In a traditional sense, publishers use audience data to measure audience activity and engagement with their online content; for ad targeting; and to identify areas where they can refine content. Yet, there are more and more examples emerging for how publishers are using deep audience data, creatively, for monetization.
Before we talk about some of those examples, here are a few reminders about data management:
- Ensure Ownership. There is no question your data is more and more valuable. Make sure you own it. You can leverage it in numerous ways, not the least by selling your niche data for specialized advertisement opportunities. However, its value can decline if you don’t protect it and maintain ownership.
- Consider Data Quality. It’s important to establish data gathering protocols that create consistency in your data and also measure what you want to measure. Which leads to,
- Define Your Metrics. Take time to identify what exactly you need to know about your audience and revisit it regularly. Pay attention to what your audience is already telling you and listen to what your advertisers are asking for.
- Embrace the Data Manager. Your data is only as good as the person managing it. If it’s not in your budget to hire an expert to manage your data, at the very least, designate one person with a well-matched skill set to be in charge of it.
Use Your Tools at Hand. A good CMS will help you measure relevant activity, including, but not limited to:
- When subscribers log onto your site
- What devices your subscribers are using to access your content
- What content they are using
- What budget authority they have
- Practice Context Awareness. This is easily one of those “chicken or the egg” items. You need to know about your audience to engage them, and data helps you do that, but you also need to engage your audience in order to get more data—to engage them more deeply.
The name of the game is to build multiple revenue streams. Start by identifying what you have already and setting goals for growth. Some argue that as a digital publisher, you should have 10-15 revenue streams to work with. Many of our clients use their data to help boost various revenue streams including:
- Buyers Guides/Directories
But they aren’t limited to those options. Publishers are using their audience data to expand revenue streams in some traditional (like job boards) and not so traditional ways. A recent article on ABM discusses four unique monetization efforts.
1) Praetorian Group’s grant writing assistance turns data into leads and sponsorship opportunities for vendors and advertisers.
2) Crain’s Pensions and Investments’ multi-step marketing campaigns deliver deeply qualified leads to clients.
3) Marketing &Technology Group requires reader registration for all of their content and annual updates to increase the value of their data, better customize content and advertising and deliver real-time ads at an increased price.
4) Watt Publishing offers its data as a product: tailored marketing programs for clients reveal detailed behavioral attributes for leads.
As you can see, the value of data is multifaceted, and the options for monetization are only limited to your imagination. We’ll keep you posted as other examples emerge, but in the meantime, you know your audience best—what unique data-based offering can you create for them?