How Le Monde Shifted to Digital and Embarked on a Data-Driven Journey

Discover actionable insights from Le Monde's data-driven journey and explore strategies for elevating your digital product or experience.

Customer Stories
April 25, 2024
Image of Lucy Harwood
Lucy Harwood
EMEA Content Marketing Manager, Amplitude
Le Monde Webinar recap

With intense competition from new forms of media, traditional news outlets have to reinvent themselves to stay relevant. This is no easy task, as our attention has become one of the most sought-after commodities. To keep up, traditional outlets have pivoted to add new digital products and gain a better understanding of their readers. For Le Monde, a significant part of getting this equation right rests on following the data.

We recently hosted a webinar with Lomig Coulon, apps product manager at Le Monde, and Kassim Assani, data analytics expert at Amplitude, to learn how Lomig’s team optimizes their product using data.

Read on for a recap of the discussion, or watch the full webinar (conducted in French) on demand: Une Conversation Avec Le Monde.

Structuring your product teams

With several products to manage, the question of how to structure those teams for maximum delivery becomes important. Having started as the first daily newspaper in France, Le Monde has expanded into several digital products—including an application and electronic newspaper—alongside its print edition.

Le Monde's product teams are structured into feature teams focused on different product areas, such as their applications, website, content management system (CMS), and subscriptions. Each feature team comprises different roles, including developers, product managers, producers, and product designers. This structure ensures each product has a dedicated team with a diverse skill set for all aspects of product development.

While feature teams focus on specific products, Lomig highlights the importance of experts in subscriptions, audience management, and other specialized areas to span across teams. These experts often take on roles like product marketing manager to ensure that strategic insights and knowledge are shared effectively throughout the organization.

Making the most of data

A strong data culture within Le Monde's product teams fosters innovation and collaboration. Lomig explains that collaborating on analyses and shared dashboards in Amplitude goes a long way toward facilitating this culture.

“When someone works on a dashboard or a given calculation, it's accessible to others, and everyone can benefit from each other's work.”

Lomig Coulon, Apps Product Manager, Le Monde

Lomig discusses how data is used within the product teams in two primary ways:

  • First, key performance indicators (KPIs) such as audience metrics, conversion rates, and reader behavior are continuously monitored and reported. This ongoing analysis helps track product performance and identify trends or areas that require attention.
  • Second, there's an exploratory aspect where data is used to understand user behavior, identify issues, and uncover opportunities for improvement or innovation.

“There's a real back-and-forth between continuous monitoring on the one hand and more occasional exploration on the other—to respond to a problem or define issues,” explains Lomig.

Defining, tracking, and meeting KPIs

Le Monde defines and tracks actionable metrics by starting with a global strategic vision. The company's management sets this vision and the objectives that fall under it, outlining where they want to go in the coming years. The main pillars tend to be around retention and acquisition—specifically, acquiring and retaining a loyal audience and subscribers. These major objectives are further broken down and worked on by the different feature teams. Each team determines how their product initiatives contribute to these overarching objectives.

To do this, Lomig emphasizes the importance of having a common language around data and the primary objectives across feature teams. For example, clear definitions of terms like “conversion” ensure alignment when teams measure it across products. This may sound straightforward, but as Lomig points out, you could define conversion as reaching the subscription page after reading a gated article or paying for a subscription.

Orient your data around a common data taxonomy with our free event tracking plan template.

Lomig highlights the importance of accessible data in meeting these goals. Amplitude's Digital Analytics Platform is designed to be intuitive, enabling anyone to quickly create or find existing dashboards from colleagues. This accessibility facilitates the sharing and pooling of insights and explorations. It also reinforces the idea of a shared language, empowering teams to understand and analyze data across different media and use it to make data-driven decisions.

Data in action: Improving free-to-paid audience conversion

In the discussion, Lomig shares an example of improving the conversion of free users to subscribers while maintaining user engagement. The team hypothesized that by reducing the amount of content accessible without a subscription, the conversion rate would increase—but there was also a risk of lowering engagement among free users. Le Monde conducted an A/B test to test this hypothesis in Amplitude Experiment.

The team divided the audience into two groups: one exposed to reduced content accessible without subscription (group A) and the other unchanged (group B). Each group was subdivided into four cohorts to ensure independence and validate the results. The test duration was six months, with specific success criteria related to conversion rates and risk indicators such as uninstallations and free user retention.

The results of the A/B test showed an increase in subscriptions in Group A without negatively impacting engagement or installations. This success enabled Le Monde to identify an optimal threshold for content accessibility—a threshold that encourages conversions while maintaining user engagement.

Key takeaways
  • Collaborating on shared analyses and dashboards promotes a strong data culture, fostering innovation and collaboration within Le Monde's feature teams.
  • Data is used to continuously monitor metrics and conduct exploratory analysis to better understand user behavior and identify improvement opportunities.
  • Le Monde defines clear objectives from its global strategic vision, ensuring product roadmap alignment across teams.
  • Democratized data access empowers team members to quickly understand and use data for decision-making, increasing speed to action.
  • Rigorous A/B testing and data analysis enable Le Monde to improve subscriber conversion rates while maintaining user engagement.Callout Block: Want more ideas on how to make the most of your data? ...

Want more ideas on how to make the most of your data? Read 10 Mistakes You're Making With Your Digital Analytics

About the Author
Image of Lucy Harwood
Lucy Harwood
EMEA Content Marketing Manager, Amplitude
Lucy Harwood is a Content Marketing Manager at Amplitude, focusing on topics that speak to the EMEA region. Lucy graduated from the University of Amsterdam with an MA in Communication & Information, focusing on argumentation in science, health, and politics.