How is your organisation using data and analytics to support the corporate vision and purpose?
LADbible Group was founded in 2012 as a single Facebook page, but has grown to become one of the world’s largest social publishers, reaching 75% of the UK and over 600 million unique people each month, by putting the audience, and information about its audience, at the centre of its content strategy.
Through robust data and analytics, LADbible Group is able to tap into the social zeitgeist at every minute of the day. This can be as basic as understanding who is watching our videos and when, to what will be popular to do next week during lockdown.
LADbible Group’s obsession with its audience, and thus the data and analytics tools that they rely on, helps the teams to delve deeper into their audience’s behaviours to ensure that they are ahead of the curve when it comes to content, technologies and trends. This strategy is reflected in every part of the business, starting with the collection and warehousing of proprietary performance and audience data. Then, the application of that data to ensure optimisation of content and campaigns which further drives and supports the corporate vision and purpose, and effectively LADbible Group’s wider impact on the media industry and society.
2020 was a year like no other - how did it impact on your planned activities and what unplanned ones did you have to introduce?
As LADbible Group’s content strategy is audience-led, our 2020 content plans did have tent-pole moments such as the European Football Championships that were sure to drive huge social conversation. However, each brand is, first and foremost, agile and able to adjust its strategy accordingly.
Data, analytics and social listening helped the editorial and content teams to react immediately and address audience concerns with regards to Covid-19, resulting in the launch of the "Cutting through" campaign, serving audiences with expert advice and information. It was later applauded by the World Health Organisation for covering the pandemic responsibly.
This appreciation of data and insights has enabled LADbible Group to enjoy incredible growth in a year that has rocked the media industry, including launching its own internal data, insights and planning team. The team, which I lead, has grown exponentially since its inception in July, and now includes data science, analytics, research and insights, media planning and buying and commercial strategy specialists. The team is already an essential part of the business and has enabled LADbible Group to work with and support more clients than ever, while navigating some of the biggest societal issues in history.
Looking forward to 2021, what are your expectations for data and analytics within your organisation?
We’re centralising all of our data, ensuring a single source of truth drives business decisions end-to-end. We’ll build and roll out datasets, supporting teams to illustrate the impact and power of digital media to audiences and clients. We’ll also be developing our own proprietary research, analytics and data science products as part of our client offering.
Finally, we’ll be at the forefront of data-driven targeting. With the ongoing changes in cookie regulations, we’re working with technology providers to continue to provide relevant, meaningful content to our audiences and impactful advertising for our clients in a GDPR-compliant way.
Is data for good part of your personal or business agenda for 2021? If so, what form will it take?
LADbible Group is renowned for its purpose-driven impactful campaigns. Success is due to an audience-led content strategy, and the use of data to underpin the approach. Topics covered so far include single use plastic (winning eight Cannes Lions award)], mental health (UOKM8? a franchise that continues to challenge attitudes towards mental health) and, most recently, the rules around blood donation. "Blood Without Bias" drove awareness and perception change, but also successfully lobbied the Government to change the law. These campaigns are the bedrock of LADbible Group’s consistent growth. 2021 will see our brands tackle more topics at a greater scale.
What has been your path to power?
I graduated from university with an arts degree and no idea what to do next! While working at a fashion brand, I realised I had a passion for numbers, patterns and insights after I was promoted to a strategic role focusing on pricing and optimisation.
Realising this could be a career, I joined IPG Mediabrands and I worked my way up to research manager across clients, including Unilever, focusing on quantitative research and analytics. I later joined my former client, nineMSN (Microsoft) as insights manager. I specialised in digital measurement, audience targeting and cross-media performance and worked on campaigns for cross-device, sequential messaging.
2014 was a gamechanger. I relocated to Germany from Australia and led the data and insights function for Volkswagen at MediaCom Berlin. I was responsible for insights, data and best practice across 32 markets, developing the global market segmentation programme.
Two years later, I joined MediaCom London and led the redevelopment of their media planning and buying system for over 6,000 media planners and buyers worldwide. I also set up the first digital performance team at Wunderman Thompson, made up of social, quantitative, qualitative, SEO and data visualisation specialists.
In mid-2020, I joined LADbible Group to set up the data, intelligence and planning team – I am excited for what’s to come.
What is the proudest achievement of your career to date?
I am incredibly proud of the work I have done and the teams I have set up since moving to the UK. Word of mouth, client trust and recognition of my ability to deliver ultimately resulted in Solly, CEO and founder of LADbible Group and Colin Gottlieb, CGO, contacting me directly to invite me to set up a team.
It was completely surreal, and I had to pinch myself! From a personal point of view, I am really proud of the colleagues that I’ve managed, mentored and supported to reach new goals. Being a mentor is one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had to date.
Tell us about a career goal or a purpose for your organisation that you are pursuing?
LADbible Group is enjoying tremendous growth and I aim to ensure the data, intelligence and planning team is fit for purpose and grows with the business. I want to centralise business decision-making, and ensure our systems are proactively identifying trends and opportunities.
Future plans are incredibly ambitious, but success relies on our ability to service clients via an always on approach, presenting a variety of solutions and opportunities as they arise. LADbible Group’s content is already driven by data, but, if communicated correctly, we can become the go-to within the industry for insights into digital and youth audiences.
How closely aligned to the business are data and analytics both within your own organisation and at an industry level? What helps to bring the two closer together?
LADbible Group is an audience-driven company, with all brands and content strategies being audience-led since inception. Prior to having a centralised data team, individual teams ran their own analysis on a regular basis to report on performance and optimisation, which means that the level of data understanding across the business had an already high baseline.
The centralisation of the data and analytics function means bringing together these separate datasets and reporting to a single source of truth – bringing alignment of data and analytics and business purpose far closer together than ever before. Centralisation means more efficiencies, better reporting, optimisation and a stronger aligned message to the market that incorporates all of our channels and platforms.
What is your view on how to develop a data culture in an organisation, building out data literacy and creating a data-first mindset?
Never underestimate the importance of how we communicate our work to stakeholders. A data-first mindset and building demand for insights starts with building curiosity and this can only be achieved if data is easy to digest, relatable and tangible. Too often we can get stuck in the nitty-gritty detail of our analysis when we could focus on landing the key message and presenting data in a fun and visual manner that captures audience attention and ultimately inspires them to find out more. I strongly believe in tailoring insights and outputs to the audience in question, so that they can take what they need from it.