Editor’s note: This is one of 17 case studies featured in INMA’s strategic report “Making Big Data Smarter For Media Companies,” released in December.  

The Danish tabloid Ekstra Bladet has been focused on growing its customer base rather than earnings since it launched its digital subscription model in May 2013.

The newspaper recently developed its first Big Data strategy, Digital Director Søren Svendsen says, and is in the process of implementing new systems, hiring staff, and creating new processes. 

“The key point is to go from product focus to customer focus,” Svendsen says. “Perhaps it sounds trivial, but it isn’t because of where we are coming from [newspaper production] and the close connection between content and brand. Our strategy is targeting both content and ads. But due to the customer focus, content is king once again!”

To build audience, Ekstra Bladet is increasing efforts in both social media and search engine optimisation, Svendsen says. It has also brought a key performance indicator-based dashboard into its editorial department and is prioritising its customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing efforts.

To increase advertiser revenue, Ekstra Bladet is engaged in data enrichment and the developing cross-media products. It is working to build its database of registered customers and has additional data initiatives in the business-to-business arena, Svendsen says. He expects to see future product development based on customer data. 

It is too early to measure the return on investment, but the efforts are on target. Digital subscription conversion rates are meeting expectations, and Ekstra Bladet has so far been successful in using social media to grow its audience. 

The firm has implemented comScore for basic information about behavioural data. When working with data analysis vendors, Svendsen says, it is important to include both the IT department and analysts in the project: “Additional IT development after signing the contract can be expensive,” he warned. 

On the all-important issue of safeguarding customer data, there are serious concerns of both public perception and the law.

“It will be a process of testing the users’ borders without getting any bad response,” Svendsen says. “New legislation will force us to spend significant resources in the area.”