Data To Inform, Not Dictate: How Vice Uses Insights

Data To Inform, Not Dictate: How Vice Uses Insights
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A conversation with Stephanie Winkler, Head of Insights at Vice and guest speaker at Pause Fest 2020.

With offices around the world and a strong audience base across a host of platforms, Vice Media does not have a shortage of data at its disposal.

With a focus on youth and young adult-focused media, this rich data gives the business an opportunity to better shape its content around audiences’ interests.

Speaking with B&T, Head of Insights at Vice, Stephanie Winkler explained that while data is a valuable tool for informing the publication, it does not dictate the publication.

“If we get a data point saying that 70 per cent of young people are into the idea of open relationships, that doesn’t mean that we run off and write an article or build a strategy around the fact that everyone’s polyamorous now,” Winkler said.

“What it will mean is we’ll use it as a jumping off point for further thinking. We might conduct some interviews with couples, have some discussions, run a little web survey, talk to our creatives or maybe some relationship experts and go ‘okay, what is this one little point say about the ever-changing nature of relationships in the post Tinder age’.”

This analogy – which Winkler confirmed is a made-up example – provides insight into Vice’s data strategy.

What started as a magazine in the 1990s has slowly transformed into a multi-disciplinary media company, spanning across digital, news, music and films.

Supporting the various offerings is Winkler’s insights department, which runs relevant studies and research, including a bi-annual youth census which surveys 25,000 participants globally.

“The data definitely informs some of the direction, but it doesn’t dictate what we write,” she said.

One of the most valuable lessons learnt by Vice’s insights team is: people want relatable content.

“Young people have grown up cognisant that there is some serious troubles in the world. But lets’ not think of not as the end of the end – but the beginning of the beginning,” she said.

“Young people are at the coalface of a complex world full of opportunity, and they are flipping the way we think about education, work and spirituality. Rather than fighting the younger way of thinking, lets embrace the new systems that have never been seen before.”

These topics will be further explored at the annual Pause Fest from 5-7 Feb 2020 at The Melbourne Convention Exhibition Centre.

To hear more from Winkler, click here get your tickets to Pause Fest 2020 today.

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