Data and the Customer Journey: How to Monetize Your Audience

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Social Media Week London sat down with Future plc’s CEO Zillah-Byng Thorne, who discussed data and the customer journey.

As a recipient of the Online Media Consumer Brand Award, PC Gamer has over 9 million monthly visitors, 690 million page views in 2015, and a social reach of over 12 million in 2016. In 2009, however, it was a different situation.

They started off as a print magazine with an extraordinary limited reach, almost on the verge of closing down. Through the use of data, however, they were able to write a new chapter in their story.

Below are some takeaways from the session. To watch the entire talk, plus access more than 100 hours of other SMW events and presentations, sign up for SMW Insider.

1. Data grows product

“Our audience wanted live engagement, video streaming and events they could be present and have a voice at,” says Thorne. This lead to the launch of the PC Gaming show in 2015, a major gaming event in the US.

Not only did this allow them to respond to their consumers, but it also allowed them to learn even more about their audience. “By offering live and interactive content, we were able to capture audience data to retarget our consumers with our brands through our other platforms and sites,” explains Thorne.

It’s clear one major element allowed PG gamer to extend their brand by feeding their product strategy — and that’s data.

2. Data nurtures community

“We speak to our audience in different ways and aim to share meaningful content that is relevant socially,” says Thorne. “It’s important to make sure that your audience gets access to content that they actually want to click on.”

Through analyzing the comments, PC Gamer discovers what content is working well and at what times. “It’s our drive to provide quality content. We’re constantly growing our community and want to offer content that connects our audience with the expertise they love.”

Think about what type of posts you share, when you share it, and how others respond. Use the insight you get from data to formulate a unique strategy that helps you build your brand and grow your audience.

3. Data assists in monetization

“We’ve seen a shift into e-commerce and industry wide publishers are beginning to notice it,” says Thorne.

“What was our customer doing on our site? How can we make their journey truly optimal? Purchasing is the natural end of the consumer journey. If they want to review content or see hardware, the next thing they’re going to want to do is buy it.”

As a response to this, “Hawk” was introduced as PC Gamer’s e-commerce widget and quickly achieved superior results.

Through the use of data, PC gamer was able to go from being a small specialist player to arguably one of the most influential gaming sites in the globe. How can you use data to help grow your brand?

Sign up for SMW Insider, our premium video platform that provides you with access to the latest trends, insights and best practices from leading experts, brands, agencies, publishers, and platforms.

Mahin Rahaman

Talent Acquisition, PR, and Marketing Intern, Omnicom Health Group


Mahin Rahaman is currently a student at NYU studying Media, Culture, and Communications. She is currently a PR & Talent Acquisition Intern at the Omnicom Health Group and a Freelance Journalist and Copywriter for various publications. She also holds the position as Vice President of Chapter Development for NYU Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) and Vice President of Marketing for the NYU Commuter Student council. When she's not analyzing her peers' consumer habits, you can find her binge watching Netflix and obsessively planning out her entire future.

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