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Earlier this week, it was confirmed that New York State would lose a congressional seat after coming up 89 residents short in the 2020 census count. The Census Bureau developed its current method for apportioning congressional seat in 1941. Since then, 89 is the smallest number by which a state has fallen short of a House seat.
While NY lost a seat by the smallest margin, it wasn’t the only state to lose out on representation. California, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia will also lose a congressional seat. While these state-specific losses are telling of migration patterns, the Census Bureau found that between 2010 and 2020, the total population in the United States grew by just 7.4%, the slowest pace of growth of any decade in American history outside of the 1930s, during the Great Depression.
You may be wondering why we are sharing this information. We are hoping to impress upon you both the importance of accurate data collection as well as the power of and value in data. While viewing the latest census data provides a high level overview of changes and shifts, the census also lays the groundwork for how billions of dollars in federal funding is spent. Education institutions, highways and roads and other vital community elements gain or lose funding over the course of the next 10 years depending on the census data.
For small and medium sized businesses that are crucial to local cities and towns, the effects of the decisions that must be made by officials as a result of the survey may be hard-hitting. However, big data shouldn’t be viewed as a threat, but rather a resource that can be used to organizations’ advantage. Below, we’ll dive into how data as a whole and specific resources can help businesses and marketers make better decisions to yield greater results.
By definition, data driven marketing is the process of using data to inform all marketing decisions, from creative assets to campaigns. While it isn’t necessarily a new concept, marketing organizations have often found the investment in data resources to be difficult to justify. This is largely due to the fact that returns on investment typically are not seen overnight. However, through the development of holistic strategies and comprehensive roadmaps, future opportunities for organizations are much greater.
As modern consumers continue to demand and expect a great deal of personalization when it comes to marketing and branding campaigns, marketing teams are feeling the pressure to better-utilize available data. Currently, about 76% of marketing leaders base decisions on data analytics. This may seem high, but when you consider the fact that 86% of consumers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience, the value of the investment is quite evident.
The Times Union and Hearst have always been big proponents of data utilization in order to better serve our advertising partners. Over the course of the past year, we’ve invested even more resources into data extraction and analysis to help our clients understand their audience, create and deliver messages more effectively, and in turn, generate more business. We are thrilled to have these resources at our fingertips to help our clients not only look at the big picture of their business and the region as a whole, but discover where market share can be gained.
One such resource we have heavily utilized is Nielsen Scarborough data. Nielsen Scarborough provides local market research, resident lifestyle information, purchasing behavior, demographic information and more. We have the ability to provide data on consumers within the Albany DMA as a whole, by county and even by zip code. Such data allows us to gain a holistic view of a target audience and assists us in predicting future customer behavior – extremely valuable for a long-term marketing campaign and long-term business growth!
The Times Union and Hearst also have a partnership with Borrell Associates, a third-party research and consulting firm. Borrell is the leading expert in monitoring and forecasting local advertising trends. Their research and data provides us with insight on where consumers are searching for and consuming information. This in turn allows us to assist our partners in determining the most effective marketing channels and platforms for their specific industry.
Within the past week, Borrell launched their Local Advertiser Survey in order to assess how local advertisers approached marketing in 2020. Borrell compiles this data to show yearly ad spend within specific industry verticals, but also to provide a more granular look into the various mediums on which ad dollars are spent. As a business owner, completing the short survey affords you a glimpse into where your competitors spent ad dollars last year and where they expect to place more, less or the same amount of focus this year.
Don’t believe it to be worth your time? We would advise you to reconsider. In a recent survey, roughly 32% of marketers identified marketing analytics and competitive insights as the most important factors in supporting their marketing strategies over the last 18 months. This ranked higher than any other category. We’re not the only ones to believe in strong data and insights!
Like many other organizations last year, Hearst and the Times Union worked to evolve in the way we deliver ads and help our clients. One of, if not the most important element of Hearst’s evolution, is the upgrade and improvement of our custom audience targeting capabilities.
Hearst and the Times Union have made significant investments in resources to gather crucial information like personal demographics, geographic location, interests, browsing history and more in order to place consumers into different groups and serve them ads that are most applicable. This first party data has been painstakingly collected from both our site – timesunion.com – as well as all of our partners’ sites within the extensive Hearst network. This has resulted in the development of more than 400 unique audience targeting groups for our advertisers.
In addition, we have revamped our site and created better ad formats and designs to make our partners’ ads pop out more to potential customers.
Why the upgrade you may ask? The way we use the internet is constantly changing and evolving, so we are continuously making improvements to make it easier and more effective for our advertisers to connect to our readers.
In a relatively short amount of time, we have seen all of the aforementioned upgrades and investments produce impressive results. The traffic to our website has grown 41% to 2.3 million monthly visitors, which gives us a much larger pool to use when we customize the right audience for you. We are the #1 site in the Albany-Schenectady-Toy market by 25%. This means more eyes on our partners’ ads. And not only more eyes, the right eyes due to our custom audience creation.
The Times Union and Hearst can help in targeting your organization’s ideal audience and building optimal campaigns on optimal channels. The Times Union’s reach in the Capital Region is really unparalleled. And with the current state of affairs, utilizing marketing budgets to advertise on a medium or mediums that reach the largest, most desired audience is crucial.
Coupled with outside data resources, our first party data through Hearst Audience Solutions ensures that the right audience is seeing and engaging with your company’s ads. As our digital world shifts from a third-party data collection model to a first-party collection model, we are at a serious advantage as we can collect details and information directly from our site and our partners’ sites.
Get in touch with us today to develop your own marketing strategy utilizing the latest techniques and data resources!