The Foundation of ALM’s Big Data Initiative
ALM's Big Data initiative started more than four years ago -- before the term Big Data was even coined. It began with the editorial team setting up a content taxonomy. The goal at that time was to provide users better search capabilities and allow advertisers to target users broadly based on a content subject matter (i.e., display a particular ad for all content that is labeled e-discovery).
This initial project has since become one of the primary foundations upon which ALM built out its Big Data Initiative. Given limited funding and resources, we took a pragmatic approach to Big Data building out our system with a modular investment approach rather than an all-in multi-million dollar upfront investment.
Following are the 5 foundational elements of our build-out. (Read about ALM's use of behavioral data to boost marketing campaign effectiveness.)
Developing a Robust Consistent Content Taxonomy: Leveraging the initial taxonomy work, we expanded ALM's taxonomy to include not only parent-child relationships but also grandparent-parent relationships. (Parent-child and grandparent-parent-child relationships are characteristics of a hierarchical model used to structure and organize data.) Since then we have been applying this taxonomy across the entire ALM organization -- both publications and non-publication business units. An important part of this process was to bring our sales and marketing team into the conversation, since the resulting taxonomy would serve all business units. In the near future ALM will complement editorial taxonomy efforts with automated solutions that will provide even more detail and consistency.
Building Out and Leveraging Registration and Subscription Platforms: While not an absolute necessity in a behavioral data driven world, at ALM we've found that having a registration platform provides an additional level of accuracy and opportunity. More specifically, the registration and subscription data provides additional demographic information and provides a unique point of reference across platforms (i.e., mobile, tablet and desktop).
Jeffrey Litvack is the Managing Director of Xcel Advisors and CEO of ClearView Social. Previously he was Group President and Chief Digital Officer at ALM and head of global product development at the Associated Press. Jeff has received numerous awards for his ground-breaking work in transforming media companies to be digital and mobile first.