Data, case studies and market research: my placement at RAM

If there’s one thing we were taught from day one of our course, it’s that in order to create a successful publication, you need to know your audience. RAM helps publishers do just that. How? With data, and lots of it!

RAM (which stands for Research and Analysis of Media) is a Swedish media research company that gathers valuable data about advertising effectiveness and content quality on behalf of its clients – of which it has over 1,000. The company was founded in 2001 with its headquarters in Stockholm, but it also has offices in the United States, Norway, Finland and right here in Edinburgh.

As this was the first time RAM offered work placements to MSc (Magazine) Publishing students at Edinburgh Napier University, RAM UK’s CEO, Dianne Newman, and Sales Director, Andy Macbeth, paid us a visit to tell us more about RAM and the placement opportunity. Traditionally, the UK office has focused on the newspaper market, working with a number of high profile publishers including Guardian News and Media, The Mirror Group and Johnston Press (which publishes The Scotsman). One of its goals for this year is to break into the magazine market, and for this, RAM UK was seeking our help. Having been captivated by Dianne’s enthusiasm, I immediately jumped at the opportunity to work on this live project, and I’m very glad I did!

On my first day I was greeted by Andy, who helped me settle in and gave me a quick tour of RAM’s website before handing me my placement brief. I was asked to identify the top prospective clients by researching the UK magazine market to identify key issues magazine publishers face and linking these with services offered by RAM. I won’t lie, this brief seemed quite daunting at first, but using my research skills and the knowledge I gathered during the course I managed to identify eleven publishers and I’m excited to see whether some of these will soon become RAM clients!

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All set to explore RAMetrics

Market research wasn’t the only thing that kept me busy during my time at RAM. I also got to dive into RAMetrics, RAM’s data analysis tool, which is arguably the most exciting thing about doing a placement at RAM (that is, if you like playing with data). Dianne showed me how this tool, which houses data of over 60 million surveys, can be used to determine what engages audiences and how certain factors influence the effectiveness of advertising. For example, advertisers often ask for a right-hand page, but does this actually make people notice the ad more? (The answer is no.) I got to play around with RAMetrics myself to create case studies for a range of advertising categories (such as motor vehicles, cosmetics and food and drinks) to give publishers an idea of what RAM is able to measure.

I was also lucky enough to attend two events during my placement: an editorial strategy workshop organised by the PPA for which Dianne was a speaker, and a RAM Insight Day for RAM’s Scottish clients. The second event was especially interesting, as it allowed me to see RAM from the client’s perspective. Using RAMetrics to create the case studies was incredibly interesting, but it wasn’t until I heard how The Irish Times uses survey data to convince advertisers of their investment’s ROI that I truly realised the power of RAM’s vast database.

Looking back, I can’t believe how much happened in the ten short days I was with RAM. I’m grateful to Dianne and Andy for the opportunity they gave me, as I gained more insight into the UK magazine and newspapers markets, learned a lot about advertising effectiveness, the challenges publishers face when working with advertisers and even improved my PowerPoint skills, too. And on top of all that, I got to meet some lovely people in the publishing industry!

To find out more about RAM, visit www.rampanel.com.

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Author: Romi Rellum

I am a Dutch/German Philosophy graduate and current MSc Publishing student who is, maybe somewhat controversially, mostly interested in digital publishing. I love print too, but it is the possibilities of digital technology that really fascinate me, especially for educational and academic publishing. Since embarking on this course, my interests have developed towards production and design. As creative director of Publishers Inc, a digital magazine published by MSc (Magazine) Publishing students at Edinburgh Napier University, I am currently exploring how to best present our product to our readers.

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