Building for the future with HELLO! and Glide

By: Rob Corbidge, 05 July 2023

HOLA! and HELLO! and Glide Publishing Platform logos 2022

Digital transformation for one of the world's leading brands has proved to be the stepping stone to unleashing innovation in the business.

Global publishing giant Hello!/¡Hola! are riding the crest of a wave in site success and new opportunities, as part of a commitment to the "pursuit of excellence" across the business and a widespread overhaul of its entire digital capability.

The iconic celebrity news title has revealed how getting the right technologies and the right partners, including Glide Publishing Platform, has enabled them to bring about a highly successful digital transformation across its portfolio of sites.

Big stakes, big challenges

With regular traffic in the tens of millions and a host of legacy systems in the production process, the stakes of such a transformation were high, though as the company's Chief Technical Officer Andy Macharg explained, the choice of key partners, including Glide, was vital.

"I think it's really important that you differentiate between partners and suppliers " Macharg told the FIPP World Media Congress in Portugal last month. 

Outlining the decisions and steps taken by Hello! to an audience of industry leaders and owners, Macharg stressed how vital a component a reliable partner plays with such complex project requirements.

"If you don't have really good partners for these projects, it will fail. They are so complicated. And if you're doing digital transformation, you will need external support. Find the right people, and it makes a massive, massive difference."

Praising a remarkable 100 per cent improvement in site performance achieved after the transformation, Macharg explained how during the 12 month rebuild project the business managed to balance the strategic requirements of its three main pillars: commercial, editorial, and technical. 

"I'm a great believer that if you've got great editorial and have a great commercial strategy, but you don't have a good technical strategy, it all gets out of sync - and if one of those gets out of sync, it just upsets the whole rhythm."

More speed, less development

Macharg was also keen to explain the difference that a system such as Glide Publishing Platform makes when it comes to being able to make quick updates and enact new decisions without those actions being tied to or reliant on developer availability and resourcing.

"Doing stuff without developers is really critical. You get lots of these very complicated systems that require developers - on our old platform, we have a team of four developers whose sole job is to manually output certain bits and pieces into the website, a complete waste of resource and time. You've just got to get these things right from the start and build on it."

Talking about the commercial benefits of the digital transformation, Macharg outlined how his team was now able to focus on building technical outcomes that really help the business, such as the innovative "Dynamic Widget Injection" system which gives the commercial team unprecedented flexibility of ad placement and matching of commercial content with articles. "It lets the AdOps team tailor advertising placement within content simply and efficiently. Instead of just doing it paragraph based, which is the traditional way, we've gone much more granular into in what that delivers," he explained.

The difference Macharg has seen in innovation within the business already is reflected in the pace feature requests are now handled.

"We are releasing about 50 tickets a week at present. So as people come up with different ideas or we find changes we want to do we can really quite quickly iterate. You can't have great editorial with a really poor technical system or commercial system - they've all got to work in harmony. And if they're not working in harmony, you don't get the success."

Glide are proud to be part of that success.