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Commercial data challenges and opportunities for publishers in 2023

Data is the key to unlocking revenue growth, but for many publishers, getting their hands on the data they need and making sense of it, is a struggle. Sean Adams, global insight director at Brand Metrics looks at how publishers can access and visualise their data more effectively.

By Sean Adams

Commercial data challenges and opportunities for publishers in 2023

At a recent industry round-table, part of the AOP Publishing Tech Talk event, we spoke to publishers about some of the top trends and issues facing the publishing industry today, with a focus on using metrics to grow their revenue from brands and agencies.

Of course, the key to leveraging metrics lies in data. Here, we take a closer look at the data challenges and opportunities for publishers as we head towards 2023.

1. Accessing data

Many publishers face a common challenge - unstructured data with siloed teams and disparate sources of information.

When you have data split among separate functions - for instance rev ops, data analytics, sales or marketing - key stakeholders are left scratching their heads. Where is the data and in what format? Is it consolidated? Who controls (ie. governs) it? Who has access to it, how, and when?

As siloed data causes such an enormous lack of transparency within an organisation, publishers should store their data in a way that not only ensures the data itself is high quality, but also that it is accessible by the teams who need it, when they need it.

  • Data lakes: For instance, aggregating data within a data lake - or cloud-based data warehouse storage solution, such as Snowflake, BigQuery or RedShift - means every team has access to fully audited, fresh and reliable data. However, when thinking about how to strategically grow revenue from brands and agencies, simply having access to the data isn’t enough.
  • Data work groups: Different teams also need the skills to manipulate and report on the data in a certain way, to get to the insights they need. One way of overcoming this is to create new work groups. Just as you might encourage cross-team collaboration, bringing together individuals from different teams that use the same or similar data will enable them to share or align their data priorities, and of course, key metrics.
  • External expertise and tools: When an organisation’s data is so disparate or siloed, it can be hard to know where to begin harnessing it. Hiring external help such as a consultant or agency to complete a data audit can bring much-needed clarity. Meanwhile, some 45% of enterprises in the US and UK are looking to invest in analytics tools to address these unstructured data challenges, with almost 45% saying they want better data visibility.

And then, of course, you have the challenge of how best to present your data - both internally and externally.

2. Visualising data

The challenge of visualising data is twofold. First, you need to view your aggregated data in a dashboard in order to analyse and report on it. Second, you need to share the data, ie. convey the results to other internal and external teams.

  • Data visualisation dashboards: In order for your tech and business intelligence teams to understand, analyse and generate reports from the data in your cloud storage solution, they’ll need to implement intuitive data visualisation tools such as Looker, Tableau or Power BI. The next major challenge is to make the data easier for teams to understand and promote to others, such as sales and marketing teams selling an ad product to their brand advertisers.
  • Visual aids and graphic design: The benefits of investing in a good data visualisation strategy can make a huge difference when it comes to using metrics to grow revenue. Recent academic research suggests that almost two-thirds of respondents were far more decisive after using visualisation tools, while visual aids helped presenters become 43% more effective at persuading their audience to take a desired course of action.

In theory, then, the simplest solution is to prioritise presentation. In practice, however, data visualisation takes a lot of skill and practice, so you can’t learn it overnight.

A good way for organisations to help their sales and marketing teams promote data to brands and their agencies is to work with them in understanding what they want and need from the data. Working backwards from there can help package data in a way that’s more understandable and promotable. Again, work groups can help open up this line of communication.

Alternatively, sending out regular employee surveys will help team leads understand the data needs of everyone across the organisation, as well as their team-specific KPIs.

As data volumes continue to soar, establishing clear KPIs and leveraging an organisation’s data against those metrics will play an increasingly important role in growing business revenue from brands and agencies in 2023. Leveraging data ops technology and expertise will be the key to bridging historical divides between the editorial and commercial sides of the organisation.

About us

Brand Metrics provides the only platform to measure brand uplift for digital ad campaigns, including display, branded content and video, even campaigns as small as 50,000 impressions, to ensure publishers have tangible proof of their value for even smaller clients. Simple and powerful, their survey-based SaaS technology calculates brand lift across four key metrics: awareness, consideration, brand preference and action intent and compares these scores against Brand Metrics’ global benchmarks, allowing full comparability from campaign to campaign. Their SaaS technology is used by over 40 global publishers including Bloomberg, MediaFin, JPIMedia, The Ozone Project, Financial Times and Burda Forward, providing them with tangible proof of their site’s value.