Online publication site, WikiTribune, uses Mixpanel to get valuable insights and analytics to help inform the best website experience for users—ultimately helping to increase its publication rate by 85%.

85% increase in articles published
Data-informed website redesign
Testing and iterating creative

News sites need to have a product revolution. We really need to rethink from the ground-up exactly what it is these sites are doing. User analytics can help us.

Jimmy Wales, Founder of Wikipedia and Founder CEO of WikiTribune
Company

Jimmy Wales founded Wikipedia back in 2001 with the mission to spread the sum of human knowledge worldwide. Inspired by all the discussions around fake news, Jimmy decided to kick off a new project, WikiTribune, following the 2016 elections. The startup allows people to crowdsource the news with the same neutrality principle that helped Wikipedia become the source of truth it is today. Like Wikipedia, WikiTribune will not take profits from advertisers to escape the need for clickbait headlines and fluffy content. Instead, WikiTribune cultivates a community of volunteer journalists who share the facts in a supportive and collaborative environment.

Goals

Realizing the benefits of user analytics, Product and Marketing at WikiTribune started using Mixpanel from the very start. As Jimmy put it, “the media industry is just beginning to scratch the surface when it comes to the potential of analytics. Most news sites are still in the same format we’ve had for 20 years now. We’ve taken the newspaper and put it online, adding a few features like commenting, but we haven’t really taken advantage.” 

With the power of tools like Mixpanel, Jimmy hopes the space will see as fundamental a shift as the shift from Britannica to Wikipedia. He also hopes to increase contributors who build content and promote readership of fact-based, unbiased editorials.

Solution
Scaling the community with a site redesign

When WikiTribune’s original website launched, the team saw that visitors were having a difficult time discovering that they could participate as volunteer journalists. To make the site more community-centric, the team launched a complete revamp. By bringing forward the features that inspired participation, WikiTribune better promoted an environment of collaboration and fact sharing.

Deciding what content to build

While traditional media outlets leverage Mixpanel to determine what content to build based on user behavior and engagement patterns, WikiTribune is putting that power in the hands of its community of volunteer journalists. This was slow moving at first, but by experimenting with page layouts and processes, the team at WikiTribune was able to launch a process that helps volunteers to build an average of 11 articles per week.

Experimenting to drive readership

Marketing and Product test and measure all major changes to WikiTribune’s website and emails. For instance, while the team thought images might help drive readership, they found that the opposite was true. As Jimmy says, Mixpanel helps his team “fail faster, and run many small experiments to find out the potential impact of larger changes.”

Results

After making their site as collaborative as possible, and increasing the number of articles published by 85%, WikiTribune is looking forward to focusing its product roadmap around making content consumable and discoverable for the average reader. The team will leverage the insights they collected from Mixpanel during their website redesign to help fuel whatever new direction the site takes.

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