Ahead Of The Curve Blog

Ahead Of The Curve Blog RSS
digital audience engagement

5 tips for news writing with mobile eyes in mind

13 August 2014 · By Peter Marsh

In 2010, the Financial Times had no mobile audience. Four years later, more than 60% of FT readers access its content via mobile devices.

Today in France, smartphones account for more than 40% of Le Monde’s readers, with 1.9 million monthly visitors using the newspaper’s mobile app.

And, in a recent survey of U.S. consumers conducted by the Associated Press and the American Press Institute, 78% say they used their smartphones to get news during the past week.

Some people, especially those in the 18-34 age group, prefer mobile devices as their exclusive source for news content. These mobile-only audiences tend to fall into two camps:

  • Busy on-the-go news readers who want something to look at while standing in line or sitting at a coffee shop.

  • In-depth news readers who check their smartphones several times a day looking for new or engaging content to delve into.

Media companies around the world are discovering that mobile audiences consume news differently than desktop and print readers. Effective engagement with mobile readers requires ...


Diario Extra, Mawbima show power of print to educate, protect readers

13 July 2014 · By Peter Marsh

Forget about fish and chips wrappers or birdcage liners. Last month, two publishers in vastly different geographies invented unique, practical, and socially conscious uses for their printed products.

These innovations include a waterproof newspaper that turns into an umbrella in rain-drenched Ecuador and a newspaper with citronella ink that repels deadly mosquitoes in Sri Lanka.

And both publishers managed to increase sales in the process.

In Guayaquil, Ecuador, where it rains a lot, the publisher of the best-selling Diario Extra found that street sales declined during rainy season. Working with local advertising agency Maruri Grey, Extra decided to print the newspaper with ...


Celebrating the influential power of the local newspaper

19 June 2014 · By Peter Marsh

Let’s hear it for the UK’s Newspaper Society (NS), which celebrated Local Newspaper Week last month. During this year’s event, the NS launched “Making a Difference,” a campaign designed to highlight local media’s ability to influence the lives of individuals in a way that no other media can. 

As part of this this campaign, several UK celebrities share their thoughts on the importance of local newspapers in a very direct, compelling and uniquely personal manner. 

Here are three examples: 

Actress Dame Helen Mirren“By reporting on local events and performances, local and regional newspapers play an important part in promoting and sustaining the arts at a local level. Theatres up and down Britain rely on this exposure and support from their local papers to communicate effectively with ...


Relevant content, advertising key to increased circulation revenues

27 May 2014 · By Peter Marsh

We’re not dead yet. Not even close.

While circling vultures are never in short supply around our beloved industry, the latest statistics from the Newspaper Association of America show signs of life and continued good health. At the risk of a much too obvious metaphor, our circulation is improving nicely, thank you.

NAA facts and figures released last month show that circulation revenue for U.S. newspapers increased for the second year in a row. Total circulation revenue grew 3.7% to US$10.8 billion. Not overly dramatic, but nothing to sneeze at.

What is truly impressive is the growth in digital-only circulation, which is up 47%, and bundled print-plus-digital circulation, which grew by a whopping 108%.

Take that, all you doomsayers. 

I know. The obvious deathwatch response will be something about how the rise in circulation revenue won’t be able to offset the decline in print advertising. But, the secret here is ...


Super-abundance of mobile advertising opportunities await media companies

15 April 2014 · By Peter Marsh

At a recent mobile marketing conference in New York, a speaker said, “Thinking of mobile as a channel is like describing oxygen as a compound that humans crave.”

The speaker, Lou Paskalis, senior media vice president at Bank of America, said we should view mobile as “the human operating system.”

Mobile is the last millimeter into the consumer’s brain. With consumers spending 26% of their media consumption time on mobile devices, we need to constantly think about how to make mobile relevant in the human operating system.

Ben Phillips, global head of mobile at MediaCom Worldwide, touched on the notion of relevance when he recommended marketers position mobile as an “always-on media strategy.”

He defined this strategy as the process of acquiring a consumer, engaging them, retaining them through a high-quality experience, and re-targeting them (i.e., interacting with that consumer again and again).

Putting a twist on the always-on concept, Kelly Jones, Microsoft’s head of Global Thought Leadership Research, talked about being “intelligently on.”


5 things media companies need to know about content, advertising, and trust

07 March 2014 · By Peter Marsh

The digital universe is a crowded, noisy place. People want a filter. We crave trusted sources for the news and advertising content we consume. Credibility matters. And credible content is key to building revenues across print, Web, mobile, and tablet channels.

A recent Nielsen survey found that people trust newspaper and magazine advertising more than any other media. The study reports 63% of consumers in North America find newspaper ads to be credible, accurate, and trustworthy. Magazine ads are the second most trusted media at 62%.

Compare that to social media ads, which are trusted by only 39% of consumers. Mobile display ads and online banner ads fare even worse and are trusted by just 35% and 33%, respectively.

Credibility helps to both establish and reinforce brand loyalty. Several new studies show a strong correlation between Web sites with content that people view as trustworthy and their audiences being loyal to these sites.

In short, people will come to your brand – and keep returning – if they find your content to be trusted.


10,000 steps to audience engagement

21 February 2013 · By Steve Nilan

Every publisher wants to find better, smarter ways to engage with audiences. I’ve discovered a new programme that is so powerful it keeps its audience engaged 24 hours a day.

It even works during sleeping hours. It appears to be pretty simple, until you realise it takes 10,000 steps to get to the goal and then you need to start all over again. It’s powerfully addictive but perfectly legal. On top of all that, it is actually good for you, too.

