There’s no denying that the power of information is unparalleled, with what has increasingly become a data-driven landscape deciphering — as well as shaping — consumer behaviour, steering strategic decisions and emerging as having a transformative impact across all industries.
With a keen desire to apply maths and statistics to making data science solutions that work, Matt Shump joined Vimeo as its VP of Data Analytics in 2022. Leading a team of 40, Shump is keen to work on hard problems with enthusiastic collaborators from a cross section of expertise and backgrounds that leverages data, science, technology and a specific domain.
“The problems to solve may not be new everywhere to everyone, but they are often new to that specific industry or company, so how we solve them requires some level of intrapreneurial energy, creative solutioning and iterative testing and learning,” he shares.
How Vimeo uses data and analytics
At video hosting, sharing and services platform provider Vimeo, Shump and his team use data and analytics to understand what its users consider valuable or successful to help feed into how Vimeo can improve and personalise their experience, and the subsequent impact of the changes implemented.
Shump details: “It is not always obvious if a customer is seeing value and solving the core problems they have with our product or service, particularly when many different use cases and problems are served from the product and features built. However, without understanding what your current and prospective customers are actually trying to use your software for and how to quantitatively measure it, the ability to not just improve value for your customers but knowing exactly which customers are or are not seeing value becomes impossible.”
At Vimeo, both qualitative and quantitative methods are combined to understand what customers are trying to use its products for and if they are seeing success - or to see where they may be specifically running into pain points.
“This data and insight helps inform how we price and package, how we improve onboarding and activation product experiences, how and who we outreach to through customer lifecycle marketing (CLM) campaigns and allows us to better personalise, or at least segment, our user base to prioritise the customer’s time on what will likely help them the most,” he shares.
Acknowledging that there is no exact science behind implementing changes and acquiring the necessary data to measure its success, Shump shares how Vimeo invests time, energy and money into improving the customer experience, which highlights the importance of metrics to get to the core of what is working and what can be best improved.
“It’s not always possible or perfect, but we strive to quantify with some level of confidence that we are making the impact we hoped we would. The foundation behind this is complex and cross functional, requiring a mature experimentation process, feature flagging system and a robust measurement and statistical evaluation system. However, the hardest part is really relying on the data to inform what worked versus falling victim.
“Vimeo has come a long way in really listening to customer behaviour through experimentation performance to inform and iterate how we improve customer experience.”
From there, it is about prioritising how customer experience can be amplified. Data is the key factor driving and facilitating conversations in identifying customers who are set to benefit from suggested changes, and driving intended impact. When bringing data to the prioritisation step of work forces, Shump advocates a cross functional discussion occurring around the efficiency of data collection.
“The flexible tools we have invested in at Vimeo and the full set of data we ingest and orchestrate through the full technology stack allows for a lot of use cases to solve that go way beyond the traditional reporting, dashboarding and analysis projects,” he states. “This includes
leveraging product usage data to better understand if different products or a sales discussion would be more valuable to the customer and to Vimeo. Also, sending targeting data into Vimeo’s in-app customer communication and email marketing tools to engage users and sending data into its ad-tech platforms to facilitate marketing towards prospects that look similar to past users who have seen success on the Vimeo platform.”
Data and analytics is shaping the entertainment sphere of the future
Taking the approach of understanding company strategy to identify valuable use cases where data, technology, and scientific methods can create impact rather than starting with technology to find a problem to solve, Shump encourages his team — who he says do their best work when they are enthusiastic about a problem — to keep on trend with emerging technologies to stay ahead of the curve. This proactive approach ensures Vimeo remains at the forefront of innovation.
“TMT industries and companies are highly dynamic and so too is the data, analytics and data science industry itself,” Shump explains. “We do not have a perfect way of staying on top of everything, but how we spend our energy and the culture of the team makes a big impact.
“Everyone on my team is empowered to explore a new problem, use case or tool. We highly encourage autonomy for everyone to both think critically about how to solve new problems as well as identify new problems that are aligned to our strategy and can make an impact now or in the future. We have found this lights a fire of intellectual curiosity for individuals to be more on top of emerging technologies and industry trends, thinking of creative ways to solve problems and drives more cross-team and cross-skill collaboration and awareness.”
This is in a bid to cast a wide and varied professional learning net for both the benefit of the business and the personal and professional development of its workforce. Thanks to the plethora of communities and thought leaders in the TMT and data industry, there is a constant stream of new ideas, new use cases and technology trends blasted in your face daily.
Although this is a positive, Shump outlines how he cuts through the noise to ensure a focused approach, whether that be through nurturing vendor relationships for strategic insights and innovative tool usage and frequent discussions with experts. Insights from data experts are also leveraged, and networks of leaders for sharing experiences, exploring current and emerging use cases, and staying abreast of new technologies and problem-solving approaches.
Trends have the potential to revolutionise Vimeo and the wider TMT market
“As a company we are looking to become more focused and aligned around a set of key input and outcome metrics to measure performance consistently and provide more general visibility across the organisation,” Shump explains. “However, like many TMT companies, the metrics we look at and the data we care about have evolved over time but the systems and processes that collect that data have not necessarily kept up.”
To take a more holistic approach in addressing this, Vimeo launched a new initiative, Metrics That Matter, with the objective to establish a standardised set of key metrics for comprehensive performance tracking throughout the data supply chain, involving creating a robust metrics foundation for measurement and analysis. Additionally, a performance tool will be developed to continuously compare actual data with financial forecasts, aiding in crucial operational processes like business reviews. With this groundwork in place, the focus shifts towards organisational efforts to enhance these key metrics and effectively gauge the impact of these improvements.
The future of TMT and entertainment data analytics
Shump says that since the start of the year, Vimeo has moved away from more superficial measures of success, which has instigated undertaking deeper qualitative research to understand what type of product engagement actually leads to increased success.
Through this deeper understanding of successful product engagement, Shump and his team have started building a much more data-informed experimentation roadmap which we iteratively validate if this type of usage pattern does in fact lead to more satisfaction, success and impact that we observed it to be historically.
“From validated product usage patterns or identified gaps we believe that we can drive the most value to our customers by building and scaling a personalised journey for their onboarding, activation and engagement that is unified across touchpoints. This is of course not an easy task.
“In the future, I anticipate even more opportunities and novel problems being solved as functional teams and my team will integrate their strategy and development lifecycles even more than they are today.”