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Johnston Press trumpets regional growth

Johnston Press says it is delivering solid digital growth for its brands, according to the ABC’s latest regional print and digital audit released yesterday.

Johnston Press trumpets regional growth

Through strong focus on user engagement, says the company, Johnston Press network pageviews are up by 11% year on year along with a 2.4% growth in unique users.

Following the publisher’s continued investment in its digital teams in London, Edinburgh and Leeds, Johnston Press has grown its digital search traffic by over 50%. Leading regional brands such as The Yorkshire Post (+43%), the Scotsman (+13%), Edinburgh Evening News (+9%) and Portsmouth News (+5%) have seen a significant year on year increase in daily unique browsers, showcasing Johnson Press’ ongoing focus to expand its largest brands.

The Yorkshire Post continues to be a top performer, driving a 60% improvement in search traffic year on year following investment in SEO specialism and new content pillars and voices including Darren Gough, David Blunkett and Christa Ackroyd. Earlier this year, the Yorkshire Post received Highly commended in Website of the Year category at the Regional Press Awards.

The ABC figures focus on unique users, says Johnston Press, whereas a focus on audience engagement also continues to be the main driver of its digital business model.

Other titles, which have previously grown rapidly on the back of highly engaged Facebook audiences, have been particularly hit by recent algorithm changes - notably the Sheffield Star (-6%), Sunderland Echo (-6%) and Peterborough Telegraph (-7%). However, video views across JP platforms are up dramatically, from 800,000 a month in August 2017 to over 10 million a month in August 2018.

Mark Thompson, Head of Audience for Northern England, said: “We have seen our strategy of investing in and growing our biggest brands yielding positive results in the most recent ABC figures. The focus is to provide trusted, quality, local content that encourages people to return time after time and rely on the title to keep them informed about the place in which they live.

“With this focus on engagement, the outlook for the second half of 2018, whilst still challenging, is an improving one as we work ever more closely with Google, continue to widen our traffic sources and look for greater transparency from Facebook on algorithm changes and future adjustments.”