The digital publishing environment has transformed into a business that requires authors and publishers to explore data capture tools to stay relevant. Kevin Petrie, Dan Potter, and Itamar Ankorion, authors of the free e-book Streaming Change Data Capture: A Foundation for Modern Date Architectures found on Qlik write:
Data is creating massive waves of change and giving rise to a new data-driven economy that is only beginning. Organizations in all industries are changing their business models to monetize data, understanding that doing so is critical to competition and even survival.
A good bit of the data analysis explored in this text focuses on big businesses, such as Ford or Fanatics. But digital publishing is a business in and of itself.
The data collected by big business matters for the small business entrepreneur as well; they need the same information to intelligently navigate the field. Although curated analyses such as these are difficult to access for the average Joe, one could take a single Google search and transform it into usable data easily.
The content authors release should fill spaces that are most likely to host the author’s target audience; whether the author writes textbooks on Medieval literature or high fantasy fiction novels, each topic requires its own audience.
The audience’s age, profession, education, and interests form the foundations of publishers’ data analysis. All of these factors contribute to what each reader wants and where they will retrieve the content from. An academic audience might be less likely to search for textbooks for an e-reader but would rather search on Chegg Books, whereas high fantasy seekers might search Amazon or Barnes and Noble for these novels.
Keep in mind that publishing for specific e-readers (like the Kindle) isn’t smart either, though, seeing as “sales of e-reader devices are falling rapidly.” However, Amazon provides a free Kindle app for smartphones, and according to Derek Haines people are using their cell phones to read e-books more than ever. While e-reader sales decline, e-books continue to rise in popularity for this reason. Amazon’s e-reader might not be declining, but their free app is readily available for the few who might loyally continue using the device.
The Methods of Data Collection
Most publishing services provide a dashboard for screening published material’s visitors. Adobe’s Audience Manager also offers a popular data management service. Otherwise, a tracking pixel, or a graphic that tracks user behavior and other information, can be activated on the publisher’s website to gather this sort of data. Facebook also provides a way to create a pixel to add to the publisher’s website.
Minute details such as how the audience will read their e-books are important factors of data analysis. Given these findings, the author must consider font, type size, and other features that they otherwise would not have because their audience is more likely to be reading on a smartphone.
Uses for Data in Digital Publishing
In an interview between the head of Global Automated Monetization at Watson Advertising and eMarketer’s Ross Benes, they discussed how “few publishers have created new revenue lines out of their data, even though the digital publishing industry is struggling during a time when data is alleged to be the new oil” Rather than just selling the information to publisher’s advertising clients, as many already do, it should be used to strengthen their own business
SailThru provides guidance on how to use the 1st party data that comes from the audience to create a better publishing business.
- Develop ownership of an audience
- Personalize content that people will pay for
- Sell a better audience to advertisers
- Use a subscription model
All of these ideas can be implemented at the self-publishing level and higher.
The collection of data is also beneficial for the consumer because the content they will receive will be more tailored to their interests. Consuming this content will be more worthwhile, worthy of precious time and money: both publisher and consumer benefit from this collection of data.
Proceeding with Data Incorporation
With Facebook’s recent data breach breaking headlines, it is in the user’s best interest to carefully vet the institutions privy to the collected materials. Along the lines of best practices, usually, publishers decide what to do with the data they receive from their audience.
They can easily put the information out onto the internet for any advertiser to purchase, but they should be selective with who the information is shared with and who it is purchased by so that the audience does not end up finding out that their information was spread on the internet and feel betrayed.
With these best practices and publishers can make data analysis into an incredible tool for identifying the biggest source of income. People want to feel like their money is serving them well, and investing it into a business that prioritizes things that interest them will make people feel better about spending their money on the publisher’s product and content.