tech Microsoft SharePoint Online

What’s New & Noteworthy in SharePoint Online

Michal Pisarek May 22, 2021


The truth about online content is that nobody really reads it, the majority of people just scan through articles. Studies have shown that only 10-20% of readers actually make it to the bottom of the page.

That is why it is important for us to do something about, ensuring important information does not go unnoticed. In the Microsoft 365 ecosystem, SharePoint is the hub of all communication resources, integral to corporate communication. Let us walk you through some exciting new features in this space and how to use them to improve engagement in 2021.

What's Exciting in SharePoint News?

SharePoint News is a content distribution system that offers visibility far and wide in your collaborative environment. News can be viewed across all these platforms: SharePoint start page, inside Microsoft Teams sites, SharePoint communication site, Hub sites, in Microsoft Teams and SharePoint mobile App, on, within the SharePoint App Bar, in your inbox through Auto-news digest, Microsoft edge and also within a particular team or yammer community when shared on them. Phew…that list seemed endless.

Given this, Sharepoint News can reach audiences all over such platforms, what is an efficient way to actually get the content noticed?

Tips to Improve Content Visibility

  • Designate an Organizational News Site – identify sites as “official” corporate news sites, and any news article coming from that page gets a special branding and a colored banner depending on the theme of the local site which helps draw attention.
  • Choose the Source of the News – In order to engage people you want to show things that are most relevant to readers. So you should choose the source of news to improve engagement, the source can be from a Hub, or select SharePoint sites, or only those that are defined as organizational news sites.
SharePoint Online News - Select New Source
Image: SharePoint News - Choose the Source for News
  • Choose the Layout: It is important how everyone views the news and there are a variety of layouts available, from a rotating carousel to tiles, lists, and more.
  • Choose what you Display: Display the most relevant bits of the news articles. You can control the visibility of aspects like the number of views, author,  first published date. Users have the ability to filter news to show specific items, and authors can target news to audiences by order or pinning news to the top.
SharePoint News - Choose what to Display
Image: SharePoint Online News - Choose What to Display
  • Give news a Display Boost: Not all news announcements are equal as some are more important than others. In an Organizational News site, you can boost news articles. You can elevate it in all newsfeeds until the individual has seen it or until it reaches a specific number of impressions (1-20 impressions) or up to a specific time.
sharepoint online news - display boost
Image: SharePoint Online News - Display Boost

Types of News Articles

There are two kinds of article options:

  1. News Post – A News Post is something that you create your own, like a flexible page on the SharePoint site to which edits can be made directly on the page.
  2. News Link – This is the option you use when there is news that you want to surface but don’t have any commentary written on it, so the easy way would be to create a link. With the link, you can link to an article on another site in your tenant or on the web. It is in the form of a structured page on your site, where you can only edit the title, thumbnail image, and description.

For a complete understanding of how to make the most of SharePoint News features like scheduling pages, audience targeting, News organization, and creating a News digest, get guided by Microsoft MVP and SharePoint Information Architect Consultant, Susan Hanley, in this informative recording:

In the meantime, here are a couple of tips to get you going:

  • Create templates and embed your news best practices directly in the templates, you should use different templates for different types of articles to maintain clarity while also being consistent.
  • Make news pages easier to manage by considering displaying the ‘first published date’ so that you can easily find scheduled pages.
  • Make sure you display ‘Version’ in the site page view so that readers are updated.

Measuring Engagement Outcomes in SharePoint News

All efforts to improve visibility are futile if we are not able to measure its impact. So you need to focus on making connections and adding value. Therefore, just page views are not enough so have other proxies for actionable outcomes that are measurable. For example, likes and comments indicate that people are actually engaging.

These are some of the metrics and insights that are available at the moment:

  • Look at what pages were viewed the most, how many unique views it had, platform/devices or used to view the page
  • Insights about when to post your article to get the best engagement results
  • See which articles engaged by showing like count and comment count in views
SharePoint Online News - When to Post
Images: SharePoint Online News - Analytics on When to Post

If you require to dive deeper into metrics, use more advanced analytics to see more: 3rd parties, Microsoft 365 Usage analytics, Audit logs with PowerBI.

