Thanks to the web and real-time measurement tools, the media industry has gone from having virtually no hard data on readers and attention to an embarrassment of riches — not only can we measure what people click on, but we can measure how far down the page they got when they were reading, whether they posted a comment, which social networks they came from, and a hundred other pieces of data. The only problem is that this is very much a double-edged sword.
New York Times media writer David Carr recently looked at some examples of media companies that are rewarding their writers based on traffic statistics and other measurements, including The Oregonian — whose efforts I wrote about here. But is paying your journalists based on pageviews or other metrics a smart way to align their incentives with your goals as a business, or does it poison the well when it comes to enhancing or encouraging creativity?
This fear of well-poisoning has even led some outlets — including The Verge and MIT’s Technology Review — to deny their journalists access to the statistics about readers and attention, because they’re concerned that it might distort their judgement about which stories to cover or how much time to devote to them. But then how do writers know whether their work is reaching an audience?
Be careful what kind of incentives you use
In a piece he wrote for the American Journalism Review this week, Chartbeat CEO Tony Haile (who is also an adjunct professor of journalism at Columbia) looked at both sides of the data sword. One danger of using the wrong metrics to reward your journalists, he noted — as I also tried to point out in a recent post — is that you wind up incentivizing the wrong thing, and that can take your site far away from what its original goals were:
Organizations struggle to quantify the impact engaged employees have on business results. Intuitively, it’s a no-brainer—engaged employees cost less and produce more. It’s that simple.
Many studies and reports support this hunch: Engaged companies have stronger levels of profitability and retain their employees.
So, why do most organizations have difficulty quantifying this? It’s primarily because of the process. Here is how we (unfortunately) see an employee engagement survey process play out in many organizations:
An organization conducts an employee engagement survey. The corporate communications or HR team presents the results to the executive team. The executive team asks, “How does this tie to our business results?” (Say this in your best CFO voice.) The communications/HR team scrambles to find data and metrics to make comparisons. The team realizes the process was not designed to make effective comparisons. The team can’t share any comparisons.
This is certainly not the best return on your survey investment.
There are many reasons why comparing employee engagement survey data to business metrics is difficult. Here are four ways to overcome these difficulties to show valid comparisons:
This past year, digital advertising online and via mobile crossed the $40 billion mark for the first time ever, according to the Internet Advertising Bureau. Since 2004, the average growth rate has been 18 percent. And this year, digital ad revenues surpassed broadcast television for the first time.
Not shockingly, mobile is leading the charge.
Search remains the largest overall category, at $18.4 billion, and display hit $7.9 billion, according to the IAB’s numbers, but those categories are growing much slower than mobile and digital video ads. Search is “only” growing at 8.6 percent, while mobile ad revenue jumped 110 percent to $7.1 billion last year, and digital video ad revenue has tripled over the past few years to $2.8 billion.
It’s important to note that, while web and mobile advertising revenues beat out broadcast TV for the first time, broadcast + cable advertising revenues still dwarf the digital take. And, of course, networks are aggressively expanding to new digital means of distribution.
While the digital ad market is expanding, it’s also extraordinarily concentrated — perhaps more so than any advertising market since there were just three TV networks.
It seems as if millennials have avoided traditional media ever since they learned how to read.
The results of new research by marketing startup Crowdtap and the global research company Ipsos shed new light on how the connected generation gets its news. When it comes to trust, it turns out, millennials almost always choose their peers over professionals.
User-generated content (UGC) is media created by your peers. It includes status updates, blog posts and restaurant reviews — any content from non-professionals without any real motivation besides adding an opinion to the sea of already existing opinions. In a more logical world, it isn’t the type of content we’d trust over a professional’s review.
Ipsos’ study, however, reveals that millennials trust UGC just as much as professional reviews. UGC is also 20% more influential when it comes to purchasing and 35% more memorable than other types of media. You can chalk that up to the fact that millennials spend five hours per day with UGC.
The infographic below gives the visual breakdown of how much time millennials are spending with UGC, where they’re getting it and how it’s affecting the media landscape.
Click to see infographic
In a new CMO report from Deloitte and Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud, the 5 new CMO expectations were discussed. The 5 expectations were:
- Take on Topline Growth
- Own the Customer Experience
- Dig Into Data-Based Insights
- Operate in Real Time
- Master the Metrics that Matter
Are CMOs ready to face these expectations? Not really, but they’re getting there. 53% of CMOs feel the pressure to enable revenue growth, but they struggle because they don’t completely own the conversion path. This has been one of the bigger problems that CMOs are facing; they have to work across functions in order to get things done. This comes into play with the customer experience, too. CMOs now own the largest share of the customer journey, but they need to work with product and service teams in order to create an optimal customer experience across all channels. There’s no doubt that CMOs are feeling the pressure of the digital era, but with that comes big opportunity for growth and the ability to reach all of these high expectations.
There’s no consensus among journalists about what the term multimediameans, or even whether to use it anymore.
The multimedia skills listed in a job advertisement might span a range of specialties from web developer to videographer. Some ads specify “proficiency in multimedia” with no further explanation. A 2013 ad seeking a multimedia producer was more precise: “Your core duties will involve a variety of multimedia — audio, video, photos, informational graphics, and motion graphics — to support our core news content.”
“One of the most pressing needs mentioned by journalists in various countries was the acquisition of new multimedia skills,” according to findings from a recent study that surveyed more than 29,000 journalists around the world.
Despite the continuing use of the term multimedia, not every journalist thinks it should be used nowadays. Eric Maierson, a producer at MediaStorm since 2006, hates the word multimedia. There is irony in that, because until recently, MediaStorm called itself a “multimedia production studio.” However, Maierson explained: “I believe ‘multimedia’ is the word we’ve come to use when describing photographers who make documentaries.” (Nowadays MediaStorm calls itself a “film production and interactive design studio” and produces mostly video documentaries. Past projects include Crisis Guide: Iran, a good example of pre–“Snow Fall” multimedia.)