers.
With the brand relaunch and redesign, news.com.au wanted to encourage current users to explore deeper into the website while welcoming new users through the site’s new features and positioning.
The factors that determined news.com.au’s re-design came as a result of extensive prelaunch user and industry research; requirements from a wide range of stakeholders; exhaustive testing and a study of new technological solutions.
There was an additional post-launch strategy, centred around a specially launched blog entitled ‘Behind the Curtain.’
The news.com.au team recorded every single response from users, taking into consideration many of the suggestions and responding to the majority of the feedback.
The team also followed news.com.au site mentions on Twitter and other social media to gauge and react to unsolicited commentary.
To meet users’ varied needs and interests and to become unique in its industry category, news.com.au introduced an ambient personalisation feature on its homepage.
In a first for an Australian news site, users can rearrange the homepage by dragging and dropping section modules (eg. Technology, Money etc.), prioritising the news they want to read. Users can also choose how much news is visible on a particular topic by extracting the accordions in several news-section modules. These changes are automatically saved to a users cookie ready for their next visit to the site.
At the top of the homepage, users can choose how they want to consume their news. The introduction of the ‘News Visualiser’ offers a constantly updating selection of images from the sites top stories and galleries as an alternative to text headlines.
As a way to increase existing users to explore more pages on news.com.au, each of the story pages were revamped to display better related content.
Mediasearch was also introduced as a search function on story pages to automatically surface updated links to other related coverage to encourage users to explore other pages on the site based on particular keywords on a story. This also provides a more rounded news experience.
The re-brand also saw news.com.au introduce a fresh, new logo and tagline – From all Angles – emphasising the fact that the site publishes content covering a broad spectrum of perspectives for its users to explore.
After the first month live, the new news.com.au site recorded higher engagement, increasing the average time spent on the site by 16% compared to the previous month.
Traffic to homepage redesigns often decreases after launch. With news.com.au, post-launch traffic recorded a 6% increase in unique visitors which is an outstanding result.
The industry standard for personalisation is 10%. At news.com.au, one third of users now utilise personalisation features.
Advertisers have also responded favourably to the new homepage and the new advertising opportunities available. news.com.au recently signed a major homepage takeover with Virgin Blue, who splashed their Its not deer ad campaign across the homepage.
To watch a short video of news.com.aus editor, David Higgins discussing the redesign click here.