Guardian overhauls user data, as first step in “digital-first” transformation

Guardian News & Media is overhauling the way it gathers and stores user data, as part of its “digital-first” transformation.


The move will bring together user data – currently from disparate sources such as apps, jobs, dating and subscriptions – into one system, from which GNM will build commercial and content products and services tailored to individuals across a growing number of digital platforms, including connected TV, mobile and online.

Creating a “single customer view” will help avoid duplication of marketing and communications with users, according to Andre McGarrigle, GNM customer insight and data strategy director.

The move follows the announcement that all of its business operations will switch to thinking “digital first” to reflect the changing media landscape.

McGarrigle adds: “Part of our digital-first strategy is moving to a ‘direct model’ and in order to facilitate that we need to treat user data properly to ensure that distribution [across platforms] is correct. What that means is tailored, targeted [communications of] subscriptions, timely content and more appropriate offers and services.”

It will also make compliance with the ePrivacy Directive – to be enforced in the UK next year – easier.

“Data security’s important. This initiative will help us to be more compliant. It’s much easier if it’s the one place where data is stored.
We’ve just recently modified our privacy policy laying out what we do in terms of data. The options are straightforward if people don’t want us to keep hold of their data and there’s a straightforward way to tell us to stop. That’s much easier to implement,” says McGarrigle.

As part of the data overhaul – which data and marketing services group Acxiom has been contracted to undertake – GNM will look at launching more cross-media offerings, as well as bolstering capabilities for communication through social media. Social media communications tools will sit alongside email and direct marketing.

“The tools with which we communicate are important, and the data strategy that sits around that,” said McGarrigle.

“The database is bespoke. The communications tools will be plugged in from providers in the market,” he adds.

This story first appeared on New Media Age. For more digital stories and analysis’ from NMA click here now

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here