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.

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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

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