Guardian extends PHD partnership to Australia

Guardian News & Media has partnered its local digital news brand, the Guardian Australia, with global media and communications agency PHD, which will cover its digital properties.

PHD Australia will work with the Guardian to develop advertising products that are targeted specifically to the Australian market, and will assist in media buying, market research and bolstering their brand.

Guardian Australia managing director Ian McClelland told The Newspaper Works that after 10 months in Australia, the company is “now interested in reach beyond what we can achieve organically”, and that PHD can help them achieve this.

“We’ve seen 70+ per cent growth in unique browsers and page views since our launch; but this has mainly been through great local journalism, an aptitude for search engine optimisation, good social integration and an avid interest from the public and other media,” he said.

“PHD will help us to identify our potential total audience in Australia and work with us, our PR agency and creative agency to plan the most effective way to communicate to that potential audience.

“We’ve certainly seen a groundswell of demand for our product and we are very committed to long term growth in Australia.”

Managing director of PHD Australia Toby Hack, told The Newspaper Works that PHD would endeavour to help Guardian Australia become more knowledgeable about the Australian consumer and provide new ways for it to enter the local market.

“A lot of the role for us right now is helping them to define how to reach their audience through marketing, scale them and come up with innovative ways to help the Guardian find a bigger and greater audience,” he said.

“Up to this date the Guardian Australia haven’t actively advertised to bring people to their site. Instead it’s been about creating a great product, hiring fabulous and really well known journalists and also doing some very ‘Guardian’ things – the columnists and articles they’ve published have been very true to their brand.

“So really what it is now is helping them to drive that product to a broader audience, to get more people to sample it. I suppose our core job is to identify who those people are – that maybe aren’t aware, or haven’t used the site – and to encourage them through advertising to have a look at what The Guardian are doing online.”

The Guardian was one of PHD’s foundation clients when the agency launched in 1990 in the UK. Mr McClelland said that it took 10 months to finalise the relationship in Australia as the company wanted a clearer picture of the Australian market and their long term ambitions.

“We had always planned to grow organically first and assess the landscape and best partners; just as we’d done in the US,” he said.

“We’re coming to the end of that process now and have a clearer idea of who we are going to work with and what we are going to do next.”

Mr Hack said that how they define a successful partnership will change as the product evolves and becomes more established in Australia, but that right now it is about allowing the Guardian to reach a larger pool of people that could potentially become loyal readers.

“We’ll be working with Ian [McClelland] and the team there, to define what success looks like for them and we’ll be building a whole lot of metrics into our campaigns to make sure we’re delivering against their needs and requirements, which of course will change over time,” he said.

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