But there is more being added to the SharePoint News metrics. Soon you will be able to see individual page analytics on each page. There is also the option of having a page analytics digest sent to each author a week after publishing with recommended actions to boost readership!

The Role of Yammer in Corporate Communication

In the conversation spectrum, Yammer is still very relevant to corporate communication. Unlike MS Teams where ephemeral conversations live, Yammer is the home for knowledge that you want to capture for the long haul.

The platform is built to scale leadership by providing access to leadership voices through communities. It plays a key role in fostering the work culture as it is a space for social causes as well. Yammer supports peer-to-peer knowledge exchange, communities around particular topics and gives room for ideation, as well as democratizing conversation within the enterprise.

Leveraging Both SharePoint and Yammer

On one hand, SharePoint News is a rich storytelling experience, where you can add additional metadata, while also making most of its scheduling experience. On the other, Yammer is for amplifying those stories and engaging your users.

Once you publish content through SharePoint News and you can extend the message around that news article directly within Yammer while also adding questions, polls, and rich text to garner more interest from readers.

Valuable Yammer Features for Corporate Communication

Here are some noteworthy features of Yammer that make it such a powerful tool in Microsoft 365:

  • Live Events:  An immersive experience in Yammer that shows video alongside conversations, allowing producers to moderate comments, questions, and answers before they are available and visible to everyone.
  • Centralized Search Experience: You can now surface Yammer conversations outside of Yammer, such as –
    • From SharePoint – A separate search vertical allows you to see any conversations within Yammer, MS Teams, and Outlook, as long as the user has appropriate access to these assets.
    • From Microsoft Teams – By adding the Communities App to MS Teams, you can Yammer conversations and get notifications about Yammer announcements and mentions.
  • Priority Announcement:  Admins can boost the visibility of important announcements by sending notifications to the inbox of all community members.
SharePoint Online News - Yammer to Boost Announcements
Images: SharePoint Online News - Leveraging Yammer to Boost Announcements
  • Featured Conversations: Improve engagement and add emphasis and longevity to news and campaigns by setting a conversation as featured. Featuring a conversation also increases its prominence in the Yammer discovery feed, for people outside the community.

Measure What Matter in Yammer

Yammer too allows you to analyze engagement and performance of content shared through various metrics. There are some exciting new analytics capabilities coming out within Yammer:

  • Community Insights: These help admins and users can view activity, measure engagement and find valuable insights.
  • Conversation Insights: Such insights show impressions, total views, click-through rate, and breakdown of reactions.
SharePoint News - Yammer Conversation Insights
Image: SharePoint News - Yammer Conversation Insights
  • Q&A Insights: Q&A trends are a powerful way to measure a community’s health. You can use insights within the community to monitor engagement, and insights on the organization level to measure the impact of communities.

Stay Updated on SharePoint, MS Teams & More with Orchestry

As an Microsoft Teams-first platform, Orchestry is dedicated to staying up to date with all that’s new and exciting in the Microsoft 365 ecosystem.

Orchestry is built to empower organizations to define a winning Microsoft 365 adoption and change management strategy. Created by SharePoint MVPs and Microsoft 365 experts, Orchestry helps organizations formulate the roadmap of ‘what to use when’ in the Microsoft 365 ecosystem. It enables businesses to increase their technology adoption with empowering governance and simplified intelligent provisioning organization-wide.

Sign up for the Orchestry newsletter below or reach out to us at to stay updated.

About the Author

Michal Pisarek Image

Michal Pisarek

Orchestry CEO, 7X Microsoft MVP

Seven-time Microsoft SharePoint MVP, former Co-Founder of Dynamic Owl Consulting and of BONZAI Intranet, this serial entrepreneur, international speaker, Office 365 thought leader, and former professional chef brings the great depth of product, leadership, and user experience expertise to Orchestry, working with Fortune 500 companies to deliver maximum efficiency of their Microsoft 365 investments.

