The digital revolution has dramatically affected the media industry. While manufacturing and finance use data to analyze and improve performance, the media industry has needed to use analytics to completely re-invent itself. The way media companies use analytics has applications to other industries, particularly as it relates to measuring sentiment and harnessing creativity and instinct.
The Business Analytics Knowledge Exchange recently had the opportunity to talk to two people who are in the thick of this media revolution: Randall Rothenberg, President and CEO of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, a nonprofit whose membership includes the companies responsible for selling 86 percent of online advertising in the US; and Keith DeWeese, Director of Information Semantics Management for the Tribune Co.
The Interactive Advertising Bureau’s members include traditional advertising companies – and newcomers – adapting to the rapidly fragmenting marketing world. DeWeese works for a company that is re-engineering the role of a traditional media provider in the online era. Both discuss how analytics helps make those transformations.
One of the advantages of interactive advertising is that companies can get to know the people who view their advertisements, Rothenberg says. While this allows for efficiency and a kind of hypersegmentation, aided by analytics, there are a few pitfalls that Rothenberg outlines:
- Advertisers must be “pristine” in making sure consumers are given notice, choice and control in how their information is used. Otherwise, says Rothenberg, “government will get involved.”
- While analytics allows companies to target ad spending to very specific niches, it does not mean that the creativity is unnecessary. Great writers and artists are still needed to create emotionally appropriate and intellectually stimulating messages. The 21st century difference? That creativity is paired with data analysis to better understand what creative versions will resonate best.
- Interactive advertising has erased the advertising boxes B-to-C and B-to-B companies used to inhabit. B-to-B companies can’t rely on trade journals and similar silos – they need to generate awareness in general audiences, and measure the success of those efforts. B-to-C companies need an analytical approach to studying whether the creative projects that get buzz truly drive business.
The Tribune Co. uses analytics to build a compelling case that Rothenberg’s clients should place advertisements on its various online sites, when the digital era provides hundreds of alternatives. The Tribune Co. uses text analytics technologies to make its content meaningful to readers. When readers visit the Tribune site and click on an article about holiday travel, they get multiple additional stories with similar themes to select and sometimes a whole topic section to click on, or an app related to searching for further information on a topic. All is generated automatically. DeWeese’s group also works to make search so intuitive and easy that readers want to come to a Tribune website for answers. “We want to offer news in a social context,’’ explains DeWeese.