We all collect consumer data and monitor social media metrics, but few of us know how or are capable of turning those numbers into real-life actions. Here, Meg Estevez, group director for Audience Development and NewBay Media and noted speaker at FOLIO:’s MediaNext event, October 28-30 in New York, explains the types of data she collects and how she turns that information into an executable strategy for marketing content.
FOLIO: How important has the collection of engagement data become for your brands and why?
Meg Estevez: The collection of data has become very important for all of my brands because we felt we weren’t getting the big picture of who our audience is and how and where they were interacting with our brands.
There were brands that I managed that had, for example, a LinkedIn group and they had 6,000 people in the group, so that was an eye opener. We decided to put everything in one report for each brand. After meeting with the publishers to go over goals, we presented this report to them, giving them a big picture. It turned into a monthly report for the circulation department. From there, we were able to realize how important it is. We’ve been collecting all this data, but we weren’t sharing it. We weren’t really talking to people that needed to see these numbers in order to figure out what we needed to do.
FOLIO: What makes data actionable and how do you go about converting the data you collect for those executable reports?
Estevez: Once we started to see our website, newsletter, and social media numbers in one report for the entire year, we noticed that we had some brands where the social media numbers were high while others were not so great. So, we decided to test a social media content-based marketing strategy for two of my brands where we do four content-based posts and tweets and one subscription or newsletter related offer. Since December 2012 when we started the test, we’ve seen the Facebook “likes” increase by 57 percent and our Twitter followers by 60 percent. We are now in the process of incorporating social media into our content marketing mix for all of our brands starting in 2014.
Apart from the website, newsletter and social media numbers, we started collecting and analyzing the level of engagement of our digital subscribers. These reports have helped to show that our online readers are engaged with the digital editions because we can show that they are not just reading or flipping through the first five to 10 pages and losing interest. They are actually reading and experiencing the entire magazine. We show this by collecting the data of the time spent by page by issue. Once we have this type of data, we can share it with the publisher and inform advertisers of how readers are engaging with the digital edition. Plus, we are able to pull this type of data by platform, as well, so we can see how our Web-based, iPad, iPhone and other tablet and smartphone users are reading our issues.
Another piece of data turned actionable was information on what platforms our target audience was using to open our email campaigns. Our Christmas campaign last year had a really good offer for our consumer titles and the response wasn’t as we had expected. As we analyzed the conventional data points—lists, email creative/copy, subject lines, and time of deployment—we were also able to get insightful information from our fulfillment company on the platform being used to open these emails. Many of them were being opened via a smart device. However, the page had not been set up to be user-friendly for these devices and we noticed that although we had a high number of clicks on the email offer, we had a very high number of people abandoning the page without subscribing. This year we are making sure our pages are smart device friendly.
FOLIO: What are the next steps in your data collection strategies? Where are you putting your focus?
Estevez: We’re putting a lot of focus on taking the data we have about engagement and putting them into one monthly report. Right now we have little reports here and there and what we’re trying to do is get one big package report that every three months we analyze with the publisher. There is so much data that we collect that sometimes it seems too overwhelming. However, I think it’s important to share all the data with your team and discuss what the numbers mean and establish goals.