When Michal takes a day off occasionally, you will find him experimenting in the kitchen, inventing a new cocktail or learning a new language while enjoying all that Vancouver has to offer with his wife, daughter, and furry companion.


This Privacy Policy explains what information Orchestry Software Inc. and its associated entities (collectively “Orchestry”) collect about you, why, what we do with that information, how we share it and how we handle the content you place in our products and services. It also explains the choices available to you regarding our use of your personal information and how you can access and update this information.

Privacy Policy Scope

Our Privacy Policy applies to the information we collect when you use one of our services, or when you otherwise engage with Orchestry Software, including, but not limited to:
when you visit our websites (“Websites“);
when you contact us for assistance;
when we connect with you as a prospective customer or as a customer;
when you attend customer or prospective customer events;
when you meet us at third party events, gatherings or meetups.
Orchestry is committed to protecting your privacy. This Privacy Policy applies to our websites (Websites), including, and, owned and controlled by Orchestry.

This Privacy Policy governs our data collection, processing and usage practices. It also describes your choices regarding use, access and correction of your personal information. By using the Websites, you consent to the data practices described in this Privacy Policy. If you do not agree with the data practices described in this Privacy Policy, you should not use the Websites.

Information We Collect

We collect personal data that you submit to us via our website or third-party tools including, for example, when applying for a job via our website or requesting support in relation to one of our services.
You are free to explore the Websites without providing any Personal Information about yourself. When you visit the Websites, we request that you provide Personal Information about yourself, and we collect Navigational Information.

Information Collection & Access

Orchestry acknowledges that you have the right to access your Personal Information. If requested to remove data we will respond within a reasonable timeframe.

We may transfer Personal Information to companies that help us provide our service, such as those organizations as part of our Global Partner Alliance. Transfers to subsequent third parties for the sole purpose of responding to requests from Websites in the appropriate geography service territory.

“Personal Information”
This refers to any information that you voluntarily submit to us and that identifies you personally, including contact information, such as your name, e-mail address, company name, address, phone number, and other information about yourself or your business. Personal Information can also include information that you enter into on the Websites, and information about you that is available on the internet, such as from Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google, or publicly available information that we acquire from service providers.

“Navigational Information”
This refers to information about your computer and your visits to this website such as your IP address, geographical location, browser type, referral source, length of visit and pages viewed.

We use Navigational Information to operate and improve the Websites. We may also use Navigational Information alone or in combination with Personal Information to provide you with personalized information about Orchestry.

Information About Children

The Websites are not intended for or targeted at children under 13, and we do not knowingly or intentionally collect information about children under 13. If you believe that we have collected information about a child under 13, please contact us at, so that we may delete the information.

Information Usage

We use the information we collect only in compliance with this Privacy Policy.

In addition to the uses identified elsewhere in this Privacy Policy, we may use your Personal Information to: (a) improve your browsing experience by personalizing the Websites; (b) send information to you which we think may be of interest to you by post, email, or other means; (c) send you marketing communications relating to our business.

We will never sell your Personal Information to any third party. However, we may share or disclose your Personal Information as follows:
we may provide your information to our business partners, vendors or service providers who perform functions on our behalf;
in connection with, or during negotiations of, any merger, sale of company assets, financing, or acquisition of all or a portion of our business to another company;
as required by law, government officials, or other third parties pursuant to a subpoena, court order, or other legal process or requirement applicable to our Company;
when we believe, in our sole discretion, that the disclosure of personal information is necessary to prevent physical harm or financial loss;
to report suspected illegal activity or to investigate violations of our agreements.

Reviewing, Correcting and Removing Your Personal Information
Upon request, Orchestry will provide you with information about whether we hold any of your Personal Information. If you provide us with your Personal Information, you have the following rights with respect to that information:
To review the user information that you have supplied to us.
To request that we correct any errors, outdated information, or omissions in user information that you have supplied to us.
To request that your user information not be used to contact you.
To request that your user information be removed from any solicitation list that we use.
To request that your user information be deleted from our records.
To opt out of being solicited by Orchestry or third parties.

