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Big Data Delivers Best Bang for the Buck for Advertisers

If Peter Drucker is right, the purpose of a business is to create new customers. Big data is giving the publishing business a great leg up doing just this.

Advertisers are always looking for the best bang for the buck – and now online publishers are looking to serve up well-targeted, high-value customers, microsegmented to provide great returns to advertisers.

Financial Times, for instance, runs a Deep View service that matches an advertiser with exactly the right set of readers on The better FT can segment, the more responsive are the readers, the greater the yield, and the more FT can charge.

FT’s treasure trove of data comprises the five million registered readers in its system. Each provides data when they register, more when they subscribe – and constantly as they click around articles and ads, lingering here or going deep there.

“Data gold dust for marketers,” Rob Grimshaw, FT’s managing director said. helps advertisers convert that gold dust to bullion. Using the analytics tools FT gives them, advertisers can see for themselves the response of particular customer microsegments to their ads – by creative type, or time of day, or to particular units and messages.

With that, advertisers can fine tune messaging, re-segment, and customize content mid-campaign – or even match ad content to relevant news stories on real-time using “semantic profiling”.

All this pays off. In a recent reporting period, for example, digital and services accounted for 50 percent of FT Group revenues and content revenues accounted for 61 percent. In my next post, I’ll take a deeper dive into how big data – and mobile devices – are making marketing more personal than ever before.

About the author
Zachary Tumin
Zachary Tumin
Special Assistant to the Director and Faculty Chair, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University

Zach manages the Belfer Center’s project in Information and Communications Technology and directs the Harvard component of a joint Harvard-MIT initiative in cyber security. Zach’s research focuses on the strategic management of collabo... Read More >>>

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