Hearst’s Adam Harris on Using Data to Connect Content, People & Products
Adam Harris joined Hearst Magazines Digital Media as VP of data products in May with a goal to learn more about Hearst readers and connect them with the right advertising. While Hearst has used data insights to understand its content and what resonates with readers, which Hearst VP of data Rick McFarland detailed in a 2014 interview, there’s an opportunity to learn more about the readers themselves, says Harris.
Harris hopes to use reader insights to target the most compelling advertising to consumers and connect them to the products and solutions that they’re looking for. In this interview Harris describes his objectives and how Hearst plans to connect its content, audience, and advertising using data insights.
What are the current high-level objectives when it comes to Hearst Magazines Digital Media's data strategy?
At Hearst Magazines Digital Media (HMDM), our high level objective is to leverage our knowledge of our content combined with a rigorous data collection strategy from our users to help inform product decisions and placements on our sites. At the intersection of content, people, and client products is where a publisher can create unique value for advertisers.
Your title is "vice president, data products." What kind of data products will you be overseeing and what is on the horizon?
I will oversee audience targeting, analytics, and insights, as well as ad products that are informed by data. This encompasses everything from the creation of custom audiences for media targeting to the measurement of reader favorability to a piece of content we created.
What new ideas do you bring to the Hearst organization that you are testing out?
We are testing many ideas, primarily focused on data in exchange for content within the Hearst digital media ecosystem. We’ve done a great job on the content side; it is now time for us to also understand our audience at the same level. We’ve developed some novel approaches that you will see on our sites in the coming months.
What opportunity are you most excited about in the next six months?
There are two opportunities we are excited to see through. First, developing an offering that allows HMDM to leverage its understanding of its content and growing knowledge of users to offer better targeting of media for our clients. Second, developing methods to offer metrics to advertisers that prove branded content moves readers from brand awareness into consideration in the funnel.
Are there any new technologies that you see offering a big upside for publishers in the short- or long-term?
Several data coops may have significant value for publishers in the short term (such as the new retail data coop from Criteo). Longer term, real AI offerings can help to create a completely custom tailored experience for the user, while also allowing for monetization through new ad formats and placements to maximize engagement.