More articles by Alex Withers
Optimization and Personalization: The Path to Unified Information Access
•How do we increase advertising revenue and streamline operations to save money?
• How do we improve digital interactivity, personalization, recommendations, and content optimization to increase traffic, engagement, loyalty, eCommerce sales and cross selling of brands?
• How do we use technology to differentiate ourselves and our content packaging from other digital content providers?
Technology solutions provide many answers, but also beg new questions, including:
• How can I consolidate my publishing operations into a single platform across the organization, not only for operational efficiency, but to better leverage all my content and data, and enable me to react quickly to hot topics and events?
• If I find such a platform, how can I possibly migrate all the different systems and my content archives without an incredibly time-consuming and expensive manual process?
• How can I actively interpret and mine all the information we have available in a meaningful way, in order to present a more relevant and enriched user experience for each individual across all channels, as well as reveal operational insights?
The primary goal of media companies is to drive engagement between content and audience. Increased engagement leads to more clicks, improved user satisfaction, incremental advertising inventory, content subscriptions and ongoing loyalty. In the media world, content is still “King,” but relevance is fast becoming “Queen!”
Delivering the right content to the right user at the right time drives engagement and business success. There is no approach available today that does this more dramatically, cost-effectively and efficiently than unified information access.
An advanced unified information access platform can aggregate and analyze all relevant information, regardless of source or format.
Following are 10 must-have requirements to ensure you select a unified information access platform that fully addresses today’s digital media needs.
A unified information access platform can and must:
• Seamlessly integrate disparate content and data sources (including databases, digital asset archives and user profile data) and content management systems.
• Provide a secure, high-performance data environment that scales incrementally as your requirements grow.
• Provide enhanced search with features like predictive type ahead and disambiguation (Did you mean Paris Hilton or the Hilton Hotel in Paris?), and guard against user frustration from getting null or inaccurate results. It must provide a personalized experience through optimizing content by audience segment and be able to analyze additional data as it is added or learned.
• Offer advanced content analytic capabilities, such as entity extraction, key phrases and sentiment analysis, at both the document and the entity level. For example, “I love the new iPad. The resolution is just amazing, but the battery life is too short” shows both positive and negative sentiment in the same statement, so entity level analysis is key for both social engagement and marketing insight.
• Analyze behavioral data such as purchase history, user activity and popularity to make relevant recommendations of additional content that might be of interest, as well as compare textual descriptions between content using metadata, topics, genres, concepts or entities – and combine them to produce compelling results. Recommendation options should include:
- If you like X, you’ll like Y (explicit – user rating system; implicit – user viewing history
- Users similar to you liked X (behavioral groups of users, beyond basic demographics, optimize member data)
- Users in your social network like X (Twitter/Facebook, location-based services)
- Show more like this (country, city, person, team, etc.)
• Enable creation of custom site sections and targeted microsites for every user in real time. It’s important to note that this isn’t about narrowing user experiences into filtered “personal homepages,” but instead creating infinite channel opportunities across infinite topics, utilizing all of your readers’ data and specific user queries, driving long tail content engagement.
Let’s say you have pre-built sections for major global regions, but due to a major event, a specific topic or country is dominating the news that isn’t on the front page — a reader could search, for example, “Italy” and immediately find a dedicated page with feature stories, videos, blogs, interactive maps, etc.
•Include easy-to-use business rules to support features such as letting the user choose to save their custom content page or setup alerts by registering on the site – driving immediate incremental CRM data and membership/subscriber upsell. Maybe dynamic microsites and research pages are offered only to paying readers.
• Support content spotlighting to highlight content for specific queries in the form of promotions. Examples include:
- Overriding organic search results with desired order of documents returned for a search query — such as promoting special features over single articles)
- Removing certain documents from search result lists – such as external articles or social blogs
- Displaying “Best Bets” set of links for a particular search query
- Displaying advertisements (image and text) for a particular search query
- Redirecting end users to different websites for a particular search query
• Support a range of languages as required to serve increasingly borderless digital landscapes (including tokenization and entity and noun-phrase extraction).
• Enable quick, accurate, affordable and flexible content migration from legacy and archive systems via automated extract, transformation and load (ETL) processes. Reduce the fear of innovation by unlocking all your content and information assets, unifying them in new, intelligent and active indexes.
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