Can Big Data Make You a Better Publisher?

Published March 31, 2014   |   
Robert Springer

What came first, the data or the publisher? How could a person publish without having at least some idea who was going to read or see it? Whatever the case, publishers published and the data started to roll in. In the last few years, the data drip has become a veritable tsunami, threatening to capsize publishers that can’t ride the wave.

Big Data is all about a relatively simple idea–an idea with profound impacts for publishers: “Big Data is the ability to customize and personalize a user experience based on what you know about that user,” says Gordon McLeod, president of Krux, producers of a data management platform that can help businesses collect, analyze, and make Big Data actionable. “So there are many other ways to use it beyond the core advertising technology. It’s all the same data. It’s what you know about your users and about people like them and taking action against it in real time.”

While Big Data started with advertising technology, its use has spread to other areas of publishing such as a viral video of a cute kitten.

Managing its online advertising inventory used to be a time-intensive headache for the Financial Times (FT). Time zone differences, disparate spreadsheets, and even handwritten notes caused an up to 2-business-day delay for the ad operations team to give the sales team accurate figures. Post-Big Data, the sales team can access that information in about 8 seconds. In addition to streamlining a cumbersome process, it allows almost real-time visibility into the site and advertising data while allowing the Financial Times to actually raise ad rates while its competitors are lowering theirs.

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