Yesterday Publishing Executive hosted Publishing Executive Live: Data, Insight & Revenue Summit at the Union League in New York City. Over 60 publishing executives were in attendance to learn from leaders at IDG, Forbes Media, Google, Foreign Policy, ALM, and more about how to work with data and develop new revenue streams from their data.
The half-day event packed in a ton of insights, which we will explore in more detail in the coming weeks. But several pieces of advice stood out. Following are a few of the biggest lessons we learned at this year’s Data, Insight & Revenue Summit:
1. Define the metrics you care about most across the organization. Tricia Syed, VP of user marketing and marketing analytics at Penton, said one of the biggest challenges Penton faced regarding data was unifying measurement across brands. Because each brand covers such different markets and has unique goals, Syed’s team created a menu of 20 metrics and asked editorial leaders to select their top five. “Those top five became their goals and KPIs,” said Syed. “Then the content folks and my team were fully aware what the goals for that particular market were and were better able to identify important trends.”
2. Make use of the “data champions” in your company. Mark Lewis, VP of strategic initiatives at IDG Enterprise, observed that both formal group training and ad-hoc training are important for getting staff up to speed on the latest data tools. But he finds the most useful training comes from the “data champions” within his teams. “There are champions within the business teams that are good at analytics and really get these new tools. Having them sit down one-on-one and spend half an hour answering someone’s questions about a tool is really valuable. We do have formal trainings, but I don’t find those as useful as those smaller interactions.”
3. Find powerful ways to curate and package data for your audience. In the panel “Harnessing Data to Develop New Products & Increase Revenue Streams,” Dolan Company president and CEO Adam Reinebach explained how his company collected publically available data about construction bid opportunities and packaged it for construction professionals. While this information is available online, it is difficult to find and make sense of the information. By creating a positive user experience and putting all of the data in one place, Reinebach and his team have been able to sell access to this database at a price three times higher than a magazine subscription.
4. Identify the unknowns in your audience. In the same panel, Foreign Policy SVP and chief revenue officer Chris Cotnoir said that the big turning point for the magazine’s revenue was when Foreign Policy decided to gate access to its website and turn unknown visitors into known members. Now readers must register in order to access Foreign Policy’s online content. While that affected the site’s traffic, Cotnoir said that the value of the audience increased exponentially. Foreign Policy is able to sell more premium advertising deals because they can communicate to advertisers exactly who is reading what content on the site. “Our revenue from content this year, versus what it was in 2012, will be six times larger,” said Cotnoir.
5. Get ready for the rise of custom online experiences. Keynote speaker Felipe Calderon, head of partnerships at Google, shared his perspective on future applications of data technology in media. In particular, he said that Google is paying close attention to technology that customizes individuals’ web experience based on how they are referred to the site or previous activity. This technology will be able to serve highly targeted ads and content to specific users and drive greater revenue for publishers. “One of my colleagues told me recently that we’re about five years away from deep customization,” said Calderon. “It’s an area we’re watching very closely.”