Last week, we introduced the first excerpt from our article, “How Publishing and Subscription Software Has Changed.” Today, we’re sharing the second installment. Over the course of the next five weeks, we’ll continue to release new sections from it, and in early January, we’ll share details on how to access the entire document. In the meantime, learn more about “The Rise of Big Data” below.

Over the years, data has gotten incredibly big. Companies are asking for a number of data points to learn more about their audience. This shift in the kind of data needed is representative of how publishing is evolving. Publishers now want to capture what is happening with their entire audience. This means that interests, social profiles and clicks are all being used by companies to learn more about what their audience values. Businesses can use this data to target sales opportunities and appeal to advertisers.

In addition to expanding the number of contacts in the database, there is also a greater need for more data. Companies want historical data for every customer. They also use demographic data to identify trends in their market. Although this is commonplace now, it was not typically available in the past.

Big data provides numerous benefits, but also comes with great challenges. Learning how to harness the information and make it usable is something on which publishers are constantly working. In the past, they would use data from standard reports to understand their market, but with more ways to connect, they are looking at a much wider spectrum of information. This translates to more dynamic reports with endless data combinations.

Because the data is so large, publishers can hone in on incredibly narrow audiences. For example, they could pull a custom data set of subscribers in Phoenix, who’ve clicked on car articles and attended a recent conference. Or, cast a wide net and pull all subscribers from the previous year. With flexible systems, there are countless options, which at times can be overwhelming.

Next week, be sure to swing by our site to learn more. But in the meantime, please consider this the beginning of a larger conversation. We’d like to hear what you’ve noticed and the changes you expect to see in the months and years to come. Post your insights using #subscriptionplatformchanges to share your perspective.