Learn How The Food Network Uses Data To Inform & Enhance Their Content Strategy


Listen to Joanne Cotterell, Online Content Producer at Scripps Network International, explain how data is used to help optimise and adapt their content marketing strategy.

This clip is from our webcast "Summer’s here! Let’s talk about Christmas: Festive email marketing success needs planning that starts now" in association with Adestra. Click here to watch the full on-demand webcast.

[Danielle Wooley:] For the next section, we'll be looking at how Jo and her team use data to inform and enchance their content strategy. So Jo, tell us about your email program at Food Network.

[Joanne Cotterell:] We send a weekly newsletter, which looks like the one on-screen now, and this includes a mix of seasonal recipes, articles, video content, quizzes and competitions.

[Danielle Wooley:] Great stuff - so how does that perform for you?

[Joanne Cotterell:] The weekly one, we see an average open rate of 18% and a click-to-open rate of 19.5%.

[Danielle Wooley:] That's a pretty good result.

[Joanne Cotterell:] It is, but because we have such tough targets, we definitely needed to do a lot more, and really we wanted to focus on developing and providing content we knew our subscribers wanted to see, which would hopefully result in more opens, therefore more clicks, and ultimately more traffic.

The previous year, around the site we noticed that 60% of all traffic was around sweet baking, so we launched a monthly newsletter focused on this topic.

[Danielle Wooley:] That makes sense - how did that perform?

[Joanne Cotterell:] Quite well - to highlight the baking newsletter, which features a mix of our latest recipes, anything seasonal that's happening and also any recipes that relate to seasonal search trends, we use a tool called Hitwise which measures user behaviour across the web and allows us to look at the most popular food related search terms over a specific time frame. Our baking emails have an open rate of 23% and a click-to-open rate of 18%.

[Danielle Wooley:] It makes sense because it's a more targeted newsletter that you get a higher open rate than you do for your weekly campaigns. Do you do anything else that's more targeted?

[Joanne Cotterell:] Yeah, so off the back of this newsletter's success, we had seen a shift on our site from sweet baking to more family dinner-oriented content, so we started to create more recipe galleries along the lines of "Quick and Easy Mid-week Meals," and then around September 2014, we launched a dedicated family dinners monthly email in the same template as baking, and we send these two speciality emails every month - so family dinners is sent at the beginning, and then baking is sent at the end of the month.

[Danielle Wooley:] Great, so how did family dinners perform?

[Joanne Cotterell:] This one worked harder for us than the baking list - we see an open rate of 28% and a click-to-open rate of 24%.

[Danielle Wooley:] Brilliant, so how did you actually build an audience for these special topic newsletters, presumably it's something you have to opt-in to?

[Joanne Cotterell:] Yes, so initially we emailed our weekly list, inviting them to opt in, and our strategy with these is always to give our subscribers the ultimate control so they can select which newsletters and content they want to see. So we have a preference centre that subscribers are directed to as part of our welcome campaign journey. Obviously, we want them to sign up to as many as possible, and at the moment we see about 7% of our weekly newsletter subscribers opt in to at least one other newsletter.