How Bustle Digital Group gained rapid audience insights during a crisis using Pollfish

When a crisis hits, brand leaders have to make hard choices. 

How will their brand positioning, value proposition, feature set and content evolve to meet expectations, fears and aspirations of a population gripped by doubt and uncertainty? 

Leaders have to make decisions quickly to both show leadership and keep progress moving forward at a critical time. But because jobs, revenue and brand perception may be on the line, no leader takes these decisions lightly. 

Now, imagine you have to meet this challenge for multiple content brands, across multiple platforms, reaching multiple audiences in multiple countries. And you need a decision right away.

That was the conundrum facing one of today’s leading global media companies, Bustle Digital Group. With a portfolio of distinct digital and experiential brands–Bustle, Mic, Elite Daily, Nylon, The Zoe Report, Input and Inverse–BDG had to decide quickly how to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, both as a parent company and as individual brands with individual audiences, voices and topic areas. 






Contents

The Challenge

The Decision

The Solution

The Results






The Challenge

The Challenge

When the COVID-19 crisis struck, businesses everywhere needed to understand what the impact would be on their offerings so they could make important decisions for managing the changing landscape. As a news source, Bustle Digital Group knew they wanted to shed light on the COVID-19 pandemic to their readers across their portfolio of sites. However, they were unsure how the crisis had affected their target audience and what impact that might have on their content consumption behavior or preferences for types of content consumed.

Bustle Digital Group also needed to consider its brand in the equation. As an unconventional media company, BDG knew that they didn’t want to offer the same hype and hysteria that other outlets were reporting on. Instead, they wanted to identify ways to contribute positive, helpful content and provide support to their readers through the crisis one-day-at-a-time. 

With information about COVID-19 being updated constantly, BDG needed to gather data about the pandemic and its impact on the underrepresented groups that make up their brand audience. In order  to produce timely and relevant pieces that cut through the noise and supported their readers in a time of need, they needed to gather insights almost instantly from hard-to-reach audiences across the US.

Bustle Digital Group also needed to consider its brand in the equation. As an unconventional media company, BDG knew that they didn’t want to offer the same hype and hysteria that other outlets were reporting on. Instead, they wanted to identify ways to contribute positive, helpful content and provide support to their readers through the crisis one-day-at-a-time. 

With information about COVID-19 being updated constantly, BDG needed to gather data about the pandemic and its impact on the underrepresented groups that make up their brand audience. In order  to produce timely and relevant pieces that cut through the noise and supported their readers in a time of need, they needed to gather insights almost instantly from hard-to-reach audiences across the US.







The Decision

The Decision

Before creating content that was a fit for BDG brands, the insights team needed to connect with their target audience to understand what type of content they were consuming, what they wanted and needed during the crisis, and whether their behaviors and attitudes had changed as a result of COVID-19. 

This meant connecting with a diverse, representative audience to reach the people the mainstream media wasn’t covering and learning what matters most to them.




“Being able to reach real people about real issues just feels like a more accurate depiction of who our audience actually is. Getting results fast from the right people has been a game changer. The project would not have been possible without Pollfish.” — Dani Thibodeau, Associate Director, Research and Insights, Bustle Digital Group




BDG partnered with Pollfish— an in-house market research platform— to rapidly collect data that would bring the right balance of information (and distraction) to their readers during COVID-19.

By offering a single platform that includes audience selection and distribution, questionnaire building and an analytics dashboard, Pollfish offers a complete consumer survey creation experience that is easy for in-house teams to use quickly and efficiently.







The Solution

The Solution

BDG’s insights team got to work. Because their target audience can be hard to reach and needs to reflect the readership of 8 media publications, they needed a network of Pollfish’s size, scale, and distribution to ensure that they would obtain a representative audience sample.

Using Pollfish’s targeting capabilities to access an audience of over 750M consumers, BDG’s insights team was able to easily set quotas and select demographic information to define younger audiences, multiple ethnic groups, and a diverse range of socio-economic statuses across the United States.







BDG created and launched a survey to 2000 respondents across every age group, race and gender to learn more about how COVID-19 was impacting different groups of people throughout the US. 

Within 3 days, they had their answers. 

Using Pollfish, the insights team at Bustle Digital Group was able to gain data on the attitudes and behaviors of their primary audience demographic, as well as uncover unexpected findings and fears regarding COVID-19 that the editorial teams were able to use to create the right stories and content types for BDG’s readers.







The Results

The Results

Bustle Digital Group got the information they needed to make important decisions during COVID-19 almost instantly. The insights team used their findings to inform internal conversations across multiple departments and executives on where their readership was during the pandemic. They were able to generate reports for their advertising partners, offering data-backed updates that showed where the market was going and built confidence for these partnerships that Bustle Digital Group understood their audience. 

By offering robust data from their target audience using Pollfish, the insights team at Bustle Digital Group was able to fuel 5 thought leadership projects for the BDG sales organization to share across channels and reassure their advertising sponsors that they were still connecting effectively with the audiences they intended to reach, as well as assisting Bustle’s business development team with data that could help them pitch new partners successfully. 

With one Pollfish survey, the insights team gathered data to develop compelling, interesting content for readers across the Bustle Digital Group family of brands. They were able to create 3 editorial pieces for Mic and Bustle publications, garnering thousands of views of their original content.

Additional COVID-19 studies were completed with equal success, including another 2,000 person survey in collaboration with the Clinton Foundation that shed light on the plight of mothers in the pandemic. Romper, one of BDG’s brands that focuses on new mothers, was able to get results from a representative sample of their target audience in 4 days to quickly curate 7 different infographics and a long-form article, exposing the shift and impact the virus has had on mothers, families, and the expectations of different household roles. Authors at Romper were able to tell a complete story to their readers that although they are quarantined, they are not alone.

By offering robust data from their target audience using Pollfish, the insights team at Bustle Digital Group was able to fuel 5 thought leadership projects for the BDG sales organization to share across channels and reassure their advertising sponsors that they were still connecting effectively with the audiences they intended to reach, as well as assisting Bustle’s business development team with data that could help them pitch new partners successfully. 

With one Pollfish survey, the insights team gathered data to develop compelling, interesting content for readers across the Bustle Digital Group family of brands. They were able to create 3 editorial pieces for Mic and Bustle publications, garnering thousands of views of their original content.

Additional COVID-19 studies were completed with equal success, including another 2,000 person survey in collaboration with the Clinton Foundation that shed light on the plight of mothers in the pandemic. Romper, one of BDG’s brands that focuses on new mothers, was able to get results from a representative sample of their target audience in 4 days to quickly curate content that let these women know that although they are quarantined, they are not alone.