Las Vegas Review-Journal Optimizes Its Ad Tech Stack For Improved Performance

About Las Vegas Review-Journal

Launched back in 1909, the Las Vegas Review-Journal is the largest circulating daily newspaper in Nevada and ranks as one of the top 25 newspapers in the United States today.

The newspaper’s first digital edition, LVRJ.com, went live in January 1997. However, the website went through a series of changes and was relaunched as the Reviewjournal.com in 2002. Besides online publishing, the company has its own video studio to produce unique programs such as the “Morning Update”, “Nevada Politics Today” and “Vegas Nation”.

With over 13 million page views a month, the Las Vegas Review-Journal portal currently has more exposure than all Las Vegas TV stations combined.

The Problem: Attributing User Experience (UX) Issues to Ad Tech Tags

The business model of Las Vegas Review-Journal hinges upon its Ad Tech stack, which uses over 100 third party components to produce business and performance value. However, they had a problem with pinpointing issues when third party services negatively impacted performance metrics such as loading times, bounce rates, and more.

We were having a difficult time attributing performance issues to specific to specific vendors due to the large number of third party solutions in our ecosystem.

In other words, this online publication couldn’t kick its digital revenue into overdrive because it couldn’t equate the effect of each third party tag on user experience. The company’s IT team was having trouble pinpointing what services were causing issues. Problem detection was a long and cumbersome process, often coming at the expense of development.

“The company had a duct tape and band-aids strategy when it came to fixing problems,” VP Digital Belinda Englman explains. “Every performance issue was investigated for days and sometimes weeks due to lack of visibility, making it a very frustrating procedure. We had to examine every case from scratch since we didn’t know the footprint of our ecosystem.”

Simply put, the IT staff couldn’t isolate the effect of each third party tag on their user experience. As a result, measuring their performance cost was becoming increasingly difficult.

The dependency map above is based on sample data for illustrative purposes only.

The Solution: Enhanced Visibility with Actionable Insights

The LVRJ IT team had no problems during installation. A brief chat with Namogoo’s support team was enough to activate Digital Insights and start collecting data in real-time. Furthermore, no maintenance procedure has been required due to the solution being a cloud based one.

The most evident improvement the Las Vegas Review-Journal staff noticed from the get-go was the enhanced visibility Digital Insights gave everyone.

Namogoo’s Digital Insights solution is saving my team a lot of time and effort. It’s allowing my developers to fix problems faster and more efficiently.

“My developers now have a birds-eye view of all third party services running on the website,” IT Director Kim Espejo explains. ״The ability to monitor the Ad Tech and MarTech stacks on a constant basis, along with real-time actionable insights, has significantly shortened response times to performance issues when they arise. The optimization of the third party services has led to an improvement in performance metrics – Load Times, Time on Page, Bounce Rates and more.״

Namogoo’s Digital Insights solution is showing us what’s going on under the hood and what dependencies are causing performance issues. We can now approach the right vendors to fix issues.

Belinda also shared a recent example of when Digital Insights located a performance issue with the company’s Digital Management Platform (DMP). The Las Vegas Review-Journal IT team had full visibility of the problem via the dashboard and could see what metrics were being affected. The quick and accurate location of the problem enabled the IT team to contact the specific third party vendor and display the findings in clear fashion. The actionable insights enabled the vendor to plan and execute an effective remediation process. Not only was the issue resolved smoothly, Digital Insights also helped the vendor optimize its DMP offering.

Implementing the Digital Insights solution has given us a lot of confidence in managing and optimizing our third party solution infrastructure.

Conclusion

With Namogoo’s solution, the LVRJ’s marketing and IT teams are reporting an improvement in performance and business metrics. In addition to the aforementioned benefits, the cross-department communications have seen significant improvement, with everybody on the same page thanks to the clarity provided by Digital Insights.

Belinda Englman, VP Digital, is also feeling confident about the company’s future challenges. She plans to engage in additional digital marketing activities such as Header Bidding in the foreseeable future, which she believes will go smoothly thanks to the enhanced visibility and actionable insights she now has with Namogoo’s Digital Insights solution.

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“We previously had no way to examine our third party service ecosystem holistically to learn about what was impacting our performance metrics.”
Belinda Englman
VP Digital

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