Meredith powers unified customer analytics across the enterprise

From People to Food + Wine, the publications of Meredith Corporation have a massive digital audience. Using Segment to centralize and access their customer data, Meredith has opened up unprecedented opportunities for growth.

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“Segment has enabled us to streamline the data capture process while maintaining flexibility to customize per brand as needed.”

— Grace Preyapongpisan, Vice President, Business Intelligence, Meredith Corporation

The Company

Meredith Corporation is a publicly-held media and marketing services company with more than 30 brands delivering print, digital, and video content on every topic from pop culture and food, to news and sports. For more than 115 years, Meredith has provided consumers with engaging content and marketers with a robust and diverse selection of channels for reaching consumers.

With more than 175 million unique monthly visitors in the U.S. alone, Meredith’s digital audience consumes tens of billions of articles, videos, social media posts, and emails each year. By creating and distributing content across their top consumer brands, such as People, Allrecipes, Sports Illustrated, Fortune, and others, this massive scale has cemented Meredith as a leading omnichannel media company.

The Challenge

Turn Meredith’s massive digital scale into a growth opportunity

With more than half of Americans consuming Meredith content every day, the Meredith team had the opportunity to understand readers’ needs and interests. However, it had previously taken a brand-driven approach to data collection, which resulted in dozens of unique data architectures and siloed data sets. No matter how skilled or successful individual brands were with their data, the walled-off tech stacks limited their ability to measure enterprise-wide trends and performance and made it difficult to understand cross-brand traffic and appeal.

Meredith knew it had a huge untapped opportunity to unify its data and build consistencies across its properties. The result would be powerful consumer insights that could be leveraged across brands to optimize targeting, guide product development, and inform growth decisions. What’s more, the cost and burden of supporting so many different approaches could be replaced with a single architecture that was more operationally and fiscally efficient.

Even though standardizing Meredith's data infrastructure across brands would enable untapped opportunities and usher in a new era of analytics and insights, it was a massive challenge to tackle. What’s more, the analytics team was tasked with finishing its data unification and standardization project in just six months in order to align with a parallel software migration project.

The Solution

Gather and centralize cross-brand data for easy distribution and analytics, and do it within a tight timeline

To accomplish such a comprehensive project across the distinct systems of nearly 30 brands in just 6 months seemed impossible. Searching for technical solutions to speed up the project, the Meredith team discovered that Segment provided a means to quickly accomplish its goals. Since Segment could gather data from across all of its digital properties and distribution channels, including video, over-the-top (OTT) streaming services, mobile apps, and more, it was the perfect choice for pulling together its many data sources.

Using Segment, Meredith could also centralize its consumer data, enabling its teams to collect and distribute data across the organization. That access and visibility would further enable downstream analytics tools to incorporate a wider consumer dataset to enable new cross-brand insights.

With Segment as the foundation, Meredith’s team put into place two core pillars upon which to build its new data strategy:

  • Create and enforce a new data capture standard across the organization.

  • Give every team instant access to data.

First, by standardizing how data for every user interaction with Meredith’s digital properties is collected, its internal teams could ensure data cardinality so that distinct users could be accurately tracked across properties. The standard would also ensure data was easily consumable and understandable by the various teams. For example, Meredith’s video data was previously tied to individual streaming channels, such as Roku and Apple TV.

Using Segment would allow Meredith to combine data from many channels and enable a comprehensive analysis by brand, topic, or other attributes. With the new data structure, it could run highly-accurate trend analyses and surface predictions that transcended the delivery channel.

“We were diligent about ensuring we were porting data to a centralized place in addition to making the data universally actionable for all teams,” said Kerry-Anne Doyle, Director of BI Audience Insights & Analytics at Meredith Corporation. “Sure, some of the event tracking we’re doing is for product engineering, but it’s actually also helpful for consumer marketing. It’s really important that we’re unbiased when it comes to powering teams with data.”

Additionally, by using Segment to push standardized data—in real-time—into existing tools, it became easier than ever for Meredith to quickly implement new software. Data capture standards also made it easy to share data universally, feeding centralized analytics for an enterprise-wide view of users, brands, and its business.

The Results

Powered by Segment, every group at Meredith has an enterprise-wide view of consumer insights to drive new growth

Even under a tight six-month timeline, Meredith was able to successfully implement a centralized data analytics infrastructure, opening up new opportunities for teams to access and put to work the same standardized data across the entire breadth of Meredith’s 36 brands.

This new data strategy and approach has fueled insights and driven opportunities for more accurate business metrics, unprecedented targeting, and enterprise-wide data alignment.

Visualize and measure enterprise-wide key performance indicators in real time

With a streamlined and unified data architecture built on a Segment foundation, Meredith eliminated weeks of manual effort previously required to merge disparate first-party data. Now, a central data hub powers real-time dashboards with standardized data for all teams to use.

Uncover insights to power unprecedented segmentation, targeting, and business development capabilities

With a centralized view of data across brands and channels, teams can create rich, robust, and dynamic consumer profiles. These profiles are then used to guide media execution, optimize content recommendations, improve product development strategies, and inform business decisions.

Drive impact across the organization with an aligned, cross-departmental data strategy

Beyond consumer data, Meredith’s broader business is benefiting from wider data transparency, signaling an organizational shift in how Meredith’s business operates. Teams from editorial to engineering are taking a more data-driven approach to growing Meredith’s bottom line. “We now look across the entire organization to make sure we’re best serving all of these groups,” Doyle said. “As we evolve and scale our data strategy—working continuously to enrich our first-party digital data—we can do it with Segment.”

Thanks to Segment’s centralized data infrastructure, which underpins their rapid unification of data from a multitude of digital properties, Meredith is poised to successfully scale and grow into the future.

Industry: Media
Location: Des Moines, IA