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Volume 20 No. 46
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Plugged In: Julie Perlish, ESPN

Julie Perlish is senior director of advertising analytics for ESPN. She talks here about the challenges of working with data in today’s era of technology, but also the opportunities that are newly available, including one medium that is still relatively untapped..

It’s all about helping to inform media plans going forward as opposed to just being able to get data back that says ‘You had growth of 5 percent in these key metrics,’ which is great, but it doesn’t help them to repeat it again for next time.

Speed vs. synthesis:
[Consider] the amount of data that we all have now because there is such a plethora of devices and different ways that you can analyze that. It becomes that much more challenging. And even though we’re able to provide data, and we get requests for data at times on a more real-time basis, you still need to have that lead time to step back and analyze it, because having more data isn’t always better. It’s really being able to put it in perspective and be able to do something with it.

The need for a blended strategy: It’s not just about always having more media; it’s about activating smartly across the combinations that you choose to be in.

Sharing data with clients: We don’t have problems sharing “bad news.” There’s reality; some things don’t work as well as others, and we want to make sure that we learn from any of those missteps and that we can pass that along as well as capitalize on some of the things that we see as strengths.

How social media ties in: We’re looking to see whether or not there’s any cause or effect between the amount of social media and things such as TV ratings, and we’re looking to really understand the demographics of people that are exploring that. It affects our programming; we try to integrate social into that as well, and we try and see how social can help to feed other kinds of involvement with our media.

Challenges ahead: There are so many new things … that are the “shiny objects” that people are putting a lot of energy into understanding now. But I don’t know that we’ve yet really unlocked things such as mobile, which has been around a couple of years longer, and there’s still so many new ways that’s evolving that we really need to crack the code on to understand all the different ways that you can activate there and the different uses that you can have for it.