I was recently lucky enough to be able to present at last weeks AOP (Association of Online Publishers) meeting on Driving Revenue through Data . The subject matter of the presentation concerned work we have been doing with the Financial Times. Essentially the work we presented involved taking page tag data from the website and using it to drive customer insight models. This is critical to a business like the FT where they are building a loyal subscriber base. CRM in an online world is not new, we’ve been working at it since 2004. When the online site behaviour data is used appropriately it gives a good performance boost to any model at home in a campaign management system.
When considering online behaviour, the Cookie has been the preferred method of joining onsite page views into online behaviour. However, the persistence of the cookie has always been finite and the lifespan of a cookie seems to be on a downward trend if consumer responses in a recent TNS reports are to be believed. I’ve always recommended that publishing websites make use of a registration process wherever possible. The registration barrier doesn’t necessarily have to be raised before you read an article, although from an analysts perspective that is the ideal. One can be more clever in how you introduce a registration process, for example it can be introduced to gain access to value added services like Fantasy Football or forums. The objective though is to get a user_id into the page tag data on a frequent enough basis to be able to link the string of seemingly independent cookies together to represent a user’s medium term behaviour patterns together.
During the discussion session at the AOP event, the iPad/iPhone App was mentioned as a novel and potentially game changing method to deliver media, and having seen demonstrations on how publishers could create media rich versions of the good old fashioned magazine its hard not to disagree. However, discussing the iPad and iPhone technological aspects with colleagues and investigating on the web at Web Analytics Demystified, I’ve a big problem with the current Apple set-up. The problem is that page tracking on Apple Apps is not currently allowed. As someone who earns a living working with such data, cutting out this stream of data is not good, and I would argue for the publisher the situation is no better. Either Apple will charge a premium to access this insight or you the supplier of the content will never get to understand how your readers will use your product.
That Apple you covet so much may look tempting, but just remember what happened to Adam & Eve.