As the way consumers interact with advertising changes, so must the way news publishers sell advertising.
McClatchy has named seven principles of a sustainable business model, which it created to take the company into the new reality of media advertising.
Media24 started a new advertising brand: Adspace24.
Jagran New Media is focusing much of its efforts on branded content.
Speaking on day four of the INMA World Congress of News Media, sponsored by Viafoura, executives from Media24 in South Africa, Jagran New Media in India, and McClatchy in the United States shared how they are meeting the future of advertising by pivoting now. The World Congress continues throughout May on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Registation is available here for all or individual sessions.
Jagran New Media focus on branded content
Jagran New Media found through consumer-based data that 78% of consumers prefer to get to know a company through articles rather than ads, and 70% of people believe that organisations that provide custom content are interested in building good relationships with them.
Based on these results, Jagran believes content marketing is becoming the best way to attract and convert, Priyanka Sharma, creative head of branded content, said.
“Branded content is something that brings the relevant value to the customer’s life and never goes for the direct sales model,” Sharma said.
Companies looking to move into the branded content space must remember to avoid selling a brand to the consumer and instead sell a story and a product that enables that story, she said: “There’s so much advertising around us, so many banner ads, our brain has become really conditioned to advertising, but when I talk about branded content, it brings a story to the table and values to the table and enables the customer.”
Jagran is finding branded content works better than traditional advertising because it allows them to put the consumer in the centre. It also allows them to evolve and adapt to an ever changing world.
“Customers no longer buy brands. They join brands,” Sharma said. “Branding is the sociology of the business.”
A big takeaway from their work with branded content is that Jagran is finding people can now become loyalists before becoming consumers.
“It’s one of the most beautiful things about branded content that people become your loyalists just by looking at your branded content,” Sharma said. “They connect with your brand. They think yes, this is how I feel, this resonates with my belief system.”
Jagran also recognises that people want to make their own decisions and do their own research on brands before joining the tribe or the community. And perhaps the biggest benefit of all, since people love stories and connect so deeply with them, consumers are able to retain the story along with the brand, which is a huge value-add.
McClatchy creates 7 guiding principles for a sustainable business model
What’s most important at McClatchy is for the company to find profitability with digital, which led to establishing seven guiding principles for a sustainable business model, Tony Berg, the company’s chief revenue officer, told World Congress attendees.
McClatchy created seven principles, but the first one — digital audience growth — “is No. 1 by a mile.” The U.S. newspaper group has focused heavily on growing its audience over the past 18 months, and that has “put us in a position to really create this new business model,” Berg said. “That’s a critical piece.”
Berg shared details on the other six guiding principles, including re-imagining its costs: “As we look at our business through a different lens, as we start looking at it as a platform to monetise, it gives us the opportunity to reevaluate where we’re spending money to make sure we’re investing in places that leads to that digital growth … and ultimately allows to stop looking at doing things the old way.”
A new belief system and a new focus on monetisation have helped McClatchy define its beliefs and strategic priorities. The company believes its most competitive positioning lies in its ability to match new and existing customers with its many platforms.
“We’re in 30 markets across the United States,” he said. “We believe each one of those is a different type of monetisation platform for us. And in each one of those markets … we can look at different funnels and ways to get people into our content and stay with us.”
Generally, McClatchy gets about 67 million unique visits per month, which begins with them visiting the core site, which they know and trust.
“Once they’re there, we start moving them through other experiences,” Berg said.
As customers move through the funnel, McClatchy is looking at different ways to monetise their journey and increase revenue per user: “We have a couple of different ways to get them into a subscription with us, whether it’s a hyper-local sports pass subscription or a larger news subscription. We have a lot of different ways to keep them on the site and keep them more engaged with the site.
Looking ahead, Berg said McClatchy has identified four key areas to continue its growth and monetisation:
- Costs based on future revenues.
- Advertising subscriptions.
- Stacking audiences.
The company has created what it calls its 20-Mile March Objectives, which is about remaining focused on things it wants to achieve not only in 2022, but beyond.
Media24 creates new advertising brand
Tasmia Ismail, general manager of commercial at Media24, cited the impact of COVID, riots, and mass flooding when talking about how customers are responding the world around them. Customers are becoming more specific about what they needed around media solutions, she said.
To answer that need, the media company started a new brand: Adspace24, with the tagline: Reach. With Trust.
With a clear decline in print media advertising sales and an increase in digital sales, Media24 created a strategy to bridge that gap between print and digital.
Media24 is part of the South African media company, Napers. They offer content across digital, print, television, live events, shopping, etc.
Media24 turned to data to inform them on how best to put customers at the centre of their solutions. Ismail shared Media24 research showing customers were experiencing a disconnect between customer expectations and reality. The top four insights she shared were:
Significant disconnect between multiple touchpoints within an organisation.
75% of customers expect consistent interactions across all departments.
58% of customers feel they’re communicating with separate departments and not one company.
70% of customers expect all service representatives to share the same information; 64% say they have to re-explain their issue.
All of these insights tell the same story: There’s a lack of comprehensive media experience across the multi-platform structure of a brand, Ismail said. Media24 began to focus on “creating customer value by providing a digital first, audience-driven, multi-platform media offering in brand-safe new environments.”
Media24 brought digital to the front and focused on integrating their strategy across all platforms. They gave clients a number of niches to choose from to reach targeted audiences in terms of how they looked at behavioural audiences. For print, the company leveraged their brand history and created an integrated push across pamphlets, magazines, live events, etc.
“It comes back to … is having enough trust in our brands,” Ismail said. “Clients really search for that when they want to communicated with those engaged audiences, bringing that together by our solutions, value, the innovation, and everying we have to offer.”