Not pictured: Tara Slesar
Big data doesn’t have
to equal big problems. Here’s how to use big data to drive your association’s content
and publishing decisions.
By Rick Anderson, Elizabeth
Skipper, and Tara Slesar
here thinks data sucks?" asked Sondra Hadden and Joe Colangelo at the beginning
of their presentation at the September 16, 2014, Association Media &
Publishing Lunch & Learn. While a few participants may have shown some
trepidation toward working with data, that soon melted away as Hadden and Colangelo
enthusiastically launched into sharing their experiences and offering suggestions
on ways associations could use data to drive decisions. Sondra Hadden is senior
digital strategy specialist at the American Chemical Society, and Joe Colangelo
is CEO of Bear Analytics.
are the biggest data source in associations, and membership is often driven by
the publications. An organization can learn a great deal from publication data.
How are members digesting the content? Are they sharing? How do they
should think of data as currency. For example, non-members can be asked to
exchange their email for access to content behind the member wall. User
preferences can be curated and that information used to help drive the user’s
purchasing decisions. Most helpful for the organization is to aggregate data into
a single spreadsheet. Data can always be used to make a case in a decision-making
what do we look at? Transactions in publishing can range from opens and clicks
to swipes or even eyeball scans. There are many ways key performance indicators
(KPIs) can be measured, and the return on investment is not the same for each
association. For some associations, conversions to revenue or membership are
the most important, while others may be more interested in traffic through a
site or the reach (e.g., retweets, shares) of digital content.
presenters shared many different tools that can gather and organize data in
ways to help drive content and publishing decisions. Google Analytics, Google
Tag Manager, Hootsuite, Qzzr, and Kapost were but a few that were mentioned.
closing, Hadden and Colangelo shared some tips when dealing with data. First, start
today — pick something and do it! It will never be the "perfect time," so do something
now, they urged. Second, celebrate the wins. Change is incremental. There are
also different meanings to what constitutes a "win"; learning what doesn’t work
can sometimes be as useful as finding out what does work. Finally, do not fear the
findings — it is rarely the worst-case scenario.
Rick Anderson, Elizabeth Skipper,
and Tara Slesar
are all journal editors at
the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Association Media &
Publishing sincerely thanks them for covering this event for our members who
were unable to attend.