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AMAs

Amanda Yang is Director of Analytics at New York Magazine, where she works with editorial, development, and product to help make decisions using data.

Prior to New York Magazine, she worked at VICE Media as a data scientist and worked on projects to help understand brand safety, categorizing content, optimizing videos in search and better visualizing ad server information. 

In her spare time, she enjoys working on her adventure van and taking it places to climb, run or whatever sounds fun. 

You can follow her on Twitter: @amandamaiyang

She will be live on June 22 starting at 930 AM PT for one and a half hours during which she will answer as many questions as possible.

  • JF

    Javier Feldman

    6 months ago #

    Hey Amanda

    As a data person who has worked within a couple of big media properties you have a unique insight into this industry. I was wondering what are some interesting trends you have noticed on what strategies anyone could implement to keep people engaged with their sites/apps - irrespective of vertical?

    • AY

      Amanda Yang

      6 months ago #

      Building out a vertical is a pretty time consuming and costly for an organization. Here are a few ways we keep people engaged

      1. autoplay playlists for video
      2. swipe through articles
      3. building out recirculation components within your cms to help editors grab related articles from your site to lengthen session time
      4. outside events to hear our editors speak about certain topics is also a great way to keep people excited about your brand

      2 Share
  • JP

    John Phamvan

    6 months ago #

    Hi Amanda,
    Can you share some of the most successful activation and retention experiments you're team (at VICE and/or NYM) has done, and what you learned from those?

    • AY

      Amanda Yang

      6 months ago #

      Hi John, Thanks for the question. For campaigns, our most successful activations at both companies have really been because we work together as a team (marketing, development, creative, strategy, etc) to use data and audience insights to create something interesting and meaningful to our audience. Data does wonders, but team work and project management really is key for exceeding goals and maintaining great relationships with our clients. One experiment I am really excited to work on in the coming weeks is understanding buyer intent based on how readers are clicking on buy buttons on our site for our affiilate marketing partners.

  • DH

    Dani Hart

    6 months ago #

    Hey Amanda , thanks for being with us today

    Can you talk about some of the challenges of scaling NYM and how you've been able to help overcome them?

    • AY

      Amanda Yang

      6 months ago #

      Hi Dani, Thank you for your question. A big challenge in scaling and adding multiple data sources to our analyses is finding a way to map different, unrelated sources (social, traffic, ad revenue) to each other to make a meaningful insight. Another challenge has been getting out of Excel and using Tableau or Data Studio to help do exploratory analysis.

      3 Share
  • AL

    Arsene Lavaux

    6 months ago #

    Bonjour Amanda,

    Thanks for doing this AMA.
    Do you use analytics to make decisions on where to take your adventure van?

    • AY

      Amanda Yang

      6 months ago #

      Great question Arsene. Traveling really is all about making analytical experiences to optimize fun. Here are a few decisions I use data to help me with:

      1. How many bikes can I fit in a rectangle with curved edges?
      2. How much food should I bring for a particular excursion?
      3. Will avoiding highways optimize my route?
      4. If traveling in bear season, how much bear spray should I bring?

    • AA

      Anuj Adhiya

      6 months ago #

      Hah - looking forward to this response :)
      I am proud to say that I once used Lean Six Sigma prioritization techniques to help me plan a road trip through a part of Mexico - worked like a champ!

  • AA

    Anuj Adhiya

    6 months ago #

    Hey Amanda - great to finally have you on!

    I have a couple of questions for you.
    1. What is NY Media/Mag's North Star Metric?
    2. How have you and/or the growth/marketing lead managed to rally your organization around this metric?

    • AY

      Amanda Yang

      6 months ago #

      Hi Anuj,

      Thanks for having me on! To answer your questions:
      1. We are focused primarily on developing a loyal user base, which means that people are reading and returning to our site. We use a lot of different qualifiers to determine, including counts of sessions for a given date range and engagement via scroll depth, number of comments and video length among others.

      2. We use Chartbeat to differentiate engaged, loyal users to give us a view of how people are interacting with the various pages. We are working on some more targeted ways of understanding loyalty via acquisition source and types of content consume. Since it's real time, our editors can see how their articles are performing and what kind of audience we are reaching.

