Considering the present scenario, data and analytics are a big deal in a decision-making process. With the tremendous growth of social media and the use of new technology by an audience; the data landscape is extremely wide with numerous data trends and multiple data types that assist publishers in decision making. One of the key assets for any publisher is their content, through which they deliver value to the consumer and improve marketing and sales results.
During the print times of print magazines, publishers used to continuously gather information about the audience (or readers) interest in order to supply effective content and better advertising. But this exercise has been extremely time-consuming, talked about the particular demographic and specific age groups, male or female criterion, and all manual efforts.
With the introduction and growth of online media, it is now possible for publishers to understand and track their online users’ interests, preferences, and behavior. While the user engages with the content they are looking for, the skilled digital tools divulge into the user profile, usage patterns, what information they search on the publisher’s website, tracking user’s browsing activities through cookies or by tracking pixels. This is the DATA that helps publishers in deciding and defining a target audience segment which returns lucrative benefits for advertisers too.
What are the data and what decision it takes for publishers?
DATA source for any publisher could be content that engages user/ customers for carrying out transactions or any kind of engagement activity which is recorded and stored in a database for effective data management. The information stored in the user profile, key values, searches, interest, demographics; is termed as DATA and is used by publishers to make key decisions towards specific functions such as:
Strategic Function- Deciding on channels to be utilized, products and pricing on a particular channel.
Sales Function- Who are priority and targeted consumers, which territory need to be allocated, what discounts and gross sales commission to be given.
Marketing Functions- Deciding on placements of publicity ads, what promotions and loyalty programs need to run.
Operations management Functions- Decision on vendors to be used, the number of facilities and when and what needs to be published.
Inventory Functions- assist in forecasting demands, projecting inventory position.
This is the above-mentioned data, which if leveraged properly by the publishers can help them in creating and providing personalized content to the audience and successfully engaging them.
How can a publisher control and utilize the data?
One of the most beneficial and key data units for any publisher is their subscribers. These subscribers share the information through which the publishers understand their audience’s interests and preferences. With this information, it is possible for publishers to provide users with the right information to the right target and at the right time. With the data and analytics, publishers know the interest of their subscribers and accordingly work towards creating enriching engagement experiences for them. Publishers can also utilize this engaged audience as a tool to charge high price demands from advertisers for revenue benefits.
But creating content that engages and interests users is challenging for publishers. It was very easy in print media times for publishers to convince the advertiser of their audience but with the advent of the digital medium, publishers find it complex to generate enough relevant audiences that could translate into financial benefits.
Utilizing first-party data for effective engagement
Working in marketplaces with first, second and third-party data altogether is complex and might not benefit publishers in engaging the user effectively. But out of these, utilizing first-party data can assist in fixing the problem of a target and relevant audience.
To leverage first-party data, keenly observe how the data is being sourced as this has a huge impact on published content’s accuracy and quality. For example, the data sourced from the registration or sign-in process have a higher user engagement ratio and deliver better and accurate results.
One important concept can be learned from Facebook. Just as Facebook combines user profile information and their behavior to define engagement; publishers can also club together with the behavior and user profile information (received when the user signs up to look for accurate information) to achieve higher engagement. This can be termed as the value exchange between users and publishers that result in high-quality data.
Another approach for publishers is to partner with third-party data providers that help in meeting and identifying the target audience and supplying with the marketplace with accessible and available segments. With the partners’ data as well as the in-house data, the publishers can plan towards defining the target audience segment and delivering enriching content that drives organic traffic and revenue. Defining a target segment can help achieve a premium publisher level of engagement.
Leveraging first-party data is all about trust and a healthy relationship with the targeted users. The data should be intuitive and improve the audience’s engaging experience and not detract from it. For example, a female user, 25 years of age sign in to an online cooking medium and look for cooking methods of her interest (let’s say oil-free recipes). It also offers the facility to save the methods that are of more relevance to her. By the information the user saves and gets engaged, it is understood that the particular user is more interested in cooking methods that are oil-free. With this information, it is possible to now supply the user with advertisements related to oil-free cooking methods or content that supply oil-free cooking details. This is how a publisher can make use of available first-party data and pair it with the suitable content that is relevant to the user’s interest. This also helps publishers gain consumer’s trust towards a particular brand or business. Audiences are pleased about the fact that publishers are concerned about their preferences and recognize what the consumers need.
Thus, for any publisher, it is very important to look out for their subscriber and collect the subscriber’s data as it is the key to create something actionable.
Data is important not only for compelling content that users want but also to force advertisers to create targeted and effective advertising. There are tech-savvy marketers with data of their own, looking towards publishers for better value-oriented services and effective leads for better sales management. Publishers are expected to deliver not only engaging consumers but also the targeted and qualified sales-ready leads.
The Way Forward
It is the right time that publishers, marketers, and platforms understand the value of first-party data and work together to utilize this data in providing an engaging user experience. With accurate data, publishers can focus on improving the target segment, content and packaging them together to create an environment expected by the target audience.