As online user activity becomes increasingly recorded and commoditised, companies are finding ways to use this customer insight to drive not just marketing campaigns, but product content creation as well.
An unfair advantage?
On 1 February, an American political drama titled House of Cards premiered on Netflix, a subscription-based film and television show rental service offering media to subscribers via Internet streaming and US mail.
In outbidding more traditional US media networks (such as HBO and AMC) for House of Cards, Netflix gained its first opportunity to launch original programming. What is interesting is that Netflix’s top bid was driven by its own analysis of the streaming habits of its c.25 million user base, which led it to conclude that there was a significant audience for a political drama starring Kevin Spacey (the lead actor).
A useful toolkit…
However, companies do not need vast amounts of proprietary user data to take a data-driven approach to content. Other sources of data and useful tools include:
- Web-search data: Google Insights for Search reveals what people are searching for online, helping companies to identify what topics are popular, make comparisons and determine whether there is a need for specific content;
- Social media analytics: monitoring tools such as Sysomos, Radian6 and Brandwatch can provide detailed, automated research and insight into consumer opinion; and
- Company website: services such as Google Analytics and Facebook Insights allow companies to track website activity and see what existing content is performing wel.
Livingstone’s experience suggests that companies are growing more aware of the potential insight and value generated by data analytics, which can make the companies offering this capability highly sought-after. This was evident in the sale of Dataforce, a leading provider of integrated data-driven customer relationship management solutions, which attracted ten initial offers.
We also noted at the Technology for Marketing & Advertising Fair held in London earlier this year a growing range of data analytics offerings that can derive customer insight from the web and social media. As the use of data analytics technology becomes more widespread, new and innovative ways of enhancing value through data analytics are bound to become apparent. Only time will tell whether Netflix’s analysis has identified a concept that will retain their audience’s interest over the long term, but given House of Cards is currently its most-viewed programme, they may well be onto a winner.