Publisher strategy: your usage logs are more valuable than your content

As local information publishers – whether you are a dedicated review site, an online map provider, a yellow page directory, a directory assistance provider, a newspaper or a local search engine – you have a valuable asset in your content.  Users visit your site to find and access it.

But the information they can collect about how user’s interact with your content will be even more valuable.

First of all, the content itself is being rapidly commoditized.  Information wants to be free – and so it will be.  So over time users will migrate to the sites that do the best job of helping them find the information they actually want and need.  There are many factors that will influence this – including the quantity and quality of data and the quality of the user interface.  But utilizing knowledge about how users interact with the information – and being able to take in to account their needs and situation by analyzing this information – will be a key differentiator.  And whoever has the most users will get the most usage data.  And with more data they will be able to do a better job of serving their users.  It’s a virtuous circle.

And secondly, since this content is usually monetized with advertsing the ability to utilize this usage data to improve the relevance and performance of your advertising will be critical.  Perhaps the single most critical skill a publisher can have.

What it means: If you’re a publisher, make sure you maintain a healthy stream of your own traffic – and please, please, please make sure you’re tracking and recording all that valuable information.  And then, learn how to analyze and exploit it to improve the consumer experience and the advertising performance.

And think about this – if you’re syndicating your data how about negotiating for getting back the information on how it’s used?  The reaction of your syndication partner to this request might give you a pretty good indication on how valuable THEY think this data is.


1 Response to “Publisher strategy: your usage logs are more valuable than your content”

  1. 1 Selling recommendation data as a business model « Predicting What Consumers Want to Buy Trackback on May 21, 2009 at 11:18 pm

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