Media Pitch: Advanced Insight Strives to Give Publishers a 360-Degree View of Their Audience Data
First party data is a powerful tool that publishers cannot ignore, says Advanced Insight CEO John Roney. His data-centric startup has developed a tool to help publishers better understand the first party data they collect about their audience and make business decisions based on those insights. The platform, Audience Insight360 tracks subscribers’ past activity on the site, real-time activity, demographics, purchase behavior, and more. Roney and his team believe these metrics can help publishers identify new opportunities to better engage readers, target ads to individuals, and upsell existing subscribers.
In the following interview Roney explains how the analytics platform works and how a greater understanding of one’s online audience can translate to significant digital revenue.
Who are you? What is your technology and how does it work? Who are the entrepreneurs behind it?
We have built a search and discovery platform that consolidates data from many disparate repositories. Our flagship product is Audience Insight360, which brings together hard-to-combine subscriber and billing information along with first party audience behavior data that can be viewed through a powerful multi-dimensional analysis and visualization tool for creating insights. These insights help our customers grow subscription and advertising revenue by identifying opportunities to save renewal revenue or upsell existing subscribers.
Our stakeholders all come from some of the original “Big Data” companies like LexisNexis and ProQuest. Having spent decades of our careers trying to provide valuable information to our customers, we have a unique perspective on data challenges and user interfaces. Our technology is all built on open source big data and search platforms making our solutions economical for our customers.
Explain your existence: What problem are you solving or opportunity are you enabling? How are you unique and innovative?
We have two missions to provide value to the publishing industry: provide information product platforms for publishers to get their data out there in an easy to consume format, and to provide in-depth audience analytics to everyday users who can act on the insights to drive revenue, cut cost, or improve editorial process. We are not a content management system (CMS) in any way; rather, we focus on large data repositories for delivering information products. We do, however, help CMS companies and others analyze their audience.
For example, account managers use our tools to see which subscription users are getting value from their licenses and which ones are not. For their customers not using the tools completely, account executives can offer training and other support to retain seats long before renewal time. Our latest offering supports publishers who are interested in implementing a targeted recommendation engine based on reader interests for articles and advertising. This significantly improves the user experience.
Inspiration: How did you come up with this idea? How does your new tech solution reflect changes and trends underway in the media world?
It is interesting how one set of offerings can open your eyes to other ideas for helping publishers. When we started providing information products for our customers, they were very happy with the way we were able to provide easy access and show off their data. This led to the question of which of their users were gaining value from the data. We helped build the traditional tracking solutions for things like Google Analytics, but our clients wanted more detail, down to the individual user, which you cannot track in Google because of privacy concerns.
This first party tracking need gave birth to the new audience insight product, which not only gives publishers true first party user data, but also brings in data from front office and back office systems like customer relationship management (CRM), subscription billing, and enterprise resource planning (ERP). Now the publisher can see where and how usage cuts across a wide range of demographics and user spending. No longer are these data silos buried across the organization. Marketers can create virtual market segments and lead lists in ways not possible with dispersed data. Many of the executives who founded Advanced Insight360 have been solving this 360-degree problem in the corporate world for a long time. We are now extending it to the media world.
Results: How have you or do you plan to help media companies increase revenue or cut costs? Can you quantify this?
We are very excited about our progress in this space. We have several areas where our customers tell us they have gained significant incremental revenue or just as importantly saved renewal revenue. We are now starting to see how our tools help editorial departments cut costs and provide more focused content based on what is being consumed in real time on their sites, as well as historical consumption.
Most of us have heard case studies about how it is easier and more cost efficient to keep the customer you have versus the expense of finding a new one. Our solutions help publishers save subscription renewals and provide for a personalization framework to increase retention.
On the advertising side, one of our publishing clients was excited because the system allows them to show advertisers the audience demographics that consume their advertising. Because our client could better demonstrate its audience value to advertisers, the publisher informed us that the system paid for itself in one month!
Share some wisdom: What do you think are the most important trends affecting the media business today? What do you see that no one else sees?
The market is changing so rapidly with an increasing number of system choices. The number of marketing system solutions alone have skyrocketed in the last three years. We take some of the complexity out of the confused market place by integrating many of these solutions and providing an easy to use front end.
We are very excited to be making progress for end users gaining insights through a true self-service way especially with many data sets to sift through. Many BI tools require a data analyst to create applicable dashboards with filter options that are then these dashboards are given to end users. Our tools let end users do their own discovery through a UI that looks very familiar. If you can buy shoes from a department store or buy anything on Amazon, you can use our tools without an analyst or anyone from IT. Sharing insights across the organization is also very easy.
What’s Next? How do you plan on expanding or improving on your offering? Where do you see opportunities for growth?
In a phrase, Natural Language Processing (NLP). We are experimenting with bringing true free form search to our UI so a user can start typing and we then expose all the focus and filters in type ahead options. We feel this will allow users to discover the way they are most comfortable, with our existing easy-to-use navigational searching of today or the keyword searching on steroids of tomorrow.
NLP is also starting to play a role in improved recommendation engines and pre-processing of data. We have standardized on big data frameworks to rapidly reduce the time data can be turned into insightful information. NLP enables this by allowing us to provide unique and interesting connections between data points without losing the advantage of the timeliness of the information.