Adwords Now Promotes Tele-Measurability

Google has just launched a new Adwords feature that offers lots of useful applications for online marketers. It’s so slick, I am a little surprised it hasn’t received more press. Read more here.

DataContent Has Transformed into a Brand New Turbo-Charged Event: #BIMS14

BIMS Banner

Plans are now underway for DataContent 2014, and it will be like no other event you’ve attended previously. That’s because DataContent is now part of a brand new turbo-charged event, the Business Information & Media Summit (BIMS), to be held November 10-12, 2014 in Miami.

The Summit combines DataContent with two other key events: SIPA Marketing Conference and ABM Executive Forum — to expand networking and learning for you — and your team! In total, we will have 5 tracks. Here are the top five things you will learn at the DataContent sessions:

  1. monetizing the Internet-of-Things
  2. rising to the global data challenge
  3. making money, making markets
  4. powering data with analytics
  5. exploiting open data and API’s… and much more!

You’ll also meet and mingle with this year’s Models of Excellence winners. Singled out by InfoCommerce Group for being the best role models in the industry, they’ll provide pre-mainstream insights you can use to keep your content and business model ahead of the curve.

While DataContent will immerse you in all things data, you can also pick and choose sessions from the additional conference tracks with more than 45 additional sessions. But most important of all, you will be amongst the largest annual gathering of business information and media professionals.

Check out our complete schedule of pre-cons, sessions and networking opportunities; and register using code MIAMI to save via our pre-registration / Early Bird discount of $400! Stay up-to-date with the conversation on Twitter by following the event at #BIMS14.

For sponsorship opportunities, please contact Heather Cejovic today at 212.784.6363, or via email at

Financial sector finds that with velocity comes dollars

Asked at the end of DataContent 2013 what he saw as the themes, Russell Perkins, head of InfoCommerce, answered speed and velocity—not only the “push on getting out only top quality information but doing it faster than ever. We knew it was like that in financial but to hear it on all different verticals [is a change].”

In the session Driving Dollars With Data, we saw that the financial sector is not taking the newfound speed of other verticals lying down. In fact, they’re speeding up. “You have to be at least as fast as the other guys,” said Peter Lankford, president of Technology Business Development Corp. “[You have to go] from exchange into trading applications in microseconds or less now.”

Lankford, Mark Alvarez, senior director of reference data structure for Interactive Data Corp., and Adrian Dickson, VP of content for qbeats—all former colleagues at Reuters—discussed the revved up financial data world and all its parameters. They described a market where robots trade with robots because the information travels so fast, and making pennies on a trade may be okay because of the sheer volume.

Ten years ago, Lankford said, it was all about information and analytics for the trader. Today, the keys have become low-latency data, that everything be machine readable, ultra-granular historical data, exchanges (feeds, co-location), and software to support all these. The losers are consolidated vendor datafeeds and traditional display apps. Lastly, Lankford put up this quote from William Gibson: “The future is here. It’s just not evenly distributed.”

Alvarez said that the impact of globalization on capital markets is putting pressure on profit margins. Because markets have localized, things are getting more complicated, be it multiple currencies or multi-assets. “Everyone in the industry is having to embrace their inner statistician,” he said  The answer is to impose structure on data.

“Coupling the data content with structure and meta data is vital. You want to use and reuse content.” Also, support for standard interfaces and applications is not optional. All the information is real-time now, Alvarez said; some of it just updates a little more frequently. And data suppliers must shift to supporting a broader array of distribution and delivery, requiring significant investment in infrastructure and capability.

Dickson described qbeats’ model to the group. It’s basically a pay-per-view business of content that they aggregate from willing providers. The original publishers get 70% and qbeats gets 30%. “The prices on our stories will be put next to the headlines,” he said. “The financial services audience is already accustomed to paying for information; we think we understand the needs of our customers.”

qbeats wants to find out the value of one individual piece of content. If something is hot, they figure the price will go up. “We’re the EzPass of the information industry,” Dickson said only half-joking. “You start with a credit of $25.” He said that publishers will be able to embed their logo on the web version of where the article is used. “We also think we have a real opportunity with the blogging community.”

Said moderator Gerry Mintz of Percepta Partners: “I think we’ll walk away from this session with a recognition of how an ignored segment or market, by moving to real-time, may find an extraordinary opportunity. These are technology-driven changes that will happen whether traditional publishers take them or not.”

Ronn LevineRonn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 as managing editor. Follow Ronn on Twitter at @SIPAOnline


Discovering the Value and Uses of Big Data at Measuring the Unmeasured Session at DataContent 2013

Guest post by: Jon Cooper

In the Measuring the Unmeasured session, attendees of DataContent 2013 got to spend some time with companies built around gathering and exploiting data in areas largely overlooked by quantitative analysis, where assumptions were tolerated in the absence of information and where big data could suddenly illuminate the reality of consumer behavior.

