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On the hunt for attention, media outlets gamify the news

Digiday

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.

Read on…

Africa’s Digital Future Remains Bright Despite Myriad Challenges

IDC PMS4colorversion no shadow 300x98  Africas Digital Future Remains Bright Despite Myriad Challenges

Spurred by increased infrastructural investments, improved connectivity and affordability, positive government interventions, and the spread of mobility, the African digital media landscape is rapidly evolving, according to global IT market intelligence firm International Data Corporation (IDC). Referencing its ‘Assessment and Outlook of the Digital Media Ecosystem in Africa’ report, IDC today said the future remains bright for the continent, although key challenges such as low propensity to pay for applications and content as well as lack of ubiquitous high speed broadband infrastructure continue to hamper progress and will take a while to resolve.

“The digital picture in Africa is changing rapidly,” says Leonard Kore, a research analyst for telecommunications and media at IDC East Africa. “Internet penetration is on the rise, buoyed by increased infrastructure investments, while the landing of undersea fiber-optic cables connecting Africa to the rest of the world has greatly reduced transmission time and costs while increasing bandwidth capacity. Although only an estimated 19% of the continent’s 1 billion population is online, this situation is expected to improve as investments in infrastructure continue to gain momentum; this includes 2G and 3G network infrastructure expansion and fiber to the x (FTTx).”

Mobile usage has had a transformative impact in Africa. Other key factors include the high digital appetite for social media and the impending digital migration, while other sectors such as ecommerce have had a tough time gaining traction. The digital disruption has significantly changed consumer behavior, and service usage patterns have altered as a result, with consumers now seeking devices with intuitive interfaces, content-rich applications, and faster connectivity capabilities as they spend more time online.

Continue reading…

How to Develop Digital Content – 4 Analyst Insights

IDG Connect 0811 300x141 How to Develop Digital Content – 4 Analyst Insights

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 >

World Tech Update Video – 10/3/14

IDG News Service

Ttis week Microsoft unveils Windows 10, JPMorgan Chase says a cyberattack this summer affected 83 million customers and we check out a hardware hackathon for women.

Five findings about digital video news

Pew Research Centre

News audiences are watching more digital news video than ever before and newsrooms are investing in creating more video content. The challenge—as is the case with other digital ad revenue—is that big tech firms such as Google and Facebook are poised to pocket a large share of the digital video ad dollars because they are able to more effectively monetize video content.

As part of its State of the News Media 2014 report, the Pew Research Center surveyed U.S. adults about their digital video habits to get a sense of that marketplace today. Here’s what we found:

1The digital video advertising market is relatively small, but it is growing rapidly. According to eMarketer, digital video advertising in 2013 accounted for about 10% of the overall digital advertising market. But digital video ad revenue reached $4.15 billion in 2013, which represents a 44% increase from 2012 and almost a tripling of the revenue from 2010. YouTube is estimated to account for 20.5% of that that $4.15 billion in digital video advertising, and eMarketer estimates that its share will continue to grow, leaving fewer ad dollars for news organizations.

2Digital video consumption is growing and digital news video consumption is growing with it. Almost two-thirds of U.S. adults now watch videos online and more than half of those (36%) watch news videos. This is up from 40% of U.S. adults who watched or downloaded any kind of video in 2007 and 26% who watched or downloaded news videos.

Find out more…

Instagram begins serving ads in the UK

The seven UK advertisers are trialling Instagram’s new “Sponsored” paid-for ad unit to increase the reach of their content on the platform, which now has more than 200 million monthly active users.

The Facebook-owned photo app first began trialling the format in the US in November.

The units are charged on a cost-per-mille basis and brands can currently choose to target audiences by age, gender and geography. A threshold has not yet been set for the number of ads a user is likely to see on any given day, but this is likely to remain minimal as Instagram continues to roll out advertising “deliberately slowly”.

Waitrose was interested in being among the first brands to trial the format because it believes Instagram can help the retailer build on its already-existing “Love Food” brand platform in a highly engaged social environment, Rupert Ellwood, Waitrose head of marketing communications, told Marketing Week.

Read on…

Does it matter that some New York Times editors and writers don’t tweet? Yes and no

Gigaom

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.

Continue reading…

How to get your mobile marketing strategy ready for the holidays

CITEworld

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.

Continue reading… 

11 Elements for Mobile Email Design

Mequoda

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.looking at mobile email design 11 Elements 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.

 Continue reading… 

InfoWorld.com Site Relaunch Leads to Enhanced Reader and Advertiser Experience

 InfoWorld.com Site Relaunch Leads to Enhanced Reader and Advertiser Experience

Usability and consistency across mobile devices ensured through responsive design

Framingham, Mass. – Sept. 17, 2014 – IDG Enterprise—the leading enterprise technology media company composed of Computerworld, InfoWorld, Network World, CIO, DEMO, CSO, ITworld and CITEworld—announces the enriched design and functionality of InfoWorld.com. The award-winning site, known for its early identification of essential tech trends, now incorporates responsive design technology to scale editorial and advertising content to the users’ screen size, whether they are accessing InfoWorld.com from a smartphone, tablet or desktop (Click to Tweet).

“As mobile continues to grow as a leading content access tool, technology decision-makers search for information on whatever device is presently available,” said Peter Longo, CEO, U.S. Media, IDG Communications.  “The innovation of the new design allows our audience to stay up-to-date on recent trends, be in the know on new developments and engage with expert tech contributors, as well as provide a platform for tech marketers to engage this audience anytime, anywhere.”

Website Enhancements Include:

  • The use of responsive design, including HTML5 and CSS3, to ensure usability and consistency for visitors using smartphones, tablets or desktops.
  • Bold design with more prominent graphics and less pagination for a smoother reading experience and deeper engagement.
  • Vastly improved navigation for InfoWorld’s trademark mix of enterprise tech analysis, product reviews and thought leadership presented through new site sections.
  • Increased exposure for InfoWorld’s expert authors to flag tech trends early.
  • New site-wide promos for important news and trends tailored to InfoWorld’s technically savvy audience.
  • Single, searchable “Resource Library” supporting all types of lead generation content.
  • Shared functionality across IDG Enterprise sites for seamless execution of banner ads, lead generation and native advertising, making promotions more effective.

Continue reading…