And now, for their next reader-engagement trick, publishers are taking a few lessons from your PlayStation.
The world of video games is coming to the news. While publishers are used to telling stories in text and, recently, in video, some are looking to add a dose of interactivity to their news in an effort to attract more readers and keep them around longer.
Last week, Al Jazeera launched “Pirate Fishing,” an online game that puts players in the role of a journalist as he investigates an illegal fishing trade. Players, who start as “junior researchers” get points by watching videos and filing clips in their notebooks, helping them earn “senior reporter” positions and ” specialist badges.” The game was based of an Al Jazeera video series originally published in 2012.
SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook built itself into the No. 2 digital advertising platform in the world by analyzing the vast amount of data it had on each of its 1.3 billion users to sell individually targeted ads on its social network.
Now it is going to take those targeted ads to the rest of the Internet, mounting its most direct challenge yet to Google, the leader in digital advertising with nearly one-third of the global market.
On Monday, Facebook will roll out a rebuilt ad platform, called Atlas, that will allow marketers to tap its detailed knowledge of its users to direct ads to those people on thousands of other websites and mobile apps.
“We are bringing all of the people-based marketing functions that marketers are used to doing on Facebook and allowing them to do that across the web,” David Jakubowski, the company’s head of advertising technology, said in an interview.
With digital content so widely consumed online it’s important to create relevant and interesting content for your audience. These four insights from our Principle Analyst, Bob Johnson, will help you build a content strategy that works for your brand.
1. Do You Have a Digital Content Strategy?
Today many are clamoring for a content strategy. The trouble most organizations do not understand that it is a lot harder to implement than it is to conceptualize. Read more >
2. Do You Follow these Five Senses?
What does your content tell you about the people who consume different assets? Is each asset a good listener, does it have a sense of taste, can it smell a buyer from non-buyer, does it see where the buyer’s interest lies and can it feel the readiness of a buyer to engage with sales? Read more >
3. Do Misuse Your Content?
You spend so much time, money and effort on creating digital content but too much of that effort goes wasted as we see multiple issues. See you if stand out from the crowd by thinking about your content against these common mistakes. Read more >
4. Do You Organize Your Content Effectively?
As you focus on how to organize your digital assets on your website, you face a multitude of options. But when you ask buyers how they prefer to see content organized, they speak very clearly that they have a primary preference. Read more >
BuzzFeed recently ran a post on what it called the New York Times‘ “Twitter graveyard,” which turned out to be a list of accounts set up by the newspaper’s editorial staff that are either dormant or unused, including some that still have the default egg avatar given to Twitter newbies. But does that mean some staffers just haven’t taken to a particular platform, or does it mean the paper’s writers and editors aren’t doing enough to engage with readers?
That was the underlying question behind a discussion I had with a number of senior NYT staffers on Monday — including the paper’s deputy digital editor and co-author of the recent internal “innovation report” — after one (a senior member of the paper’s development team, Jacob Harris) referred to the BuzzFeed piece somewhat dismissively, implying that using Twitter accounts as a proxy for whether journalists are doing their jobs is neither fair nor particularly enlightening (I’ve also created a Storify collection of some of the relevant tweets).
I tried to argue that focusing solely on whether someone is on Twitter is trivial, and may even be unfair, but the larger point being made by BuzzFeed and others is that the Times may be lacking in the area of social engagement with readers. And this is important because it could literally be the key to survival for media companies and journalists alike, as social starts to replace search.
Engaging means more than just listening
A number of Times staffers, including deputy international editor Lydia Polgreen, made the point that there are plenty of reporters and editors who use Twitter regularly and are open to engaging with readers, a group that includes media writerDavid Carr, Polgreen herself, science writer John Schwartz, columnist Nick Kristofand others. As she pointed out, readers have far more engagement potential with NYT writers than they have ever had.
Foreign correspondent Damien Cave and others echoed a common refrain, which is that just because a New York Times reporter or editor doesn’t tweet a lot doesn’t mean that they aren’t listening to readers and following conversations about stories — a point that deputy digital editor Amy O’Leary also made. Others noted that there are lots of different ways to respond to readers and engage with them, including Facebook, email and in person.
