- The data you have is always the best data. Learning to understand, enrich, and leverage it is how companies will succeed in 2023 and beyond.
- Empowered by regulation and education, consumers are increasingly cognizant of their privacy rights, even as individuals and companies rely more heavily on data. Ethical and transparent practices will continue to grow in importance.
- The entertainment business remains relatively old-fashioned but is seeking to understand audience behavior in ways that enable better monetization and loyalty.
- Learn more by signing up for the Data Data Data exhibit floor tour at NAB Show in Las Vegas, April 16-18.
Bryndan Moore, host of The Black Futurist podcast, recently interviewed Arisha Smith about how data and analytics are reshaping the media landscape and how entertainment companies are playing catch-up.
Moore and Smith also preview the Data Data Data tour at this April’s NAB Show, which Moore will guide. Smith will also speak on the same subject for a panel in the Create track.
Stick to the Basics
With all the recent fuss over data’s importance, you might be surprised to learn that Smith thinks it hasn’t really changed all that much in the past decade. Methodologies may be different, but the core principles remain.
“You would be surprised,” Smith says. “At the end of the day, all platforms are pretty much just leveraging the information they have. And it really comes down to — which is crazy — email addresses, most of the time, because that is the first touchpoint or the only pixel or digital touchpoint they have.”
Yes, email addresses are still used to “tie together all of the insights and all the behavioral trends to know a little bit more about the people that they want to serve.”
Smith got her start working at a syndicated radio station. She recalls how the station leveraged its e-newsletter to gather information about audience behavior, listening to the audio or reading content on their website. Smith says omnichannel advertising has evolved out of these very same techniques.
“As long as you have one ‘unifier’ [data point]… there’s many pieces on which you can operate.” Flash forward to 2023, there’s a general understanding that companies need this information, but Smith notes that there’s still a knowledge gap when it comes to analytics and how to appropriately leverage scale to ensure growth and monetization. That’s where specialists can come in.
But there’s a bit of a catch. Media companies have long relied on third-party insights, reviewing Nielsen or Comscore metrics in their analysis.
Smith says you should actually be looking for “zero-party data,” essentially the “best, highest, richest, most qualified data” accessible when analyzing potential customers or current audience. “Start with the information you have. [It] is the richest, is the most informative.”
Use the email address to get additional demographic information, perhaps via a survey, and build out your data from there. First, she suggests to “learn more about… your best sellers or your best customers. Once you know more about them, once you know where you are, you’ll understand where you need to go.”
At this point, you may want to supplement with second- or third-party data, leveraging a brand that already has information on its customers to find connective tissue or “the synergies between our customers and your customers.”
Data and Privacy
Smith acknowledges that those on the consumer side may not always be comfortable with how much companies can learn about them via data aggregation and enrichment.
Not surprisingly, Smith sees ML and personalization as a net benefit to her and her family, creating efficiencies that are worth the trade off.
“But many people are conscientious about how their data is being utilized and their concerns about ownership of the data. And they’re also concerned about the monetization of their data,” Smith acknowledges.
To that end, she encourages individuals to invest time in reading privacy policies. She also says regulators are strict about the enforcement of data protection and ensuring that this information is shared in a way that everyone can understand.
Second, GDPR and CPA protections should also put consumers at ease, Smith says. In the US, individual states govern data policy, but the rules are generally the same.
If you’re still uncomfortable, Smith suggests you request to review your data from the platform or app. Companies are also required to delete your data if you request it. But the first step — finding out what they’re tracking — can be personally revealing, Smith says.
Once you download your data file, “you might find out something about yourself” after parsing the Excel spreadsheet.
Smith’s company, Streamlytics, also offers a “consumer facing platforms where people can upload their data file and view it in a easier in an easier to read way.” Hers is one of several tools to help consumers analyze their own data to make informed decisions about privacy.
“Use your best judgment,” Smith advises.
Cookie Depreciation and Other Challenges
Regulatory changes and privacy-driven consumers have come alongside the “depreciation” of internet cookies to challenge the effectiveness of modern campaigns, Smith acknowledges.
iOS 14’s data opt-out prompted companies to turn to omnichannel advertising campaigns, relying less on campaigns in which effectiveness could be measured by a click through rate to determine ROI.
Awareness is still a key goal for advertisers, but of course, revenue growth remains the ultimate goal, with data being able to connect the ad campaign through to an eventual purchase (at least based on some educated guesses).
“It’s a long game,” Smith says. “It’ll be interesting to see as the cookie depreciates what measurement] looks like moving forward.”
So, Who’s Doing This Well?
Consumer packaged goods companies are at the forefront of consumer analytics, functioning as data companies as much or more so than retailers. On the other hand, the entertainment industry “is looking to understand it.” The M&E cruise ship is still turning, Smith believes.
The pandemic and the closure of movie theatres prompted many companies to realize that they couldn’t rely on box office numbers, but instead had to interpret information from the streaming platforms.
New production houses are leading the data-centric changes, and, predictably, internet-native companies like Netflix and Amazon Prime are also ahead of the game in this space.
You can see it in content recommendations, as well as content acquisition strategies. Smith points out that neither necessarily has to take place in house, but it will require a level of investment in the technology and capital to be effective.
Explore Data at NAB Show
If you want an efficient way to learn about “intelligent” data’s impact on M&E, purchase the Data Data Data tour pass and reserve your preferred slot when you register for NAB Show.
This tour focuses on analytics, data and metadata management, from content creation to post-production management through distribution. There will also be an emphasis on AI and machine learning solutions.
Moore’s two-hour tours are scheduled Sunday through Tuesday, offering both morning and early afternoon starts.
Storytech has produced three different tour experiences for this year’s show.
Additionally, you can hear Arisha Smith speak as a panelist for the Data Data Data panel, part of the Create track, scheduled for Monday, April 17 at 3 p.m. (PT).
It’s time! Come celebrate the 2023 NAB Show’s 100th anniversary.
Registration is now open for the 2023 NAB Show, taking place April 15-19 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Marking NAB Show’s 100th anniversary, the convention will celebrate the event’s rich history and pivotal role in preparing content professionals to meet the challenges of the future.
NAB Show is THE preeminent event driving innovation and collaboration across the broadcast, media and entertainment industry. With an extensive global reach and hundreds of exhibitors representing major industry brands and leading-edge companies, NAB Show is the ultimate marketplace for solutions to transform digital storytelling and create superior audio and video experiences.
See what comes next! Technologies yet unknown. Products yet untouched. Tools yet untapped. Here the power of possibility collides with the people who can harness it: storytellers, magic makers, and you.