Julia Porter: Having it both ways â trusted brands and big data | DMA

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Julia Porter: Having it both ways â trusted brands and big data


DMA chair and The Guardian's Director of Consumer Revenues described her experiences with The Guardian, and how to use data but without paywalls.

She came to the stage at the DMA's data protection conference with a round of applause from delegates – she has just won the top spot in the DataIQ 100 of the most important people in the UK's data industry. Her work on The Guardian's data charter and DMA Code was central to this win.

“From [DMA Data Protection] last year, I remember one of the messages of ‘don’t piss people off’, which really drove the DMA Code. It was about making it data simpler, making it easier and not annoying people,” she said.

But there is a difficulty - “At The Guardian, without a paywall, we can’t get those revenues and advertising doesn’t get there. How do we make enough money to break even. We have been flaky about that, but we need to be more grown up about it,” she said.

“We need to find our audience, and built that relationship.

“Users who sign-up are the strongest advocates. They make up only 1% of users, but are 20 times more valuable than anonymous users,” she said.

Registered users have 571% more sessions per user, and 59% more pages per session. “We need to find more of those people. They are also most likely to promote The Guardian,” she said.

User research identified three main segments:

Data pragmatists – 53%. Those willing to exchange data for free services. They understand why you want my data, and might think about sharing it.

Data fundamentalists 31%. Fundamentally opposed to sharing, unless compelled.

Unconcerned 16% – they absolutely don’t care about data.

For the maximum possible reach, Porter decided that information on data had to be simple and clear in order to reach the pragmatists. “People hate complexity, hate ambiguity. Make it simple and they might be interested.

Porter said The Guardian has, “A golden thread from the very simple explanations down to the more detailed explanations for cookies and preferences and so on.”

Data came under three areas: choice and personalisation; data sharing; and safety. Sharing was the concern. Personalisation was only relevant after sign-up, and people only care about security if you mess up.

“My parting shot: transparency is a must,” she said.

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