"Data" has become the magazine industry buzzword du jour -- and for good reason. Publishers are finding that through their digital issues and online properties they can gather more insights about their readers than ever before. Some publishers, particularly in the B2B sector, are translating those insights into qualified prospects for their advertisers. By tracking reader behavior and interests, publishers can offer advertisers more than brand awareness. They can promise a list of high-value prospects who are ready to buy.
Rick McFarland likes to compare his work at Hearst Corporation's data services to the creation of the Interstate Highway System. Before the Interstate System, it was a bumpy ride from coast to coast, fraught with dead-ends, detours, and sluggish speeds. Improving the nation's roads had been a long-standing ideal, but it really wasn't until President Eisenhower championed the military and economic value of a robust interstate highway that funding was put in place and action was taken.
ALM Media's Jeff Litvack is bullish on digital magazines. If paired with a smart web strategy, useful mobile apps, and the data that connects all the pieces, the chief digital officer expects digital magazines will in the future serve much the same role printed magazines have in the past
Publishers have long been adept at gathering information about readers and audiences in the interest of producing better content and more effective advertising. But these processes were a lot more simplistic "back in the day" of print-centric magazines.
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