GFR Media grows mobile revenue with multitude of targeted strategies

By Aisha Burgos Rodriguez

We at GFR Media know the mobile market is constantly changing from all perspectives — whether it’s carriers, phone manufacturers, devices, operating systems, features, content delivery, or some other factor.

According to a recent study, our market, Puerto Rico, has more than 3.1 million mobile phones, with a smartphone penetration of 78%.

In this wireless landscape, we capitalised on the opportunity and necessity of providing our audience with mobile-optimised sites and native apps.

In 2010 and 2011, our company established its mobile presence and began monetising its mobile audience. In 2011, we showed a growth of 184% in mobile revenues. In 2012, we had a 154% growth. And in 2013, we ended with another 72% growth.

Our current mobile properties include two types of display ads: the traditional mobile banner (320 x 50) and the transitional, high-impact banner (320 x 350).

We’ve seen effective campaigns with a CTR (click-through rate) of more than 5.5%. At the end of the day, success relies heavily on the ad creative, the call to action, and the overall objective of the campaign. We explain this to our clients and try to work with them to outline their campaign strategy.

We recently announced the launch of targeted advertising in mobile. We expect this will enable GFR to segment its audience by different demographic variants.

In the long run, targeted advertising will benefit both mobile users and clients: The first are exposed to relevant ads, and the latter can have a more efficient campaign while talking directly to their consumers.

Targeted advertising enables clients to launch campaigns according to the user’s location, demographics, and psychographics, as well as contextual targeting.

Advertising on smartphones can become an important source of revenue for media companies. But not everyone has a smartphone or owns a tablet.

In my opinion, tailored advertising is not for all brands. Not all advertisers have the resources to develop these types of ads. For those who can, it is very important for them to have a good combination of media in their marketing plan.

Every advertiser should first define their objectives, then evaluate what’s the right type of advertising for them. If the right fit is tailored advertising, the advertiser should take advantage of the features available, making their ad interactive, allowing users to engage with their ad, and subsequently with their brand, along other “goodies.”

Media companies have the opportunity to be among the first to monetise the smartphone platform because of the value of their content to the consumer. That’s something not every industry has.

We not only push our content to our readers, but they also come and visit our properties to become informed.

Media companies need to take advantage of our traffic and develop ways to keep the audience engaged with our content.

In GFR, we used both owned and earned media to gain new users and/or to retain current users. We have campaigns that produce a high number of mobile visits, therefore creating a high number of ad impressions. This allows us to have enough inventory to offer our clients.

Another strategy we’ve used to increase our traffic is sharing content in different social networks; around 20% of our traffic is referred from social media.

Paywalls, subscriptions and/or in-app purchases, and native ads (sponsored content) are ways media companies are starting to monetise their content. Media companies should maximise their newsroom resources by creating premium content, which can then be monetised using mobile platforms.

As the media leader in our market, GFR Media is most aware of the overall experience of our end users — no matter the screen on which they are interacting with content.

This, along with steady growth in the mobile category, has driven us to develop mobile sites and/or apps for all of its brands, including market-leading newspaper El Nuevo Día, with a result of more than 20 mobile products.

In 2012, we began exploring responsive design, launching two new sites with this technology: Bumbia, a video platform with local content, and Índice, our newest newspaper, which launched its responsive Web site at the beginning of 2013.

Even though we have received positive feedback for this initiative, it is important to have good judgment when employing this strategy. We have realised it’s not a “one-size-fits-all” technology, since it will all depend on how the brand wants to execute its strategy — content and advertising — for each screen.

Augmented Reality is another technology we tested in 2012 with a print brand, targeted to teens and young adults. At the end of the experiment, we understood that our market wasn’t quite ready for this type of technology. However, we continue to explore this and any other new technologies that emerge.

GFR recently launched our restaurant guide platform, Sal!, which allows users to make reservations at their favourite restaurants, check in while they are on location, and share their experience with their friends on Facebook or Twitter. After they eat, users can use the app to rate and review the restaurant.

In addition to the mobile restaurant reservations and check-ins, we have introduced transactional features — purchases — with our “Deal of the Day” app.

Not only do we distribute our content to users mobile devices, but we use native features to enrich our users’ experience. For example, with geo-location we provide them with the weather in their area, or which theatres, restaurants and/or events are near them. We also take advantage of the push notifications system to alert them of breaking news. 

We always want to offer the best possible experience for our users. This is why it is so important to include features and benefits that are relevant to the specific brand and its audience.

This is one of 17 case studies featured in the recent INMA strategic report “The Smartphone Choices for Media Companies.” For more information on this report, free to INMA members, click here

About Aisha Burgos Rodriguez

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