Making the best use of data to build a successful digital strategy

Having a solid digital strategy that appropriately incorporates the vast amount of data at their disposal is essential for publishers, but it is also a complex undertaking. “The first step is understanding the critical strategic value of your behavioural data, and not outsourcing its capture, management, and processing to a third party,” says Annika Jimenez, Vice President, Pivotal Data Labs.

by WAN-IFRA Staff | March 31, 2015

Jimenez, who will be addressing the topic of data strategy at WAN-IFRA’s upcoming Digital Media Europe conference in London (20-22 April), recently answered a few of our questions about this area in the following email interview.

WAN-IFRA: When building a digital strategy, what are some things that news publishers should be thinking about in terms of data?

Jimenez: The first thing publishers should realise is, while Content is the venerable old king, in the digital world Data is the king’s savvy young daughter waiting on the sidelines to assume the throne. There has always been a natural tension in the struggle to define which takes priority – with Content usually winning out given its core role in originating subscriptions, readership, eyeballs, etc.

However, in the digital world, any focus on enhancing content viewership (and soon after that, monetising it) immediately gives way to the realisation that success will come down to building the right data instrumentation strategy, the right data infrastructure to capture, process, and extract insights from immense amounts of behavioural data, and the build-out of the right applications to target, serve ads, experiment with content, and serve personalised content.

The companies that understand these truisms, and that respond by building the right data capabilities from the ground up in parallel to best-in-class investigative news, entertainment, etc, will be better able to compete in the digitally-led markets we exist in. As we say often, software is eating the world.

What are some ways media companies can make the most out of the data they collect?

The right well-thought-out data instrumentation (i.e., data capture) strategy will generate extensive behavioural data that can be used for all digital goals ranging from increasing user engagement and loyalty, maximising online subscriptions, inferring user interest and personalising content, maximising ad views and response, and more. The first step is understanding the critical strategic value of your behavioural data, and not outsourcing its capture, management, and processing to a third party.

Could you give a few examples of some innovative ways that publishers are making use of data?

We recently did some exciting data science to help a major media network predict TV viewer behaviour for specific shows, that leveraged Nielsen ratings data, show transcripts, and show metadata.

This combined different machine learning techniques, including natural language processing (NLP) for the transcript text-rich data, joining this data with resulting ratings, and building features across all data sets to understand drivers of viewership. Click here for more details.

Annika Jimenez will present “How to design your Data Strategy in 2015,” at WAN-IFRA’s Digital Media Europe conference in London on Monday, 20 April. For programme details and to register, click here.

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