Like a surprising number of presenters at DataContent 2013, Stella Service, a massive mystery shopping organization for online shopping sites, began life providing critical information to consumers only to eventually retool it’s model to provide that information where its value could be fully realized. According to John Ernsberger, Co-founder of Stella Service, the Stella Metrics division makes data relating to 3,500 of the largest retailers available to the operations themselves. Now ecommerce companies can access real performance data pertaining to service levels – for example, how long do refunds take – and how they stack up against their competitors.

Similarly John Lawler, Buyers Lab CEO, explained that by starting with the consumer business, Buyers Lab developed its brand, achieved critical mass and credibility, and mastered the consumer’s buying process. Now they help companies like Canon, Rico, Lexmark and Minolta improve product development when they access industry-wide product quality data developed around the buying process. Buyers Lab was focused on the right sector: this voracious need for product quality data in the global digital imaging marketplace – scanners and printers, mostly – was driven by the high level of competitiveness in the imaging market with a constant stream of new features and products.

And in two perfect examples of consumer venues that have always operated in a data vacuum, John Crimmins of RetailNext, and Mark Piening, CEO of Circle Media, described how their companies put technology and data gathering together to illuminate consumer behavior in brick and mortar stores, and to identify who, in fact, is actually attending the events that sponsors sponsor. Retailnext is using heat maps overlayed onto floor maps of Victoria Secrets and other large retailers to measure internal movement related to shopping behavior combined with POS and conversion data. And Circle Media merges ticketing purchases and social signal to connect the data related to what fans like. Advertisers want to target their spend toward a desired demographic, and now they don’t have to make assumptions about who is filling up the stadium at a large event.

The common thread? Previously unmeasured data sets, yes, but more importantly, these companies look at data differently, bringing intelligence and context as an added value to what would otherwise be just an interesting file.

  • The Recoding of the session is available here.


Jon Cooper is a digital marketing strategist for ecommerce and subscriber acquisition, with extensive experience in high volume programs involving mobile, search, RTB and premium ad networks, for retailers and premium content distribution.

DataContent 2013 Data For Good Session Highlights

Guest post by: Jon Cooper

DataContent 2013 featured a fascinating look at two companies operating in neo-finance – student scholarships and small business loans – who make the case that their niche has huge potential that can only be tapped with the aid of the current generation of high-speed data systems and analytics. And perhaps even cooler, these businesses – the apt named Scholly, and OnDeck, the direct lender to “main street” businesses – started up as data business models with social benefits for targeted communities and may ultimately have a serendipitously positive effect on wider economies.

  Scholly was founded by Christopher Gray, a current student at Temple University in Philadelphia, out of a desire to help struggling potential scholars connect with the tuition help that is waiting to be discovered. Using an algorithm to match student attributes to available sources, Scholly attempts to present students with relevant options that come with a high probability of a mutual fit. The credibility of this service, and its rapid growth, can be attributed to the developer’s own credibility as the Million Dollar Scholar. You see, Gray managed to locate over a million dollars worth of scholarship money for his own tuition needs. Good enough!

  What makes OnDeck Capital transformational is the speed and convenience with which it processes loan applications. COO James Hobson explained that over 50% of small businesses were getting no capital at all, and only 13% were getting fully funded. By adding a customer service layer to a data backbone that allowed for funding as fast as 24 hours, OnDeck has so far loaned $600 million to small businesses with an average loan size of around $35,000. Quickly evaluating the amount that can be responsibly loaned goes beyond the traditional business credit report. OnDeck combines credit data with payroll data, social data and what’s going on around the business to unlock transparency into the business. The more data sources that can be aggregated, the better the decision, and fast data processing makes it feasible to achieve fast answers.
Ultimately OnDeck will sell its service as a platform to banks and community lenders to scale even faster, while Scholly leverages the almost-free app economy to achieve wide coverage among students – and perhaps in the process may find that they are essential ingredients to healing what ails modern economies paralyzed by too much unstructured data.

  • The recording of the session is available here.
  • The slides of the presentation are available here.


Jon Cooper is a digital marketing strategist for ecommerce and subscriber acquisition, with extensive experience in high volume programs involving mobile, search, RTB and premium ad networks, for retailers and premium content distribution.

