Improving the Reader Experience: The Globe and Mail, ClearScale, and AWS
We recently announced that we’ll be opening an AWS Region in Canada in the coming year. Today, we’d like to share the story of The Globe and Mail, a Canadian customer already taking advantage of the benefits of the AWS platform, with the help of Premier APN Consulting Partner ClearScale. The company is also an AWS Big Data, DevOps, Marketing & Commerce, and Mobile Competency holder. ClearScale helped The Globe build an article recommendation engine on AWS.
“ClearScale was introduced to The Globe and Mail by one of the Amazon Web Services (AWS) representatives. We were more than impressed by a publication with a 170-year history looking to develop a cutting-edge recommendation engine for their mobile application,” explains Pavel Pragin, CEO, ClearScale. “The Globe & Mail was interested in a reliable cloud services partner that could deliver an innovative and reliable solution. ClearScale’s solution helped The Globe & Mail expand their readership and gain additional advertising opportunities while meeting their tight project deadlines.”
Who is The Globe and Mail?
The Globe and Mail is Canada’s most read newspaper with a national weekly digital readership of 4.7 million. In print for 170 years, the newspaper delivers coverage of national, international, business, technology, arts, entertainment, and lifestyle news.
Why did The Globe and Mail engage AWS?
The Globe and Mail was planning to launch a new application that enables its growing online readership to access stories and breaking news from mobile devices. And to increase reader engagement, it wanted to serve up targeted articles based on each reader’s individual interests. The Globe team considered building a custom system on premises, but concluded that hosting its article recommendation engine in the cloud would be faster and would provide greater flexibility for testing different algorithms. The Globe team had already been prototyping a number of recommendation algortithms on AWS. Having had a great experience, the team decided to use AWS for its official platform. The Globe uses a number of AWS services, including:
- Amazon Kinesis to collect massive amounts of information (including user clicks, article engagement, and article metadata)
- Amazon DynamoDB for a fast and flexible database to store data
- Amazon Elastic MapReduce (Amazon EMR) for data processing
- Amazon EC2 for compute capacity
- Amazon S3 for secure, durable, highly scalable object storage
- Amazon Simple Queue Service (Amazon SQS) for queuing messages
- Amazon CloudWatch to monitor the performance of the system
- AWS CloudFormation to give developers and systems administrators an easy way to create and manage a collection of AWS resources
- AWS OpsWorks to help users configure and operate applications using Chef automation
What are the benefits for The Globe and Mail?
By building its personalized recommendation system on AWS, The Globe has experienced a number of benefits:
- The team was able to get the service to market in just three months, less than half the time it would have taken had the newspaper built an on-premises solution
- The Globe has obtained a flexible platform for testing, allowing the company to improve its mobile app over time
- The Globe is dramatically increasing reader engagement; initial results show that parts of the mobile app that promote a personalized selection of articles based on the recommendation engine are seeing a 25% greater click-through than a selection of the current most popular articles that would otherwise be the top performers
Want to learn more? Read the full case study here.