Understanding how to access and monetize consumer data is becoming a huge part of publishers’ business models and focus. At the upcoming Selling Digital Marketing Services conference, participants will learn how a new Google News Initiative Data Lab helps support news organizations’ success in this space.

GNI recently launched a Data Lab in partnership with Local Media Association and Deloitte to help local media companies assess their data prowess, and create a playbook to better use and monetize consumer data.

At the Selling Digital Marketing Services conference, July 31-Aug. 1 in Chicago, Peter Newton, managing director of Accelerate Local, will talk about the work with GNI and how companies like the Seattle Times, Meredith TV, The Philadelphia Inquirer, NBC Universal Owned Television Stations and Tampa Bay Times will up their data game in the Data Lab, growing digital marketing revenue and more.

We caught up with Peter to learn a bit more about the work happening with GNI:

Tell us at a high level what is happening with the GNI Data Lab.

We are in the middle of a series of six week-long site visits with each company. During the visit, Deloitte Consulting interviews a broad cross-section of business and functional leaders, and reviews key audience and digital revenue data results. We then use that understanding to provide a comprehensive data assessment for each organization, along with recommendations for how they can 1) elevate their strategic and operational data use and, 2) improve their digital ad revenue performance through better audience segmentation, yield management and sales channel optimization.

What are the news organizations you are working with doing as part of the GNI Data Lab?

All of the news organizations are, in their own way, evolving to improve their data maturity.  As part of this process, they are openly sharing their strategy, org structure and culture, and abilities levels, and importantly, where they see their strengths, and where they’d like to improve. Companies are learning a lot about themselves from working with Deloitte, but also gain invaluable perspective and knowledge from listening and talking with the other local media companies.  As we progress through the program, we will mutually decide on a specific ad revenue “use case” on which each partner will work for the next 3-4 months, then report back progress to the group.

Any early lessons learned you can share?

I’d mention two of the several emerging themes. The first involves experimentation, and the opportunities to infuse more disciplined, data-backed decision-making into product and pricing changes. That includes implementing best practices like conducting A/B testing to validate assumptions about a proposed change. The second is audience segmentation leveraging first-party data. Deep audience knowledge enables increased yields for high-demand segments, as well as informs content creation strategies to deliver better user experience.

Once the project with these organizations wraps up, how will the results be shared?

We plan to share common findings and recommendations at upcoming LMA events, including Selling Digital Marketing Services in July and the Elevate! conference in September. We’ll also publish some white papers in coming months that will highlight participating companies’ experience with the use case they selected.

You can register for the Selling Digital Marketing Services Conference here.