To exercise any of these rights, please contact us at or by mail to Orchestry Software Inc., 422 Richards St, Suite 170, Vancouver, BC V6Z 2Z4, Attn: Privacy. We will respond to your request to change, correct, or delete your information within a reasonable timeframe and notify you of the action we have taken.

Retention of Personal Information

We retain Personal Information that you provide us as long as we consider it potentially useful in contacting you our services, or as needed to comply with our legal obligations, resolve disputes and enforce our agreements, and then we securely delete the information. We will delete this information from the servers at an earlier date if you so request, as described in “Unsubscribe from Communication” below.

Customer Testimonials and Comments

We post customer testimonials and comments on our Websites, which may contain Personal Information. We obtain each customer’s consent via email prior to posting the customer’s name and testimonial.

Security of your Personal Information

We use a variety of security technologies and procedures to help protect your Personal Information from unauthorized access, use or disclosure. We secure the Personal Information you provide on computer servers in a controlled, secure environment, protected from unauthorized access, use or disclosure.

Social Media Features

Our Websites include Social Media Features, such as the Facebook Like button and Widgets, such as the Share This button or interactive mini-programs that run on our sites. These features may collect your IP address, which page you are visiting on our sites, and may set a cookie to enable the feature to function properly. Social Media Features and Widgets are either hosted by a third party or hosted directly on our Websites. This Privacy Policy does not apply to these features.  Your interactions with these features are governed by the privacy policy and other policies of the companies providing them.

External Websites

Our Websites provide links to other websites. We do not control, and are not responsible for, the content or practices of these other websites. Our provision of such links does not constitute our endorsement of these other websites, their content, their owners, or their practices. This Privacy Policy does not apply to these other websites, which are subject to any privacy and other policies they may have.

Public Forums

We offer publicly accessible blogs, message boards and community forums. Please keep in mind that if you directly disclose any information through our public message boards, blogs, or forums, this information may be collected and used by others. We will correct or delete any information you have posted on the Websites if you so request, as described in “Opting Out and Unsubscribing” below.

International Transfer of Information

To facilitate our global operations, we may transfer and access Personal Information from around the world, including the United States. This Privacy Policy shall apply even if we transfer Personal Information to other countries.

Corporate Events

If we (or our assets) are acquired by another company, whether by merger, acquisition, bankruptcy or otherwise, that company would receive all information gathered by Orchestry on the Websites. In this event, you will be notified via email and/or a prominent notice on our website, of any change in ownership, uses of your Personal Information, and choices you may have regarding your Personal Information.

Cookies & Similar Technologies

Orchestry uses cookies or similar technologies to analyze trends, administer the website, track users’ movements around the website, and to gather demographic information about our user base as a whole.

The cookies we use on this website are broadly grouped into the following categories:

Essential: Some of the cookies on our website are essential for us to be able to provide you with a service you have requested. You may not be able to use our website effectively without these cookies.
Analytics: We use analytics cookies to help us understand how users engage with our website. An example of this is for counting the number of different people coming to our website, visiting a particular page or using a particular feature. Without this cookie, if you visited the website once each week for three weeks, we would count you as three separate users and this wouldn’t be a true representation. These cookies do not let us identify specific users as the information is aggregated.
Social sharing: We use cookies to allow you to share content directly to your social networking sites for example Facebook, Twitter and Google+ i.e. clicking Like on Facebook and Share on Twitter.
Interest-based advertising: You may have noticed that when you visit websites, you will be shown advertisements for products and services you may be interested in. Cookie information about certain pages you have visited on our website helps us be more relevant in our advertising. Having these cookies does not increase the number of adverts you will be shown on these specific sites. These ‘persistent’ cookies last no longer than 90 days, or until you clear them. These and the other cookies we use do NOT allow us to see what other sites you have been visiting, they simply act as a record of our web pages and advertisements that you may see.
Opt Out of Cookies
When you first visited the websites you will have been shown a status bar notifying you that this website uses cookies and inviting you to review this cookie policy. Once you have clicked to go further into our website, the cookie prompt will disappear, this confirms that you consent to us using the cookies detailed in this policy.
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If you want to reject cookies we use from this website you will need to:
Delete the cookies from your browser. Most browsers also allow you to prevent all or some cookies being stored on your machine in the future. For more information on how to delete or disable cookies from your browser please use the ‘help’ function within your browser, or alternatively visit By deleting our cookie preference cookie, the next time you visit our website the cookie status bar will appear again inviting you to again reconsider your preferences.
AND/OR: If you only want to reject the Internet Based Advertising cookies we store on your machine, you can opt-out of receiving these cookies at any time by going to the Internet Advertising Bureau website at and following the opt-out instructions.
Please do be aware that disabling cookies may impact the functionality of this website.
Third Party Cookies
Some of the cookies described above are stored on your machine by third parties when you use our website. We have no control over these cookies of how the third party uses them. They are used to allow that third party to provide a service to us, for example website analytics. For more information on these cookies and how to disable them, please see:
Internet Advertising Bureau website at where you will be able to opt-out of receiving Internet Based Advertising cookies from some of the third parties, such as Google, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
The use of cookies and web beacons by any tracking utility company is not covered by our Privacy Policy.

Log Files

We may collect demographic information, such as your region, preferences, interests and favorites using log files that are not associated with your name or other personal information. There is also information about your computer hardware and software that is automatically collected by us. This information can include: your IP address, browser type, domain names, internet service provider (ISP), the files viewed on our site (e.g., HTML pages, graphics, etc.), operating system, clickstream data, access times and referring website addresses. This information is used by Orchestry to provide general statistics regarding use of the Websites. For these purposes, we do link this automatically-collected data to Personal Information such as name, email address, address, and phone number.

Clear Gifs (Web Beacons/Web Bugs)

We employ a software technology called clear gifs (a.k.a. Web Beacons/Web Bugs), that help us better manage the Website by informing us what content is effective. Clear gifs are tiny graphics with a unique identifier, similar in function to cookies, and are used to track the online movements of Web users.  In contrast to cookies, which are stored on a user’s computer hard drive, clear gifs are embedded invisibly on Web pages or in emails and are about the size of the period at the end of this sentence. We use clear gifs in our HTML-based emails to let us know which emails have been opened by recipients.  This allows us to gauge the effectiveness of certain communications and the effectiveness of our marketing campaigns. We tie the information gathered by clear gifs in emails to our customers’ Personal Information. If you would like to opt-out of these emails, please see “Opting Out and Unsubscribing”.


We partner with a third-party ad network to either display advertising on our Web site or to manage our advertising on other sites. Our ad network partner uses cookies and Web beacons to collect non-personal information about your activities on this and other Web sites to provide you targeted advertising based upon your interests.  If you wish to not have this information used for the purpose of serving you targeted ads, you may opt-out by clicking here: (or if located in the European Union, by clicking here: Please note this does not opt you out of being served advertising.  You will continue to receive generic ads.

Unsubscribe from Communications

You may unsubscribe from our marketing communications by clicking on the “unsubscribe” link located on the bottom of our e-mails, or by sending us email us at or by mail to Orchestry Software Inc., 422 Richards St, Suite 170, Vancouver, BC V6Z 2Z4, Attn: Privacy.

Contact Us

If you have any questions about this Privacy Policy or our treatment of the information you provide us, please write to us by email at or by mail to Orchestry Software Inc., 422 Richards St, Suite 170, Vancouver, BC V6Z 2Z4, Attn: Privacy.


We may amend this Privacy Policy from time to time. When there are changes to this Privacy Policy, we will update this page. The date on the bottom will always indicate when we last made changes.
Last Updated: July 28, 2020

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