How Germany’s WELT Online Grew Their Social Traffic 1,400%

Two years ago, German news site WELT Online had no social media team and 1.7 million monthly visitors from social platforms like Facebook — just 4% of their total traffic.

Today, the site attracts over 25 million monthly visitors from social media, forming over 25% of WELT Online’s total traffic.

The growth has been spearheaded by one of WELT Online’s founding social media editors, Niddal Salah-Eldin. She credits CrowdTangle for helping her team bring WELT Online’s social media strategy to the next level by automating feedback reports, surfacing trends, and charting out what works with their audience versus competitors.

“I’ve not spent one cent buying social traffic or boosting content — this is all organic,” Niddal said during a CrowdTangle discussion at the 2017 Perugia Journalism Festival in April.

Click to watch Niddal’s discussion on social strategy at WELT Online and how she uses CrowdTangle, a Q&A presented at the 2017 Journalism Festival in Perugia, Italy.

Niddal now oversees a team of five social media editors in charge of audience development, community engagement and reporting trends across WELT Online’s 18 verticals. Three core features of CrowdTangle have helped her team expand rapidly:

1. Tracking Trends

WELT Online’s small social team holds a daily “stand up” meeting each morning. Before the meeting, they use CrowdTangle’s Digest tool to put together a report showing performance data for their own content and sources’ content.

“CrowdTangle gives you the opportunity to look into the relative performance — maybe a regional or local outlet you’ve never heard of had an amazing hit, which did so well compared to the usual performance of the page. And that tells you something,” Niddal explained.

“We always like to look what other people are doing — not what our direct competitors are doing, but what unknown news outlets are doing. Maybe they had an amazing social story or a certain perspective that did well. We would never have discovered it if it wasn’t for CrowdTangle.”

2. Reporting Feedback

CrowdTangle daily and weekly page Digests have helped Niddal inform other verticals across WELT Online on their performance, including a new economics channel, which is seeing strong engagement as a result. In meetings with these verticals, Niddal looks at overperforming and underperforming posts, and tries to highlight trends and missed opportunities on social to the editors.

“We don’t just push out content and move on to the next thing. We try and see the relevance and the impact of what they’re doing, reflecting on performance.”

“Data-informed decisions help us give feedback. Everyone has to have the awareness and not be afraid of the data.”

3. Surfacing Trends

CrowdTangle allows you to search for trends — keywords, phrases, URLs and hashtags — across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Reddit. Niddal and her team at WELT Online have used the search feature to gauge how hot trends or stories are resonating on social media.

“If I want to see what the ‘social temperature’ of a topic is, I’ll type the keyword into CrowdTangle and will see all of the postings connected to that trend,” she said. “We can then decide if we pursue that story [based on its overperforming measure]. This helps us speed up our decision process so we don’t have to scour Facebook for this information.”

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