As part of our Collectif, in which we feature the work of our partners (see more here), the team from The Data Business look at some of the more everyday data challenges facing media companies, and the ways in which they can be fixed.

The media industry is bigger than it has ever been, with the rise of the internet and digital media seeing an explosion in the ways companies can reach audiences. This digital reach has also allowed for much greater insight into the behaviour of audiences.

No longer relying solely on cumbersome data collecting methods such as mail surveys, companies can now see how any given user interacts with their media, building a profile for them and enabling more granular and far-reaching analysis. 

Pair this with the fact that media consumption is at an all-time high, increasing by 20% since 2011, according to Recode, and one can begin to understand why it is more important than ever for media companies to be using their data to the full extent.

Ensuring the data you collect and store is free from common problems should be a priority for any media organisation, some of these key data issues are:

Data silos 

Data silos are always a threat to any database, where data can become isolated and inaccessible. This can be especially prevalent in the media industry, where vast amounts of data are generated at any time. For instance, your newsletter subscribers’ contact details may be gathered by a third-party tool and stored in a database separate from your analytics applications. The goal should be the unification of your data to create a well-rounded picture, free from gaps.

Data decay 

Data decay is a constant challenge, as people change professions, move countries, or change their names. The data relating to a given contact will ‘decay’ and decrease in value over time. Unfortunately, data decay presses onwards with the march of time, but there are measures you can take to keep your data fresh.

By and large, the best way to fight data decay is to regularly engage with your target audience and gather new data whenever possible. Likewise, any bought data needs to be from reputable sources who research contacts fresh on the day, as opposed to a mass data seller with an unmaintained list of contacts researched many years ago.

Having a data hygiene strategy is also key to any database governance, giving your data regular audits and assessing where the gaps are is vital to ensuring you are not wasting money storing and marketing to contacts who do not exist or are not part of your target audience. 

Standardisation of data

Standardisation of data is also a crucial area to address. Data in the media industry comes from numerous sources, from websites and apps to various distributors; these will all be generating reports in various formats with their own unique fields. Therefore, it is of great importance that this data is unified into a standard format so that you can see the big picture that all your media channels come together to form. 

Until the data has been standardised, it is much more difficult to perform meaningful analysis and compare your different media channels. Only once standardisation is achieved can the relative performance of these different channels be observed clearly. 

GDPR compliance 

GDPR compliance should be paramount when collecting and handling your audience’s data. This means ensuring the data you buy and gather is legally sound and of legitimate interest. The risk of fines for failure to comply goes without saying, but demonstrating and practising GDPR awareness also raises the relevancy and quality of contacts in your database, increasing the likelihood of a successful conversion. In addition, demonstratable GDPR compliance can help build trust in your brand, making new leads more likely to warm to an offer. 

Keeping your data in good health

Addressing these common data issues and maintaining the overall health of your database helps set you apart from the competition and increases the value of your data, saving your time and ensuring money is not wasted on irrelevant or non-existent contacts.

The media industry sees a constant stream of incoming information, with each publication, event or product release generating potentially massive spikes of new audience data to sift through. It can be easy to become inundated by such influxes of information, but the proper gathering and storing of such data helps you overcome this and extract more value.

Technology, and the way we use data, is evolving daily; tasks that would have taken a team of a dozen thirty years ago only need the click of a button today; embracing the changing landscape of data gathering and utilising the tools available is the key to staying on top in the media industry today.

For more information contact The Data Business here.