Many publishers wrestle with how to monetise their ad inventory effectively.
It’s all not as easy as it sounds, as there are complexities and issues, but some relief is on the horizon.
First, the issues we all face are as follows:
- Inventory: We have too much inventory and, as a consequence, the price is far too cheap and the expectation is such from advertisers.
- Heritage and legacy issues: Generally, people (in my experience, particularly ad sales staff and agency planners and buyers), are still unfamiliar with the mobile channel and either don’t know the questions to ask or feel they should know the answers — so they don’t feel they can ask the questions.
- Creative issues: Formats can be difficult to standardise. We make it difficult to work with us sometimes. In addition, a lack of creativity rules (thinking “beyond the banner” can prove challenging for many).
08 April 2014 · by Otto Sjöberg
What can your news organisation learn about storytelling from a picture of a grumpy cat? If you attended the Guardian Changing Media Summit recently, you’re well aware of how feline photos can, indeed, improve your digital storytelling.
In fact, pictures of cats were so abundant during the summit that Robin Hough, editor of Guardian Media Network, tweeted: “Interesting stat – 99.9% of all presentations at #GdnCMS have begun with/included at some point a funny pic of a cat.”
It might not be what you expect from a distinguished publisher like the Guardian, but if you also attended the Changing Media Summit last year, you could see it coming.
In what must be considered the most entertaining presentation of the 2013 Summit, Jonah Peretti, founder and CEO of BuzzFeed, explained our fascination with cute animals. BuzzFeed has quickly built a successful – or at least very viral – media brand on the combination of cute animals and investigative journalism....[more]
30 March 2014 · by David Murphy
There have been two big buzzwords in mobile over the past six months or so: programmatic buying and native advertising.
Programmatic is the process of buying advertising inventory automatically and, arguably, more effectively, impression by impression. Most of the major mobile ad networks now have a programmatic offering. In some instances, they have chucked in the ad network model in order to concentrate on the demand (advertiser) side, relying on the ad exchanges for their inventory, rather than having publishers and app developers signed up to their own network.
Programmatic is without doubt a hot topic. But it is eclipsed, I would argue, by native advertising, where the ad does not look hugely different than the editorial content, but is flagged as an ad with a phrase such as “presented by (the advertiser brand name).”
The reason for the interest in native is not hard to fathom if you look at Facebook. Most people are aware of the company’s recent success with mobile advertising, but they might not all realise how important native is to that success. The company made US$1.5 billion from native advertising last year, with 53% of that coming through mobile devices.
Facebook’s ad business has been built on native.
Last week, the analyst, eMarketer, reported global mobile ad spend more than doubled in 2013 to total US$17.96 billion, up from US$8.76 billion in 2012. That’s a rise of US$9.2 billion. The remarkable point to note is that US$6.92 billion of that came from just two companies: Google and Facebook....[more]
25 March 2014 · by Dirk Barmscheidt
The big challenge is to reach and hold the user with our content. To that end, we are always looking for the next bit of breaking news, the exclusive story, or the first interview.
But is this, from a user perspective, the right content strategy?
Are we on the best path to deliver the best content/product, which is so valuable we can bill it to the digital customer?
A look at the current Google Play download hit list shows us news aggregators are the most successful news apps. Brands such as The New York Times or local news brands follow — after a significant gap.
What explains this phenomenon?...[more]
24 March 2014 · by Stefan Savva
For the many people who crawl into bed at night with book in hand and a partner by their side, the last thing they gaze upon and hold close before slipping into the land of Nod is their beloved mobile phone. And, because so many of those same people are awakened by their mobile’s alarm, they no doubt chance a look at the mobile screen as soon as they wake.
So, habitually, their first and last moments of each day are on their mobile phones.
Those same people will reach for their mobiles many times per hour for brief moments as they graze for content. They never turn off their mobiles; they’re never more than a few steps away; and are spending more and more time on their mobiles.
When was the last time you were away from your mobile for more than 10 minutes?
Understanding the mobile user context is hugely important because mobile use is so ubiquitous and because you don’t just use your mobile in a vacuum. You use your mobile while you are eating or commuting or on the treadmill or lying in bed or not listening to your partner.
Studying the audience demographic alone is likely to tell only half the story. And whoever said no to an offer of a faster horse?