As I tried to argue, however, listening is only part of the equation when it comes to engagement, and it’s likely the easiest part. The hard part is having to respond when someone criticizes your piece or points out an error — but that is also when engaging is at its most powerful, and it can ultimately result in better journalism.
October is here and, simply put, if your holiday marketing plans are not finalized and ready to be executed, you are sunk.
That said, it seems that every year marketers let the same small details fall through the cracks. With that in mind, we’ve put together a checklist for companies as they run down their last minute planning for mobile campaigns — an area that still seems to be hit or miss for many retailers.
Remember — email marketing messages can be opened on mobile devices.Often they are only opened on mobile devices. Make sure messages are optimized for smartphones and during the holiday season especially, make the headline simple and short — and easily searchable. Consumers pull up their messages looking for offers while actually shopping and needless to say, their inboxes are bulging this time of year.
Optimize your mobile site. Why, oh why, retailers, are you ignoring the biggest subtrend in e-commerce, which is mobile commerce? Too many retail sites are still not optimized for mobile devices, a process that often requires an entirely new ground up development project but is well worth it in the end. Web optimization company Yottaa found that many of the top 500 e-tailers use unique m-dot sites, according to MobileCommerceDaily. These URLs redirect users an average 3.03 times before taking them to the right site, resulting in a poor user experiences and ultimately, lost retail sales. As MobileCommercialDaily noted, research has found that just a one-second delay in site response time can reduce conversions by 7 percent. Another data point is provided by The Search Agency, which reports in its latest quarterly report, “The Mobile Experience Scorecard — Restaurants & Catering” that the top 50 restaurant and catering companies’ mobile sites were very slow to load (on average over 70 seconds) and 40 percent don’t have a button to click to order or reserve. Some 32 percent of the sites analyzed use Responsive Web Design — Google’s recommended format — but no site serving the updated format were able to pass the page speed test, with average page load time over one minute, according to The Search Agency.
If web design is art, we may be entering its minimalist phase.
Website redesigns from some of the most-visited media destinations on the Internet may be leaving users with a bit of déjà vu since many are sporting the same visual elements.
“It’s sort of the same way that all cars look more or less the same. There’s only so many ways you can design a doorknob to where it’s going to be effective,” said Brad Frost, a web designer that has worked on the websites for TechCrunch and Entertainment Weekly.
Cars and doorknobs serve a purpose under certain constraints, just like websites. But unlike those everyday items, the demands on websites have changed drastically as audiences have taken to different devices.
Time.com (pictured below) is a prime example: Clean lines, big pictures and defined columns dominate. The site launched its redesign in March.
Time.com is also “responsive,” a relatively new concept that combines development and design to allow websites to conform to a wide variety of screen sizes while still providing a useful experience. The rise of responsive design has been driven by steadily rising mobile traffic combined with the introduction of a wide range of devices.
Mobile was this crisis that woke us up from this shared delusion that the web was this fixed width,” said Josh Clark, a web designer and developer.
“To a certain degree, websites always look the same. Design is fashion and it follows trends. We’re in the middle of a trend of big and clunky, not just because of responsive design but also because of touch,” Clark added. “As touch has spread from small screens to laptops and desktops, all desktop designs have to be touch-friendly, and that has influenced the aesthetic, too.”
Numerous major media sites have shifted to responsive design with similar results — multi-column, boxy and flat designs that look almost strangely similar. NBC News has its main column on the left, but the similarities are apparent.
With video consumption on the rise, audiences today expect to able to receive information that is easy to digest and also engaging. It is predicted that by 2016, 1.6 billion people will be watching video online, and the growth of video traffic on the web will rise from 57% to 69% by 2017. As a result, a million minutes of video content will cross the network every second in 2017.
Given the eminence and influence video content will have over the next few years it could become one of the marketing department’s most powerful tools. Videos can be shared as compelling content that can help attract new customers, encourage existing ones to upgrade to a new product or spread product information quickly and efficiently.
Short videos can even be used as an alternative to lengthy text descriptions, telephone calls and face-to-face demonstrations to help a customer chose the right product for them. James McQuivey from Forrester Research believes that one minute of video can be equivalent to 1.8 million words. Video can provide easily accessible, on-demand information that is also engaging to a wider customer base.
