Nesta is inviting applications from hyperlocal publishers in the UK to receive grant funding to explore a more strategic use of website and social media analytics.
It is envisaged that Nesta will provide funding for up to 10 projects, up to £6,500 each.
Over recent years Nesta’s research has revealed the challenges that hyperlocal publishers face (namely ‘sustainability’ and ‘findability’) and the tools and strategies publishers can use to alleviate some of these challenges and create opportunities instead.
To help hyperlocal publishers overcome the barriers to employing audience analytics as a fundamental part of their service, Nesta has opened a grant funding call for publishers to be a part of a four-month action research trial.
This project takes the view that, among hyperlocal media publishers, audience and content analysis – including raising awareness and improving publishers’ skills in this area, which will encourage and empower them to improve their services - is crucial to their ability to run a sustainable service and for them to attract and keep audiences engaged. To do this, hyperlocal publishers need to think more about audience needs, motivations and behaviours and less about pushing content at audiences in a broadcast model.
For the purpose of this project Nesta defines hyperlocal media as “online news or content services pertaining to a town, village, single postcode or other small, geographically defined community in the UK that create public value”.
Nesta is proposing to run a trial with up to 10 hyperlocal media publishers from across the UK who currently:
- do not use any website analytics;
- have a basic website analytics tool, such as Google Analytics, installed but do not use it to its potential; and
- do not make effective use of social media analytics.
The trials will run for four months, starting 1 October 2015, in which publishers will be asked to record and share their raw data and report it at the end of each month, and their learnings for that period, ie blogging or video diary. During this time, participants will be introduced to working methods, tools and tactics by a mentor / trainer and supported through the project period to help them determine what to change and how to change it.
The project will help Nesta to answer five core questions/objectives:
- What barriers are there to hyperlocal media publishers analysing their audience and content?
- How does training, upskilling and trial participation help hyperlocal media publishers overcome these barriers?
- What evidence do the trials provide about local audiences and their consumption of hyperlocal media?
- What evidence does this research provide to the wider sector about the cost-benefit of audience and content analysis and its impact on the commercial and social value proposition of services? including services’ ability to demonstrate their value to potential partnerships with traditional/established media groups and local services?
- Development and dissemination of learning resources for long-term benefit of and use by the wider hyperlocal media sector.
Although there are no specific exclusions cited within the programme guidelines, those wishing to apply are advised to liaise with the funding provider in the first instance to discuss eligibility.
Applications may be submitted by hyperlocal publishers from across the UK. This includes independent journalists, bloggers and bestowers of community news and information. Nesta defines hyperlocal media as: online news or content services pertaining to a town, village, single postcode or other small, geographically defined community in the UK that create public value.
Applicants will be eligible to apply for funding if:
- they represent a hyperlocal media outlet which satisfies Nesta’s definition;
- the service offered is not social-media only or print-only;
- they do not currently use any website analytics, or have a basic website analytics tool, such as Google Analytics, installed but do not use it to its potential; and
- they do not make effective use of social media analytics.
Applicants are welcome to apply whatever their level of expertise and knowledge. The emphasis is on knowledge exchange as establishing best practice for hyperlocal media services.
Match funding is not a stipulated requirement of this programme.
The funding will help publishers to explore how a more strategic use of website and social media analytics might help them define and measure their success online, to improve their service, audience engagement and reach, and in turn their sustainability and legacy within their local community.
The 2015 deadline for applications must was 5pm Monday 10 August 2015.
Details and deadline information for any future rounds will be reported when available.
Link to guidelines:
Further advice and assistance with submitting an application may be sought directly from Nesta.