To stay ahead of the curve in 2024 and beyond, publishers need to do more than just gather data – they need to wield it as a strategic weapon to drive growth, engagement and measurable impact. 

In Hum + Silverchair’s annual Publishing Tech Trends report, we asked a panel of 17 industry experts which ways data will shape publisher priorities this year. As we continue moving into a year of rapid change and disruption, publishers have unprecedented opportunities to utilize their data to enhance their offerings, better understand their audiences, and demonstrate impact. 

Audience Intelligence for Personalization

Many publishers are leveraging analytics to build detailed audience profiles. As readers browse publisher websites, their activities provide a wealth of behavioral data and digital fingerprints. Publishers can use this “audience intelligence” for personalized recommendations, tailored content marketing, and predictive modeling. 

  • “As readers browse websites, they are leaving digital fingerprints. This treasure trove of data is known as “audience intelligence”. This wealth of information enables organizations to move from intuition to data-driven decision making and strategy. Even when you do not know specifically who someone is (because they are not logged in), you can know a lot about them. In addition to game-changing insights, this intelligence powers “always-on” marketing, personalization, and the orchestration of customer journeys.” - Colleen Scollans, Clarke & Esposito
  • “Better targeting, identification and prediction of researchers' needs and interests.” - Phoebe McMellon, GeoScienceWorld
  • “The biggest opportunity for leveraging data in 2024 lies in segmentation through AI, allowing us to predict and deliver highly relevant content to authors. Drawing inspiration from e-commerce's dynamic preference modeling, we can tap into individuals' personal behaviours and transition toward more effective segmentation and predictive analytics.” - Christian Grubak, ChronosHub

New Product Development

Data insights help publishers identify opportunities to expand their offerings. As Ann Link of Linked Strategies observes, while returns on publishing are getting smaller, the publishing platform can be a conduit for growth in other areas of a publisher's business. Audience and content data insights can help pinpoint where to focus innovation.

  • “Capture and use the intelligence that comes from the audience/content interaction. Publishers can learn enormous amounts about their audience and their content at the point that they interact, and they can put that learning to use immediately in practical ways across every publishing function. What special issues to acquire? What editors, authors, or reviewers to approach? What institutional sales to go after? What products to offer? - Tim Barton, Hum

Contextualization of Content with AI

AI tools are enabling publishers to apply structure and tagging to surface connections between content. 

  • “Leveraging data to better understand the value and relative connections in existing data.” - Dave Oakley, MEI Global, LLC
  • “AI made it easier than ever to consume large volumes of data. Quality of the underlying is still critical, but new tools have really increased the type of queries we can run against existing data sets - almost no matter how large they are.” - Emilie Delquie, Silverchair

Workflow Efficiencies with AI

Repetitive publishing workflows are ripe for automation with AI. From semantic enrichment to language polishing, AI is being embedded across the authoring-to-publishing pipeline to increase efficiency, as Avi Staiman of Academic Language Experts notes. This frees up publishers to focus on higher-value tasks.

Leveraging Data for Social Good

Data holds potential to help achieve global goals. Publishers are exploring how applying analytics to their content can provide insights to advance sustainability, diversity, and other social aims. Data contextualization can reveal new linkages across content areas.

  • “Leveraging research data to achieve some, if not all, of the SDG 2030 goals.” - Dr. Anjali Chadha, Maverick Publishing Specialists
  • “Requests to demonstrate progress around diversification of authors, editorial boards, peer reviewers, and staff are not going away. Publishers are getting smart about what data they collect and how they can benchmark their current state to demonstrate progress towards future goals. The time is right to start these projects to ensure that organizations are moving towards goals with the right strategy in place.” - Heather Staines, Delta Think

Demonstrating Institutional Impact

As publishing moved to digital platforms, data to quantify and understand research impact has remained relatively obscured. But publishers seeking to win and preserve research funding are working to find new ways to use data and show true impact. 

Last month, Silverchair and Oxford University Press launched Sensus Impact - a community initiative that delivers standardized & shared infrastructure to report the impact of funded research publications. 

  • “There's real opportunity around understanding funder data within the content corpus and using that to create direct funder-to-publisher OA deals.” - Tasha Mellins-Cohen, Mellins-Cohen Consulting
  • “Institutions need to demonstrate impact and libraries are often undervalued. By giving library customers data like how many reviewers at their institution have reviewed publications for that publisher in 2023, you're helping them feed valuable data to their senior management, that demonstrates institutional impact.” - Lou Peck, The International Bunch 

The opportunities for publishers to derive value from data are expanding rapidly. By implementing the latest analytics techniques and AI capabilities, publishers can gain actionable intelligence to enhance content discovery, tailor offerings, increase workflow efficiency, demonstrate diversity progress, and better serve institutional customers. 

The strategic use of data and analytics will define successful publishing programs in 2024 and beyond.

Helping publishers harness the power of their data is kind of our thing. Learn more about Hum and how industry-leading publishers are using data and AI to connect with their readers and deliver personalized digital experiences that drive revenue and engagement. 

Download a full copy of the 2024 Publishing Tech Trends report today.