New funding opportunity for hyperlocal publishers: Action research in audience analytics
This week we’ve launched a new funding opportunity for hyperlocal publishers, which we’re sure is welcome news for many independent journalists, bloggers and bestowers of community news and information.
Over the past three years, Nesta’s research has revealed the challenges that hyperlocal publishers face (namely ‘sustainability’ and ‘findability’) and the tools and strategies publishers can utilise to alleviate some of these challenges and create opportunities instead. Our 2013 report Destination Local: Our Lessons To Date explained that “not all hyperlocal media providers routinely gather and analyse their audiences” and consequently we recommended that “all hyperlocal services should consider how they collect, analyse and use data, and whether it may also be worth carrying out consumer research to better understand the needs and wants of users”.
A couple of years on and we know that many publishers are still not gathering and analysing data about their audiences. From speaking with a number of publishers across the UK, we know there are various reasons why this isn’t a priority: from not having enough time, to not understanding the value of audience analytics, to being anxious about using some of the web and social media tools available. In turn, many publishers aren’t effectively engaging with their local community nor do they truly understand their value proposition to advertisers or other local services.
To help hyperlocal publishers overcome the barriers to employing audience analytics as a fundamental part of their service, we are opening a grant funding call for publishers to be a part of a four-month action research trial. Action research being a “practical and reflective approach to problem-solving led by individuals working as part of a community of practice to improve the way they address issues and solve problems.” We will provide funding for up to 10 projects, up to £6,500 each, and welcome applications from hyperlocal publishers from across the UK.