Data: the to-do list

AOP Crunch: top tips from the Guardian / Telegraph panel session…

By James Evelegh

Data: the to-do list
At the AOP Crunch event on 11 April (L-R): Ellie Edwards-Scott, Steve Conway and Karen Eccles.

More from the recent AOP Crunch event (‘Audience knowledge: the ‘new’ frontier’)…

The realisation that the competitive threat no longer comes from each other means that we can now have the Guardian and the Telegraph on the same panel without any threat of violence. There’s a refreshing sense of publisher cooperation.

The panel discussed driving value through data, and the following six tips emerged:

  1. Do a data audit. Work out what data you have, where it is, what architecture, tools and suppliers you’re using. Top publishers started this process years ago, so if you haven’t started yours yet, err… you probably should. The process itself will save you money, as it will highlight duplication of effort and supplier contracts.
  2. Appoint a Chief Data Officer. If data does not have a board-level champion, then your organisation can’t possibly be getting the best out of it.
  3. Prioritise ruthlessly. No more nice-to-have purchases / developments. Everything must have a clear rationale and RoI.
  4. Improve education / training. Enacting cultural change and getting people to change the way they work remains a huge challenge.
  5. Consult widely and often. Before designing a shiny new dashboard for the sales team, ask them if they actually want it!
  6. Create scalable data products. In terms of building ad revenue, data is only valuable if it’s clearly defined, commercially attractive and large enough. You need creative data analysts.

As for publishers’ biggest wish? That brands and agencies will start to make buying decisions based on context. Not all impressions are the same! Publishers have been banging on about this for years. Agencies say they’ve got the message but buying patterns have yet to reflect it. If and when they do, the commercial outlook for news publishers will improve dramatically.

(Panel: Steve Conway, The Guardian; Karen Eccles, The Telegraph. Moderator: Ellie Edwards-Scott.)