Wednesday 10 July 2013

Lettie Conrad from SAGE Publications: a publisher's perspective on discoverability

SAGE Publication's Lettie Conrad
Lettie Conrad is Online Publishing Manager at SAGE Publications. At the ALPSP seminar 'It's all about discoverability, stupid! How to get your content seen by the right people', she provided an outline of a publisher's discovery channels and asked: who uses it? why does it matter? and how do you monitor?

Conrad define their channels as those that readers use to find SAGE content. Central to this is understanding their preferences, modes and habits.

They use two primary sources of information:

  1. Market research: usability testing and observation; librarian advisory boards; end user focus groups,surveys etc; information-seeking behavour research studies.
  2. Data analysis: COUNTER reports; Google AnalyticsMoz (previously SEOMoz); Data Salon.
Open web search (e.g. Wikipedia, Google). 
Everyone uses it. It is simple and user friendly and drives quantity versus quality traffic providing quick search on a new topic. Ultimately, knowledge of user trends is key and it matters because everyone uses it. Here, SEO = ROI as this is your common 'starter' channel. They monitor with Google Analytics, Moz and market research.

Library search
Users are advanced students, faculty; advanced search and browse; tending towards narrow queries or "known searches". They capture advanced readers and provide win-win discovery services such as ERM feeds, LibGuides, widgets and more. They monitor using Google Analytics, COUNTER - cost/use; and usability testing.

Academic / A&I search 
Users include advanced students, faculty, practitioners; power users; use case: deep research, building expertise (Microsoft Academic search, Google Scholar, SciVeerse Scopus, PAIS, Wilson, etc). This channel matters because they reach experts and 'power users'. It helps with branding and profile in the scholarly ecosystem. It is a mainstream academic search: hybrid, emerging technology (e.g. Microsoft Academic and Google Scholar as game changers) which enables them to reach a wider audience. They monitor with qualitative market research metrics and Google Analytics. Usage from this channel is relatively low. Even so, it is a powerful channel as these are influencers: valuable traffic.

Marketing campaigns
Campaigns used by journals marketing focus on faculty, authors, society members, practitioners and librarians. They receive flyers, emails, register for content alerts, attend conferences, conduct social search. This activity is monitored by market research, email usage, Google Analytics, platform feature usage. With library marketing they contact librarians; generate new sales, focus on renewals and news. They are engaging with faculty and authors to build brand, to influence and to engage. They also contact students and readers through social media and networking. (Two examples are Social Science Space and Social Science Bites Podcast). They monitor through market research, COUNTER reports, Google Analytics and Data Salon.

Metrics and research
Conrad counselled that you get what you pay for with Google Analytics. They also use COUNTER for library ROI, but ultimately, data is not enough: know your users!

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