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Despite a tumultuous four years of being villainized by the oval office, the media and publishing industry is rising from the ashes like a phoenix.
Immediately after Trump won the presidency, there was a resurgence in audience readership and paid subscriptions. In the last year alone, research shows subscriptions for digital news and media have grown by three times.
The resilience of the media industry is critical as their core revenue source, advertising, diminishes at the hands of Google and Facebook, who make up over 60% of all digital advertising.
Still, publishers continue being proactive and finding new ways to generate revenue through paid products, while still fighting for advertising revenues despite the intense competition.
The changes in the social climate (and technology) means publishers need to go beyond reporting the demographics and number of site visitors that help them sell advertising to understanding how to convert those visitors into customers and keep them happy.
Successful acquisition and retention begin with anticipating customer behaviors through analytics that deliver insights into their actions and preferences.
One giant hurdle: customer journeys are complex.
Tracking customers across several different channels and analyzing multiple data sources to answer questions requires a higher level of behavioral analytics then the traditional web and customer analytics that publishers currently rely on to sell ads.
Every digital company understands the importance of delivering a personal and cohesive customer experience across every touchpoint, but few have been able to achieve a unified view of their customer journey. Why? Because it is mind-bogglingly difficult.
Customer journeys are like snowflakes: each one is unique. People interact with dozens of different channels like live chat, SMS, and social media while using multiple devices.
Understanding how and from where customers find you will help you focus your resources on leveraging those channels to attract similar users.
Your web analytics might tell you that most of your customers came from a Google search, tempting you to throw more advertising dollars into Google. But, this course of action could be a mistake. A customer journey is never a one-channel trip.
Knowing what happened before and after the Google search is the key to understanding your customers. Here are three scenarios to paint a clearer picture:
A Google search is involved in all three scenarios, yet it is never the only channel involved in the customer journey. All channels build off each other. When you have visibility beyond the referral traffic, you can identify the types of customers and journeys that deliver the most revenue.
All the data in the world is useless if it can't quickly answer your questions about the customer journey.
Publishers need to ask questions of their data as new situations arise. Since every customer journey is different, most SaaS-based prescribed analytics tools are incapable of delivering insights beyond their pre-packaged analyses.
If you're the New York Times and your main acquisition strategy is to give users a few free articles before putting up a paywall, you'll have several questions unique to your business:
There are dozens of questions like these that the New York Times is asking. The answers could help them save resources and pinpoint areas that would dramatically improve acquisition and retention.
But right now, the answers are elusive.
The current analytics tools that publishers use like Omniture and Adobe Analytics were designed for web and advertising channels.
But, understanding the entire customer journey to answer more in-depth questions requires much more data from social channels, customer service, CRM, POS systems, Hadoop clusters, and a myriad of other on-premise systems.
There are too many important customer touchpoints that publishers are missing right now, making it really hard for them to answer critical questions like:
Larger publishers with deep IT departments are trying to answer these questions by integrating all of their vendor tools with in-house analytics tools. This process, however, has proven to be expensive and ineffective.
Identifying and collecting the data needed to answer just one question can take weeks, and when one question is answered, it leads to more. Publishers need to evaluate the different touchpoints of the subscriber's journey and take action in seconds not weeks.
Let's say a New York Times print subscriber complained to customer service about missing a few weeks of delivery, while the same customer was also in a promotional trial for the digital subscription.
To keep this customer and sell the digital product, the NYT must identify and reconcile the offline issue quickly.
Customer journey analytics tools like Scuba run wherever the data sources live, including on-premise servers, which enables publishers to track and analyze their customer's behaviors across channels.
Publishers like the New York Times can gain visibility into revenue opportunities and anticipate potential problems like the unhappy customer.
Source: Duke University
Here's how customer journey analytics could help the New York Times retain and upsell their customer:
With the right customer insights, The New York Times could quickly connect the dots between the offline and online interactions and reach out to the customer to solve the issue, turning a potential loss into an upsell opportunity.
With strong analytics (like those we are building here at Scuba) publishers like the New York Times can become masters of the user experience seamlessly weaving their content into their customers' lives exactly when they need it.
Trying to get from point A to point B blindfolded is not only a struggle but also incredibly inefficient. There is an amazing freedom that comes when the blinders come off, and you can actually see what's going on.
You'll understand why people are coming to your site and what they want. You'll refocus your resources on making better content that captures more people's attention. You'll anticipate your customers' needs to offer more value and drive loyalty.
Customer journey analytics can provide the visibility and understanding, but it's up to you to turn those insights into actions that will drive your business forward.
Are you ready to take the wheel? Learn how Scuba can help you better understand your customer journey.
Tony Ayaz | CEO28-01-2021
I am excited to be part of an amazing company with proven technology that is redefining what “analytics” really means to business users. Scuba Analytics was founded by a team from Facebook responsible for building behavioral analytics for the ...
“I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.” - Abraham Maslow
Working in tech, especially in product and product analytics, is an exciting place to be. People are always learning, sharing, and developing better perspectives on how to build and analyze products.