Creating video content that is audience-tailored and accessible across multiple devices can keep digital marketing initiatives on the road to success. One quick and easy method of content creation is screencasting. Screencasting software records everything on your screen from applications and mouse clicks to your audio commentary. Screencasting technology is efficient since little investment is required for equipment and unlike working with video cameras or other videography equipment, very little training is needed.
To make successful screencasts, there are a few factors any marketer should consider:
Know Your Audience
With any video marketing initiative, understanding what makes your audience tick should be a priority. One video might be the right hook for a particular viewer, however could completely miss the mark for someone else.
Mail Online, Metro and the Mirror all now attract more readers to their websites from mobiles than they do from personal computers.
New evidence of the shift from desktop to mobile news readership is provided in the latest figures from the National Readership Survey, which include mobile for the first time.
The data suggests Mail Online’s mobile raedership in the UK stands at 10.8m per month, versus 9.6m on personal computers. The NRS claims that the Mirror now attracts 6.2m readers a month on mobile devices, versus 4.9m on PCs, and Metro 3.6m on mobile versus 2.9m on PCs.
The NRS data combines print readership for the year to June 2014 with Comscore website data for June 2014. Both web and print numbers are based on a survey of the general public, rather than actual circulation or information from server logs.
The figures suggest that The Guardian and the Telegraph are neck and neck in terms of UK readership with both achieving a monthly reach of 16.3m. The term ‘reach’ equates to the number of people reading the paper or the website at least once.
The NRS suggests that the Daily Mail/Mail Online is the most read national newspaper brand in the UK with a monthly reach of 23.4m. According to the Mail, this means it now reaches 48.3 per cent of UK adults every month.
Designing email newsletter templates and email promotions for mobile devices has never been more important.
Mobile email design is a hot topic as the usage of mobile devices increases. After researching the topic in depth, I’ve come to some elements of mobile email design that should be considered in the development stage. Whether you’re sending an email newsletter or promoting a product or event, your email design needs to be optimized for mobile if your audience is viewing your content on the go. With the number of mobile users increasing, it’s very likely that a significant portion of your audience is using mobile. Here are a few tips for mobile email design.
Mobile Email Design Element #1: Font size - Font for mobile emails needs to be larger than that of standard emails. Apple will automatically increase small font to be the minimum of 13 pixels. On Android devices, 16-18 scale-independent pixels are considered medium and large text sizes. Many designers recommend a minimum of 14 pixel font for body text and minimum of 22 pixel font for headlines.
Mobile Email Design Element #2: Concise headlines – I’m taking a note from app design tips for this one. Try working with a 35-character limit on headlines, and put your most important words up front.
Mobile Email Design Element #3: Design – Single and double column design tend to work the best in mobile, with single being favored by developers looking for complete simplicity. A double column design could work for an email newsletter with a full-text featured article. A single column design would increase clarity for snippet-based email newsletters.
Mobile Email Design Element #4: Proper Separation – Do not put clickable images or links side-by-side or your audience may have trouble clicking the desired link.
Magazine publishers have plowed money and resources into video. The reason is obvious: Video advertising is a booming market, with plump ad prices that dwarf the CPMs display ads fetch.
But the devil is in the details or, more precisely, in the execution. There are internal challenges to organizing to create video — just ask Condé Nast – in addition to problems around generating a viewership of sufficient scale and putting together attractive ad packages.
“Legacy publishers seem to have internal difficulties shifting to a multi-format content model that is committed to each distribution platform from dot-com to social to apps,” said Paul Kontonis, executive director of the Global Online Video Association. “Shared services is a way to get a publisher to dip their toe in video without overhauling the existing hierarchies, politics and comforting bureaucracies.”
Traditional publishers have made great headway to reinvent their content strategy and distribution model, but they are still building diversified video inventory at scale, said Robin Steinberg, evp, publishing and digital director of investment and activation, MediaVest.
“They are contending with publishers outside their traditional competitive set with stronger targeting capabilities and pricing structures,” she said. “Due to their traditional print legacy position in the marketplace, they have to push harder for a prime seat at the digital video marketplace table.”