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Success Metrics

Customized insights to support ad sales and campaign optimization

50% response rate through community-led activities

11 digital properties supported through community insights

Overview

Media company BDG encompasses 11 digital properties, including Bustle, Scary Mommy, Inverse, and Nylon. The future-focused research team wanted a way to uncover custom insights for all publications and identify opportunities for the different consumer segments BDG serves.

As an industry pioneer in the community-driven insights space the team at BDG has grown its program for over nearly a decade to uncover the “why” behind traditional data trends. Through strong engagement rates and constructive feedback from loyal community members, the BDG team is able to help strengthen ad campaigns and messaging while keeping an eye on trends and the evolving expectations of their readers.

Program Goals:

  • Develop a program to facilitate customized consumer insights to support advertising partnerships
  • Validate trends and support ongoing strategy and content development
  • Build brand trust and awareness across BDG publications
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Business Challenge

BDG had no shortage of market data. However, syndicated research from sources such as Comscore and Quantcast was information readily available, and BDG wanted unique insights to differentiate their brand. Digital metrics and transactional data focused on readers’ past behavior and BDG wanted to look toward the future. They needed a different methodology to speak directly to their readers and understand their perspectives. 

“I always believed in the power of first-party research,” says Jessica Tarlov, Senior Vice President, Research and Consumer Insight at BDG. “We used to be able to get away with saying consumers like red wine or hiking and it would blow people’s minds. It was really basic. Now we need to dig deeper and understand the why.”

Solution

BDG has been a pioneer in the community-led insights space. They launched their first customer insight community at a time when this approach was rare for the publishing industry. 

Unique among other research tools in their toolbox, the community is BDG’s instrument for gathering both quantitative and qualitative feedback. BDG can zoom in on readers who are interested in specific content categories rather than general trends. They learn about readers beyond their basic demographics and spending patterns, continuously profiling them to understand their evolving interests and give them a space to share opinions and thoughts.

Advertising support

“The community has become a vital research resource supporting advertising sales,” Jessica notes. For example, for a brand interested in finding consumers interested in environmentally friendly products, the research team can get feedback on product testing, sustainable refills, and consumer appetites for sustainable brands. “Our research projects for ad partners are highly customizable and that makes them feel special. They can understand the soul of how respondents feel about their brand.”

Even advertising clients that aren’t conducting custom research are excited to be associated with a program led by real time data. “Our ability to show up to these clients as experts and have direct suggestions on what could elevate their programs is a plus point in the sales process,” Jessica explains.

Concept and product testing

After identifying broad trends in the industry, the BDG team taps into their audience to validate interest. Leveraging their engaged community members, BDG’s research team conducts further focus groups of deeply profiled community members for in-depth discussions on more niche topics. In addition, they offer community members the opportunity to create video diaries in which they share personal thoughts on a variety of topics. 

These formats allow BDG to hear how customers describe products, brands, and opinions on their own terms, in their own voice. This helps to validate whether BDG should be investing in a trend and influences future planning.

Results

Research conducted through the community and recruitment for focus group activities is significantly less expensive than more traditional methods, while still providing the in-depth qualitative feedback and engagement they and their partners rely on to make decisions. With an industry-leading 50% engagement rate, members share information that isn’t readily available to the broader market.

BDG’s sales team say the ability to target audiences for custom focus groups is a solid competitive differentiator that often seals the deal with advertising partners. It also allows BDG to be a best-in-class partner to these clients by offering insights they can’t find anywhere else.

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Alida is a Community Research platform that helps the world's biggest brands create highly engaged research communities to gather feedback that fuels better customer experiences and product innovation.