Share this post

INMA Report: Five Takeaways to Leverage Big Data

In April 2016, INMA co-hosted Big Data Media Week.

INMA recently released Big Data for Media 2.0: Going Data-First to continue this discussion.

We’re summarizing this report and highlighting our top five takeaways for digital publishers:

1. Big Data is the “thing”

Big Data isn’t the next big thing. It’s the thing.

It’s what digital publishers need to reach advertisers, audiences, and to co-exist with social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

There’s no denying digital publishers are in the data distribution business. And data is the gasoline.

Rick McFarland, Chief Data Scientist at Hearst Corp., said it best when he shared: “Hearst is not in the publishing business or even in the media business. It is really in the data distribution business. Data is the gasoline that fuels the business.”

2. Data is a company-wide strategy

Data is a company-wide strategy, touching every facet of the media operation: advertising, editorial, marketing, finance, and beyond.

With data, digital publishers can gain detailed insights into user behaviour and leverage this data to drive higher-priced advertising and subscriptions, more efficient and effective campaigns for advertisers, and personalized content to drive user engagement and loyalty.

And with the right tools and training, data can be your gasoline too.

3. Why it’s time to leverage audience analytics

By far, the #1 activity under the Big Data umbrella is audience analytics, the collection of audience usage data, with 45 of the survey-takers saying this is their top priority. Audience analytics can easily be executed almost entirely with technology.


The media companies who responded to this survey are in what INMA call “the slow” and “middle lanes” as they are just starting to develop their data-first strategy in order to get in the “fast lane” and convert their data into actionable insights and revenue.

Most media companies actually sit on stockpiles of data, both structured (about 20% in databases and website log files) and unstructured (about 80% including video and photos) and make little or no use of it. The collection of data is relatively a passive pursuit and only becomes valuable once they are actively cleaned, analyzed, and made actionable (e.g., leveraging for targeting ads or content).

4. Revenue making with big data

Understanding your audience pays off. And once you understand your audience, you can use technology to provide them tailored content and more sophisticated and exacting offers. This will drive audience growth and engagement, making retention easier and more lucrative.

Advertisers are seeking metrics from digital publishers to prove the size and scope of the audience that they are paying for on digital media.

Industry leaders from around the world confirm the potential for revenue making with Big Data:

“Data capabilities help you get more granular with your audience, commanding higher CPMs”
—Stéphane Père, Chief Data Scientist at the Economist Group

Alyson Papalia, VP, Digital Advertising Strategy & Operations at Forbes confirms, “Advertisers love data. The more reports we send the happier they are. This is a real success point.”

5. Join the data revolution

Data-first has become synonymous with customer-first strategies. Why?

Because research shows by understanding the audience deeply, serving content, advertising, and services to them based on these insights, customers becomes more loyal and will visit your site more often and for longer periods of time.

In the next few years, we’re going to see more digital publishers get on board the fast train to a data revolution, and usher in a new age of audience engagement.

Download the report to see how you can get on board too.

Viafoura empowers digital publishers to convert audience data into actionable insights and revenue. Connect with an Audience Development Strategist today to learn how you can get in the fast lane.