La Vanguardia is Spain’s leading daily newspaper, printed in Spanish and Catalan. It has a well-read website with 428 million monthly page views and it’s part of Grupo Godo, a major multimedia group headquartered in Barcelona.
Yusp started collaborating with La Vanguardia in 2018 on a personalization Proof of Concept (PoC) for La Vanguardia’s website. The scope of this initial PoC was limited to the content recommendation boxes on the website appearing on two placements: on the Main Page and the Article Page. The test period aimed to test the integration of Yusp’s solution into Grupo Godó’s site and measure the difference between Yusp personalization and the previously used solution in an A/B test comparison.
Personalization has a significant impact on La Vanguardia’s readers’ engagement. Readers stay on the site longer if the most relevant content is presented to them, which we achieve by serving 7 million personalized content recommendations daily. Our experience at Yusp shows that visitors open more subpages on a news site that uses an effective personalization engine.
Generating additional revenue from impressions is the most important added value of personalization for Grupo Godó. They can generate more ad impressions if more pages are viewed and if more time is spent on the site. The model provides visitors relevant content, which keeps website visitors engaged, and they spend more time on media consumption. Consequently, it increases revenue from advertisements.
For the Initial PoC phase, La Vanguardia and Yusp agreed to use CTR (Click-through rate) as the primary KPI in order to measure the accuracy of recommendation and user experience quality. CTR is defined as the number of clicks on recommendations per number of recommendation requests. The trial period lasted a month, during which Yusp managed to outperform La Vanguardia’s previously used solution significantly.
We placed recommendation boxes on the Main and Article Pages of La Vanguardia’s website. On the Main Page, multiple articles were recommended based on collaborative and content-based filtering, with trending article recommendations enriched with contextual information as a fallback for users without any browsing history.
Article recommendations on the Main Page
To make sure that visitors only see the current relevance content, the recommendable articles have been filtered based on the section they belong to. For example, articles in the Politics and International news categories were recommended for only 24 hours after publication, while Cultural and Technology themed items could appear in the boxes for a week.
On the Article Page, the magazine recommends personally relevant articles with a focus on the ones that are related to the currently viewed one to encourage visitors to continue reading on the site.
Otras noticias (“Other news”) placement on the Article Page
As a result of the successful integration and fine-tuning on La Vanguardia’s website, Yusp managed to generate a 1.9 times higher CTR compared to the previous solution. Yusp steadily increased its lead in CTR, averaging a +92.8% relative difference and reaching a +102% relative difference at the very end of the POC period.
Total CTR during the PoC period
Besides showing the personally most relevant articles in the displayed recommendation boxes, La Vanguardia also wanted to increase user experience by the infinite scrolling function. It means that once a visitor finishes reading an article, they are automatically redirected to the next (personally relevant) one by simply scrolling down. This solution is effective as it decreases the required number of clicks per user to view the same amount of content.
An example of the infinite scrolling function on La Vanguardia’s mobile web platform
Accelerated Mobile Page (AMP) is an initiative to create attractive web pages that load quickly on mobile devices, initially developed by Google. While web developers attempt to create stunning designs, advertisements, and analytics scripts that run in the background can cause severe slowdowns on smartphones and tablets. Users tend to either avoid sites altogether or install ad blockers on their devices, meaning that sites cannot monetize their content.
Since most of La Vanguardia’s audience was using the mobile platform, Yusp integrated its personalization engine solution to the AMP site in 2020, resulting in significant additional traffic.