Top Takeaways From 2013 Models of Excellence Honorees at DataContent 2013

Guest post by: Jon Cooper

The InfoCommerce Models of Excellence Program continues to identify data and content companies poised for success. This year, attendees at DataContent 2013 listened as four companies discussed the vision behind their products, and shared some valuable insights. Some of the takeaways from this session were reiterated elsewhere during the conference, and taken together they help set the bar for successful data companies competing for attention and customers right now:

  1. Make big data accessible with modern tools like browser plugins and APIs to existing SAAS platforms. This brings context into the data and enables natural workflows.
  2. Use the trend reporting derived from the data to publicize the DB. This low cost marketing strategy is a matter of flipping corporate PR around so that instead of pitching the product or the database, newsworthy cultural or business trends within the data are surfaced for reporters.
  3. Bring more context to the data, for example the ability to accurately correlate companies that are similar along multiple attributes into a cohort for comparison, instead of just grouping by industry sector or category.
  4. Use people to curate or validate scraped data. A re-emergent trend among data companies, especially those where a low level of inaccuracies can nonetheless seriously erode the value of the overall DB. 
  5. Focus not only on new business but also on on-boarding, usage and retention, meaning the overall customer experience. Build this concept into product features and proactive customer service.
  6. Pay attention to privacy and data sensitivity concerns. This is not only a matter of business ethics but over-zealous personal data gathering can sour important business relationships.
  7. And interestingly, where appropriate, move away from subscription towards pay for performance.
  • The recording of the session is available here.
  • The slides of the presentation are available here
Models of Excellence speakers: Alex Rosenberg, Director of New Products at FindTheCompany, David Chun, Founder & CEO of Equilar, Jeremy Bronfman CEO of Enigma and Rob Heiser,President of Segmint

The InfoCommerce Group team interviewed some of this year’s Models of Excellence honorees. Recordings of the interviews are now available:

 Jon Cooper is a digital marketing strategist for ecommerce and subscriber acquisition, with extensive experience in high volume programs involving mobile, search, RTB and premium ad networks, for retailers and premium content distribution.

DataContent 2013 Bootcamp: Marketing Subscription Data Services

Guest post by Brad Mehl, Consultant

This year’s Data Content conference kicked off with a boot camp on marketing for subscription data services.  Let’s face it, while there’s been a lot of innovation in data-driven products, the industry information is not known for its marketing prowess.   Yet, as presenters Minal Bopaiah and Russell Perkins pointed out, there are best practices in marketing that quantitatively can make a big difference, particularly in e-commerce and lead generation.   (E-commerce has more potential at lower price points below $1500 but for straightforward offerings with a clear value proposition it’s even worked at prices up to $6000).

The Bootcamp focused on what works during different phases of digital marketing — discovery, engagement and retention.   In the discussion on discovery, I was surprised to hear that only 23% of subscription sites are optimized for SEO – particularly since there are so many resources available on that topic.  One good point mentioned is the long tail benefit that comes from letting search engines index partial listings from a paid database.  You don’t have to give away the farm for free but you should make sure enough of your content is open to the search engines to make sure it’s sufficiently indexed.  Yet, only the minority of data publishers do so.

In terms of paid search engine marketing (SEM), publishers should understand that one main goal of SEM is to augment efforts of SEO – not necessarily to achieve direct conversions for e-commerce transactions of data products.  Here are some other tips shared during the session:

  • Twitter:   volume and frequency matter since tweets have a <90 day lifespan (though sometimes I wonder if they have a 90 second lifespan).  Don’t automate tweets; add value and have something original to say.
  • Email:   Establish frequency caps and watch them carefully — segment lists to not overwhelm users with email.  It’s all about targeting.  Avoid the global opt-out trap—users can unsubscribe user from ALL of your content.   Be careful and have policies around this, e.g. make opt-outs are for a very specific offering.   Many publishers have preference centers where users can dial down the frequency of emails.
  • Public Relations is an often overlooked channel and publishers  have great fodder for PR with the statistics they have on hand.
  • Mobile marketing:  the potential varies widely by vertical industry — don’t generalize and assume that overall mobile usage applies to the penetration of mobile in your specific market.

From all channels, make sure your landing pages are targeted and very relevant.  Here’s an example shared in the Marketing Bootcamp:

Marketing Bootcamp

The discussion on engagement focused on four desired outcomes:  soft lead (registration for content), hard lead (expressed interest in product), free or paid trial, and paid subscriptions.

During trials most publishers limit the data available, exports, functionality etc.   A trial prefaced by a walk through demo with a sales rep can be much more powerful if appropriate (based on price and product complexity) .  Even with free trial always ask for a credit card upfront.

On the subject of retention, there was a great line from Russell:   “UX is much more than nice colors and graphics.  It drives revenue.”   He also pointed out that to reduce charge backs, make sure the service paid for by users is the one put on the credit card invoice.  Product recognition lowers charge backs.

Hopefully these tips have wet your appetite to revisit your marketing operations.   Marketing innovation in B2B has historically lagged behind B2C.   But the tools on the market now, particularly in marketing automation and conversion optimization, make it easier for B2B marketers to spend more time conceiving innovative programs and less time on manual processes.

If you’re hungry for more, check out, a premium membership service for paid content executives, as well as InfoCommerce Group’s daily blog, Subscription Site Central.


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