Association of online publishers Helping media owners build better digital business

comScore's Director of Marketing Solutions Mike Shaw on data

Mike Shaw
Mike Shaw, Director of Marketing Solutions, comScore is speaking at AOP’s Driving Revenue through Data Forum on 8 September. We got his views on monetising data ahead of the event:

more information on the event including speakers from Abacus e-Media, CACI, Incisive Media and RBI

Book your place now

At one of AOP’s event’s earlier this year, one of the speakers said that publishers are sitting on a “goldmine” of data, which may be the most powerful in the entire media ecosystem – is this true in your view, and if so, why?

Absolutely; it’s been proven that data and the ability to measure sales response drives the allocation of marketing budgets. A great example is IRI in the United States, and their understanding of FMCG sector advertising effectiveness based on the sales data obtained from barcode scanners.

Online media has both the opportunity and capacity to easily compile a huge amount of user information, and the targeting opportunities this presents for advertisers are unprecedented to any degree of critical mass within other media and should in turn lead to higher ad revenues.

To summarise, what would you say are the main areas publishers are or should be making money from data?

Publishers deliver audiences, and the more insight and therefore targeting ability that publishers can deliver to advertisers the better. Whilst I don’t envisage direct charges for data, the money would come from increased ad rates as publishers demonstrate the added value for the advertiser of targeted ad buys.

A good example is the recent Microsoft/Lastminute.com case study.

Given that digital throws up such a wealth of data, how can we separate the wheat from the chaff, finding and utilising data that is really valuable and can bring financial return?

Whilst online research and analysis is a specialist discipline, the fundamental process is not unlike that for research and analysis in other fields such as science or sport.

The first stage is to understand the metrics that should be tracked and then understand what really influences these. Online definitely provides more metrics than the average industry, but the skilled researcher understands that only some of these matter and even then they need to be taken in the overall context of the business.

One of the metrics comScore is working hardest against at the moment is the ‘click-through’, given its lack of relevance to brand advertisers. With more meaningful measures available, that capture additional dimensions of both consumer attitude and behaviour, online advertising’s effectiveness continues to be under-represented by the use of the click.

Which publishers, in your view, are currently successfully monetising and making the best use of their user data?

The publishers who have both scale in terms of audience size, and that collect insight into personal data and preferences, are ideally placed.

We see major social networks increasing ad rates based on targeting very specific audience niches, self-defined by information that the consumer themselves have provided, that they are still able to deliver in some volume.

I think that Google’s reach, their focus on R&D allied to their capacity to fund it, and their expansion into more and more sectors of the advertising value chain means they are ideally placed to continue to monetise data about users better than almost anybody else out there – especially if they continue to ‘Do No Evil’.

What are the legal issues publishers need to be aware of in this area?

One of the fundamental threats to data use was cleared up by the European Parliament in November, rejecting its earlier opt-in amendment for cookies and stating that consumers’ control settings in a web browser are sufficient to comply with the consent requirement in the legislation.

Having watched the trials and tribulations of Phorm, publishers need to understand that the law is potentially still grey around a lot of data-use issues and that consumer reaction in the UK to any hint of intrusion or covert monitoring will be harsh.

My advice to publishers would be to make sure that their legal teams are up to speed on the requirements of the Privacy and Electronics Communications Directive and the Data Protection Act, and that more dialogue is undertaken with users to explain the value to them of more relevant commercial messages. Consumer perception at the moment is that there are no benefits of this monitoring to them, only risks.

Book your place online now // more information on the event

Join the AOP group on LinkedIn - open for all Members to join
Subscribe to AOP's e-newsletter.