Before I start sounding like a pitch man on a late-night infomercial (“Wait, there’s more!”), the breakthrough is a remote fitness monitor called FitBit. Think of it as a very smart digital pedometer that tracks your steps taken, flights of stairs climbed, calories burned, and levels of activity achieved.

The technology is truly amazing. The FitBit is a small, wearable Bluetooth device with a three-dimensional accelerometer to sense user movement, plus an altimeter that measures elevation gain to count floors climbed.

It can even measure sleep quality: how long it takes you to fall asleep, how often you wake up, and how long you actually sleep. The daily goal is to walk or run 10,000 steps and 10 flights of stairs, but the objective is a healthier you.

Game on. Our competitive nature is a basic instinct.

The FitBit experience is a perfect example of the power of gamification. It’s a round-the-clock game where FitBit users are highly motivated to achieve a personal fitness goal and compete with others for intrinsic rewards and bragging rights.

My wife and I both got FitBits for Christmas. We were already in a friendly competition over who could get better gas mileage when driving our Prius hybrid.


Publishers should be paranoid about Do Not Track technology

24 June 2012 · By Steve Nilan

“You’re not paranoid if you’re really being followed” is a punchline to an old joke rather than a legitimate psychiatric diagnosis. Paranoia about who’s following you is no joke when it comes to online advertising and behavioural targeting.

Do Not Track (DNT) has grabbed headlines recently in the U.S. and Europe, as debates over standards have turned into a royal battle among privacy advocates, Web browser providers, social media sites, and digital advertisers. The battle is over how to implement “Do Not Track,” a Web browser privacy button that opts a user out of receiving targeted advertising and the collection of online behavioural data. The battle is moving from the opt-out technology — which should be the easy part — to policy and regulatory issues — which are always thornier.

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is working on the technology standard. (Should we be concerned that the newsmedia industry lacks a presence in the W3C?) In the U.S., the Federal Trade Commission has proposed a framework for protecting consumer privacy. The White House released a Privacy Bill of Rights earlier this year that may lead to new consumer privacy laws.

In Europe, which is usually out in front on matters of privacy, the European Union passed a DNT “Cookie” law last year, with enforcement scheduled to begin May 26, 2012. Of the 27 EU states, only Denmark, Estonia, and the UK met the deadline. I’m guessing the European economic crisis may have taken precedence over matters of privacy.


Paywalls and crunchy frogs: marketing lessons from Whizzo Chocolates

22 May 2012 · By Steve Nilan

Paywalls are proliferating across the digital media landscape. Last month, the Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism reported approximately 150 U.S. dailies now have some form of digital subscription service. The metered model has emerged as the clear winner.

At the recent INMA World Congress in Los Angeles, we heard Paul Smurl, vice president for paid products at The New York Times, describe how the Times’ risky paywall launch has now paid off with more than 450,000 digital subscribers in just a year. The added bonus was the satisfaction of being vindicated after the “blistering criticism” from media pundits. The Times’ breakthrough success has emboldened the company to lower the threshold of free articles and inspired others to get in the game.

Publishers around the globe have taken notice and are building their own paywalls brick-by-digital-brick. In one year, news media companies have moved from widespread skepticism to a stampeding herd.

The growing success of paywall strategies brings with it some branding baggage. The ill-conceived and widely despised term “paywall” has taken hold as the universal industry buzzword for digital subscriptions. Can’t we find a better word?! Paywall may be an accurate term, but it is about as consumer-friendly as Whizzo Chocolates’ Crunchy Frog candy.

Remember the classic Monty Python Crunchy Frog sketch? John Cleese as the officious food inspector is shocked that Whizzo’s proprietor is proud of his authentic Crunchy Frog recipe. “Oh, we use only the finest baby frogs, dew-picked and flown from Iraq, cleansed in the finest quality spring water, lightly killed, and sealed in a succulent, Swiss, quintuple-smooth, treble-milk chocolate envelope, and lovingly frosted with glucose!” The truth is sometimes hard to digest.


Are you listening? Social media is the new op-ed platform

29 March 2012 · By Ed Hubbard

Social media for traditional media companies is the hottest topic at industry conferences today. Social media dominated the recent INMA Innovative Advertising Seminar in Miami and is a recurring programme theme for the upcoming INMA World Congress in L.A.

It’s now a given that more community discussion is taking place through social media (primarily Facebook and Twitter, but certainly others) than on newspaper Web sites. Traditional newsmedia companies are working hard to determine how best to participate in or (better yet) lead community conversations.

Social media articles and blogs have consistently referenced “Community engagement: A practical conversation for newsrooms,” the fine work done by Joy Mayer of the Reynolds Journalism Institute. Meyer found that nine of 10 editors were discussing how to make their newsrooms more “social and participatory,” but added that the “editors aren't sure what exactly that means or how to go about it.”


Join INMA Today
Upcoming Events
INMA Seminário Internacional - Brasil
São Paulo, Brazil
01-02 October 2014
INMA Revenue Transformation Summit
Denver, United States
06-07 October 2014
INMA European News Media Conference
Tallinn, Estonia
08-10 October 2014
INMA South Asia Conference
New Delhi, India
12-13 November 2014
INMA Middle East Conference
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
18-19 November 2014
INMA World Congress
New York, United States
10-12 May 2015

More Events

Member Profiles

  • Pamela Laycock

  • Shawn DeWeese

  • Tymothe Meskel

  • Ellen Forster

  • Francois Dufour

  • Michael Miller

©2014 INMA | Home | About | Contact | RSS | Privacy