      • AA

        Anuj Adhiya

        6 months ago #

        Just so I can understand your North Star metric better, are you focused more on something like DAU or WAU or are something more granular like "Minutes Read"?

  • RB

    Raj Bhatt

    6 months ago #

    Hey Amanda,

    Thanks for taking time and doing this AMA.

    I've couple of questions for you:
    1. Do you use external data from different sources for deriving insights? If yes, then how do you acquire the targeted data on such a large scale for analysis?
    2. What tools/services you use to visualize or derive insights from this data?

    • AY

      Amanda Yang

      6 months ago #

      Hi Raj,
      Thank you for the great question. Publishers are rich with data these days. In addition to our site, we publish across Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Amazon, iTunes to name a few, which makes understanding who reads what a very exciting, yet challenging task, which requires more sophisticated approach to data discovery. We can no longer work in spreadsheets and have to upgrade to big data solutions which include Google BigQuery, Google Analytics, Tableau and Data Studio.

      • AA

        Anuj Adhiya

        6 months ago #

        Wasn't expecting to see Amazon on your list of publishers. What do you'll do/publish on that platform?

        Also, any learnings on how the same content needs tweaking to succeed across platforms? (I know Buzzfeed does this sort of content customization really well).

  • GH

    Glen Harper

    6 months ago #

    Thank you for spending this time with us, Amanda

    What would you say is the most unreasonable request you've ever had for a data team and how did you respond?

    • AY

      Amanda Yang

      6 months ago #

      Hehehe Glen. This is a great question. One request I received was to scrape the Twitter handles of everyone at the company. This was not possible at the time and still would be a difficult task, given the fact that many employees don't have their company's handle in their bio. Usually, when I receive an unreasonable request, I try and provide context into how difficult/impossible it is to

      2 Share
  • TN

    Tri Nguyen

    6 months ago #

    What data points do you think site owners should look when deciding whether they should build an app, rather than for optimizing for their mobile experience?

  • MD

    Mark Anthony de Jesus

    6 months ago #

    Hi Amanda
    1. What tools and processes do you use to turn your deep dive analytics into an action item on the product roadmap?

    2. Can you give us an example of how one of your deep dive projects has impacted the core product?

  • PD

    Porus Daruvala

    6 months ago #

    What's in your Analytics stack?
    What roles do the individual tools in the stack play in helping you get to specific insights?

    • AY

      Amanda Yang

      6 months ago #

      Hi Porus,
      We use this stack:

      1. BigQuery: holds all of our data from various sources
      2. Google Analytics: holds traffic/event data
      3. Tableau: exploration of data and joining multiple data sources for prototypes
      4. Data Studio: self service analytics

      Partners: We have a partner called Switchboard Software who has helped us join a lot of the data in our data warehouse. There's no way we could have done so much in so short of a time without them.

  • JD

    James Dunn

    6 months ago #

    Hello Amanda,
    One big challenge many of us face is finding the right channel attribution model/framework/tool. What model do you use? Any advice on how to go about figuring this out? Also any thoughts on tools we can use for this?

    • AY

      Amanda Yang

      6 months ago #

      I really like MixPanel. It lets you easily segment based on channel, content, interaction with the site for any given campaign or other dimension/metric. They're also a fabulous team to work with!

      • AA

        Anuj Adhiya

        6 months ago #

        What attribution model do you use? If I had to guess it would not be first or last click based.

  • DO

    Danielle Olivas

    6 months ago #

    Hey Amanda
    How do you balance the needs of users and advertisers? It seems the more you meet advertisers' needs, the more you sacrifice the user experience. How do you make these decisions?

  • SK

    S Kodial

    6 months ago #

    What role does qualitative customer feedback plays in product decisions at NYM? How do you weigh those against user analytics? In other words, how do you reconcile what customers say vs. what they do?

  • TH

    tania haro

    6 months ago #

    Hi Amanda,

    Soo cool to have you here.

    How does your team keep the balance between data and creativity?

  • AY

    Amanda Yang

    6 months ago #

    Thank you everyone so much for your time. If i did not respond quite yet, I will respond this evening. :)

  • AM

    AJ Muñoz

    6 months ago #

    If you were to re-start your career all over again with what you know now, what would be the tools or skills you'd focus on first?

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