Publishing in a Time When Data Is All Around You

For one, the common knowledge is that you’d have to be really big in the publishing universe to use such tools. Secondly, most people, Marcello Vena thinks, don’t understand the difference between analyzing big data and “normal” data. He distinguishes three key features that set these two kinds of analysis apart.

  • Big data uses a very large volume of unstructured data that standard database management systems simply cannot cope with.
  • Big data needs “adequate data-centric processes from capture, ingestion and curation to search, modelling, analysis and visualization, not to mention other critical operations like storage, maintenance, sharing, transfer, security and availability.”
  • Big data looks at all (or most of) the available information and doesn’t sample it to make it more manageable.

Robert Springer, writing for EContent, identifies the advantages of leveraging big data into the business model. Some of the most important ones are in the advertising area. The company Metamarkets sells an analytics platform that takes pricing information, inventory, demographics, and behavior data, and aggregates everything into one screen. This has helped their client, the Financial Times, to sell ads in real time. Identifying the intended audience and understanding what works and what doesn’t is crucial. (This strategy works for even smaller publishers who are trying to find their niche.) The real-time approach also informs the written content of the Financial Times, although not so much as to determine the whole strategy. However,

“if data is input into [the] editorial decision making, and if you’ve got the information, then you’d be crazy not to look at it”,

says Rob Grimshaw, managing director at FT.com.

In 2012, FT’s digital subscribers have topped the print subscribers. This milestone was achieved by understanding what website visitors are most likely to become subscribers and targeting them with appropriate ad campaigns.

In the future, the trend will most likely include smaller to mid-sized publishers by bridging the gap between the company’s website and marketing analytics. Living and breathing in a data-rich environment will most likely benefit both the user and the publisher.

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