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“There needs to be a mindset shift”: The publishers’ guide to building effective data strategies

More publishers than ever before are using data to grow traffic and revenue. However, more data does not equal better results. A new report by paywall solutions company Piano explores the challenges faced by businesses banking on data for growth. It also presents insights on how companies can collect and use data more effectively. 

“Stuck in a cycle”

The report, “How marketers are using flexible datasets to power successful campaigns,” quotes findings from a Forrester research according to which 57% of marketers around the world feel overwhelmed by the amount of data they get. And nearly half of the marketers don’t trust their modeling techniques, according to another research by Gartner. 

Publishers may likely face similar challenges as their objectives for collecting customer data overlap with those of marketers. 

Many marketers and business users are stuck in a cycle. They’ve gotten used to collecting large amounts of data for so long that the way out is too hard for them to see. 

How marketers are using flexible datasets to power successful campaigns

“One major challenge customers encounter when working with massive datasets is that data stems from different parts of the business and different phases of their customer funnel,” says Nicolas Hinternesch, Digital Analytics Strategist, Piano. 

“Coherent and unified datasets are needed to really assess the success of campaigns long-term,” he adds. “But instead of evaluating campaigns based on a comprehensive analysis, individual teams often use short-term metrics from within their own data silo for evaluating the success of digital activities.”

Hinternesch recommends embedding analytics early on in the process of product development. “There needs to be a mindset shift from, ‘Let’s collect a lot of data first, then see what we can do with it,’ to, ‘Let’s think about business first, then collect the data we need,’” he suggests. “Then, it’s about identifying how to get the data to the right users and give them the right tools to use it and embed it into their business context, coming full circle.” 

Source: How marketers are using flexible datasets to power successful campaigns

“Stick to the data that you know how to use”

The report encourages businesses to work with “light data” (only necessary data) and “flexible datasets” (data collected from multiple sources). 

“A flexible data model provides a comprehensive view of users based on data from various applications — websites, apps, smart TVs, and more,” the report suggests. “A unified data model ensures all teams within the organization operate on the same set of data, using the same vocabulary for analysis. This improves efficiency and accuracy across the organization.”  

Stick to the data that you know how to use and that you can exploit and maintain with the resources you have at hand. This is the most economical, ecological, and efficient approach.

Declan Owens, Digital Analytics Strategist, Piano

A centrally-managed data model would help create the foundation for standardizing data vocabulary across an organization. “In the data model documentation, there should be a business user-friendly description for the end-user, explaining what information a specific piece of data carries,” says Hinternesch. “Ideally, these definitions are embedded in the centrally-managed data model. That will help the end-user understand what they’re actually looking at in their language.”

“We have to have the data tell a story”

The report shares tips on what to look for while shopping for analytics solutions or partners. The three main components to consider include data, tool and relationships.

Data must be evaluated for accuracy, completeness, cleanliness, timeliness, and consistency. The publisher should ensure that the data model being offered will fit its requirements. It should have multiple layers of reporting capabilities and business user-friendly tools like dashboarding or browser extensions. The solution must also include robust technical and strategic support to facilitate the evolution of data strategies over time. 

Hinternesch underlines the importance of visualization features. “You wouldn’t believe how many times just good data storytelling with proper visualizations are looked down upon,” he says. 

Painting an accessible picture is really what drives the point home. We have to have the data tell a story and annotation, explanation, and visualization features are incredibly important components.  

Nicolas Hinternesch, Digital Analytics Strategist, Piano

The full report can be downloaded here:
How marketers are using flexible datasets to power successful campaigns