The growing prominence of digital media has created a vast need for digital fluency among news organisations to increase revenue.

Kirk MacDonald, the executive vice president of Digital First Media, advocates the importance of constant curiosity in the face of digital and social media.

“You must embrace continuous learning for the rest of your career, because it is going to change ... and that change will accelerate,” MacDonald said.

Part of this learning process includes persistent interaction with the latest technology. The mounting opportunities presented by the advancement of technology produce difficulties for understanding the digital market.

But the need for digital devices far outweighs this confusion.

“I think it’s pretty important to have these gadgets — tablets, mobiles — just to understand how people consume news on these devices,” said Marcela Tonello, strategic partner manager of Google.

With mobile devices, a massive amount of content is available for consumption at all times:

  • Ebay forecasts US$8 billion in commerce in 2012.
  • Pinterest grew by more than 4,000% in one year.
  • 55 billion app have been downloaded in the history of apps.

And the advertising market is feeding from consumers’ reliance on the growing mobile environment.

“Mobile is the backbone of digital media today,” Tonello said.

Because advertisement investments are growing within the mobile sphere, Google is capitalising on creating ad opportunities for digital media — an example news publishers must follow to increase digital revenue.

Another key component of digital monetisation is search optimisation.

John Chamberlain, AdTaxi search sales director at Digital First Media, points to four fundamental principles when selling search:

  1. Optimise key words.
  2. Optimise text.
  3. Optimise landing page selection.
  4. Keep copy up-to-date.

These four principles create a platform for news organisations to generate ad revenue.

“If you don't have a great search business, there is no way to grow 30, 40, 50%,” MacDonald said.

By focusing on search optimisation, companies become more marketable to consumers and advertisers.

“It’s difficult to be found sometimes,” Tonello said. “You need to make your part to be found inside of all this content, in the middle of all this content and all this information.”