Associations can learn from Google and Netflix on Data Usage

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Joe Rominieki, in an article for Associations Now, discusses how tech giants Google and Netflix use their members data trails to generate more revenue and recommends that associations follow their lead by building member data tracking into their product design and workflows.

Last week both tech giants were in the news for their towering data practices, says Rominieki:

  • Google for its evident strategy to use Google+ less as a social network and more as a directory that ties every person’s behavior across Google products to a common user profile that it can track. “Google Plus gives you the opportunity to be yourself, and gives Google that common understanding of who you are,” Bradley Horowitz, vice president of product management for Google Plus, told The New York Times.
  • Netflix for its “war room” setup to monitor viewer activity the night that season two of House of Cardspremiered. A highlight: It was able to pinpoint one “super binger” who watched the entire 13-episode season (at nearly an hour per episode) in barely three minutes longer than its actual running time. “Netflix spokesman Joris Evers said Netflix knows everything about your viewing habits,” wrote Queena Kim at Marketplace. “‘We monitor what you watch, how often you watch things,’ Evers said.”

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According to Romenieki, the lesson for Associations is to monitor usage data voraciously and, develop products and services through which your members will happily hand that data over.

So how does an association get this done? Romenieki points to the growing use among associations of online communities and mobile apps. "The best online communities engage scores of members in myriad small actions (login, read discussions, respond, add connections, update profile, and so on) on a daily basis, and I think association online community managers are only beginning to scratch the surface of what that data can tell their associations about their members. And mobile apps offer the ability to track usage more precisely by user and location, as well as making it easier for on-the-go members to interact with them."

"These products have to be planned and designed with data tracking in mind, rather than tacking it on as an afterthought, and that might be the biggest mental and cultural change that associations still need to make in product development" says Rominieki. 

You can find Joe Rominieki's entire article for Associations Now here.