Digital Convergence Video: National Trust to develop mobile platforms to meet increase in digital audience, reveals head of digital Howard Scott

The National Trust will focus on developing its mobile platforms to meet the increase in audience that it unexpectedly saw before the New Year, Howard Scott, the National Trust’s head of digital has revealed, while speaking at The Drum’s Digital Convergence conference.

Speaking at the event and to The Drum in an interview afterwards (see video), Scott revealed that prior to the Christmas period, around August last year, mobile traffic was 40 per cent, and then spiked after Christmas and 2 January when it reached 58 per cent.

“That started ringing some quite severe alarm bells,” he stated. “Not only did we see people coming to us from different devices, but we started seeing patterns from different parts of the country as well. Our audience started to lead the way, way beyond when we thought we would get there. So mobile is a priority for us.”

Scott also discussed the influence that data was set to play at the Trust, but admitted that there was a “disconnection” between its websites that was going to be addressed. “The needs of members within the Trust may all be very different – however the website content is the same for everyone, which means the Trust is making an assumption over the content that meets all of its member’s needs.”

He continued: “We’re quite a complex brand in the way that people engage with us. The challenge we have in making sure we create special moments for our supporters and understanding what they are trying to do at that moment in time and doing it in a way that isn’t intrusive, we have a lot of data at our finger tips and it could become quite ‘Big Brothery’ and that’s what we want to avoid. What we want to do is what is right for our audience, not only what is right for our brand. The challenge is getting that balance right.

“We are on a road to harnessing that data – not quite there – but in months, if not a year, we’ll be in a position where that data will start to drive everything that we do. That’s both our owned data and borrowed data. We see social data really helping to shape conversations – that is about listening and well as understanding.”

More from Scott can be heard within the video, while more information on The Drum’s Digital Convergence conference can be found on the homepage.

For more information on upcoming events, including those run by The Drum, see our What’s On Guide for the industry.

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