Incisive voted best digital publisher in UK by its peers for a record third time


Incisive Media was recognised as the UK’s best digital publisher (B2B) at the annual 2016 AOP Digital Publishing awards, at a glittering ceremony in London’s Roundhouse last night.

The AOP Digital Publishing Awards, now in their fifteenth year and attended by 700 of the UK’s brightest and best digital talent, attracted more than 250 entries from 100 media organisations, and are widely regarded as a benchmark for excellence in digital publishing.

This is the third time Incisive has won this prestigious award since 2010 and reinforces the digital leadership it demonstrates in its highly competitive global markets.

The AOP judges, made up from the cream of the UK’s digital media elite, were impressed with the substantial investment made by Incisive in audience research, which led to a 20% yoy growth in digital revenues. It also saw engagement increase across all of its 10 major markets, against a background of difficult issues such as ad blocking, on which Incisive has been widely regarded as taking the lead.

In selecting Incisive for this award, the AOP judges concluded that “In challenging market conditions, many businesses might choose to hunker down and cut costs. Incisive has done the opposite – they have invested, reorganised, tackled ad blocking head on and worked hard to ensure their continued business success.” They added: “Incisive Media isn’t just a market leader: it is an industry leader.”

Tim Weller, Chairman and Group Chief Executive of Incisive Media, welcomed the success. “I am thrilled that Incisive Media has won this prestigious award. To win praise from your peers is fantastic. I am delighted that the team have received richly deserved recognition for all their hard work,” he said.

The strategy in the last 12 months has been to propel Incisive to the forefront of digital information provision, maximising the quality and authority of its award-winning editorial content, unlocking new revenues and building increased engagement.

Extensive internal restructuring was carried out. The Digital Ad Operations Team was repositioned in the business, upskilled and expanded from three to five heads to support brands in delivering new levels of engagement with audiences for their clients. Basic trafficking was outsourced.

Other structural changes included:

  • Hiring three product-management specialists to lead digital development.
  • Investment in user experience (UX) and development staff to deliver the site rebuild programme.
  • Increasing the size of the campaign management team to eight experts, to deliver more sophisticated native advertising programmes.
  • More expertise in sales, editorial and marketing to exploit new opportunities.

In addition, all sales teams moved away from purely selling ads, CPM or sponsorship to selling marketing solutions to targeted audiences. This required significant investment in new staff (four people were hired to deliver a year-long six-figure campaign for HP Intel, for instance).

Finally, all editorial teams were restructured, all brands were moved to user-friendly responsive sites, live apps were launched, and Hootsuite was deployed to deliver better social engagement.

The reader-centric approach has helped drive an uplift in subscription revenues on the major brand of 52% yoy.

Commenting on the award, John Barnes, Incisive’s Chief Digital Officer, said: “To be judged the best, a record third time in six years by our peers, is a fantastic achievement and the best validation of our digital leadership and innovation.

“I am immensely proud of this industry recognition of our hugely talented and visionary digital team, who have so richly deserved this, and who have made access to our unique and highly respected editorial so engaging across devices.”

Full details of the award and judges’ comments can be found at the AOP Awards site.

Words by John Barnes, Chief Digital Officer at Incisive Media