Late last year, Fairfax Media spent three months studying the behaviour of a controlled group of readers of the Sydney Morning Herald mobile site. We wanted to know as much about them as possible, because if we knew they were in the office or at home or in the gym, we could better tailor our product and make it more relevant to them....[more]
16 March 2014 · by Chuck Blevins
The New York Times, according to Christopher Williams of The Telegraph, plans to introduce a “a range of cheaper services, including a news digest app and a recipe app, to seek new revenues from readers who won’t pay for a full digital subscription.”
These apps will contain less in-depth content and be aimed at casual readers.
Denise Warren, the Times’ executive vice president of digital products and services, said the news company plans to unlock new revenue streams by unbundling its content, rather than threatening existing ones.
(The new NYT Now mobile app, which sounds similar to Yahoo’s Digest, was recently announced at South By Southwest Interactive.)...[more]
13 March 2014 · by Otto Sjöberg
Once again, the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona (February 24-27) shattered all previous records.
More than 85,000 visitors (up from 72,000 last year) from 201 countries attended. More than 1,800 companies (up from 1,700) showcased new technology and services across 98,000 square metres (up from 94,000) of exhibition space. And more than 3,800 representatives from international media (up from 3,400) reported on the event.
The four-day event brings in a whopping US$490 million (up from US$417 million) to the local economy, according to independent economic analysis.
The sheer size and growth, as well as the importance, of this colossus is overwhelming. Perhaps Juan Lopez-Valcarcel, senior vice president at Pearson, put the whole thing in perspective better than anyone:
“Our children will think going to a mobile conference is like going to a conference about electricity.”...[more]
09 March 2014 · by Mark Challinor
A topical question for you all: Should media companies include WhatsApp in their social media/mobile strategy?
INMA’s 2013 Outlook report said the main accelerators of future traffic for publishers will be mobile and social media.
I thought in this blog piece I would focus on the latest big news in the digital world and especially whether there are any implications for media companies.
I am referring to the phenomenon that is the mobile app, WhatsApp, Facebook’s recent US$19 billion (yes, that’s billion with a B) purchase.
WhatsApp is probably best known as a cross-platform, instant messaging service for smartphones. But it could (stress could!) also become a powerful distribution tool for the publishing industry.
The app, which lets consumers send short messages to friends for free (similar to SMS/ text messaging), has an incredible 450 million users (and 70% of those use it every day)....[more]
24 February 2014 · by David Murphy
To date, publishers have largely gone solo in their attempts to monetise their digital offerings, by either putting paywalls on their Web sites, or charging for a subscription to access the tablet version of their publications — with varying degrees of success.
So news of a March launch for Readly in the UK last week, following its launch in Sweden and the United States last year, piqued my interest.
The service takes the form of a digital app, offering an “all-you-can-read” magazine service for a monthly subscription fee. Consumers pay £9.99 per month for unlimited access to all the magazines in Readly’s portfolio, including back issues.
The Readly app can be installed on to up to five devices per subscriber, including iOS, Android, Windows 8, and Kindle Fire. The digital magazines are deconstructed from publisher PDF print files that are automatically re-constructed into an “advanced” PDF format.
Readly says this advanced format provides ultra-fast downloading and simple and consistent navigation across all the magazines, together with advanced zoom, bookmark, search, and sharing functions.
That said, it should be noted these are more akin to page-turner editions than mobile app versions. So, while they may be OK on a tablet (and the bigger the tablet the better), if my own experience is anything to go by, reading them on a phone — even a Sony Xperia Z with a large screen — is not going to be too much fun....[more]
20 February 2014 · by Otto Sjöberg
Sometimes an anniversary and a place can have more than symbolic significance.
Mark Zuckerberg making his debut at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, on the 10th anniversary of Facebook, is such an occasion.
The timing and the place carry a strategic message.
Media companies should pay attention.
To add some perspective, Barcelona is a place where important mobile battles have been won and lost.
In 2010, Eric Schmidt, then-CEO of Google, made his first appearance at the Mobile World Congress and gave a sensational keynote. He announced Google’s new strategy – Mobile First – which back then was jaw-dropping for the auditorium (still one of those “I-was-there-moments” for me). He gave several reasons why Mobile First was essential to Google, but one sentence really summed it all up: “It’s not a phone anymore, it’s your alter ego, an extension of everything we do.”
After that announcement, the speed of the mobile revolution accelerated.
Barcelona has also been the scene of great misfortune.
It was here, in 2011, that Stephen Elop, then the newly appointed CEO of Nokia, gave his own company the kiss of death. On stage with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, he announced a partnership, which meant the Finish company bet everything it had on Windows Phone, Microsoft’s operating system for mobile phones....[more]