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Why Every Media Website Redesign Looks the Same

Mashable

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.

Time1 640x359 Why Every Media Website Redesign Looks the Same

 

The homepage of Time.com goes with the three-column design and a sticky header menu.

IMAGE: TIME.COM

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.

Continue reading… 

Tune Audiences Into Your Marketing Video Initiative

IDG Connect 0811 Tune Audiences Into Your Marketing Video Initiative

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.

Continue reading… 

NRS says mobile now most popular way to access websites of Mail Online, Metro and Mirror

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.

Read on…

World Tech Update: 9/19/14

IDG News Service

On this week’s World Tech Update,  Microsoft buys Minecraft developer Mojang, Apple readies its iPhone 6 for sale and we take a look at a high tech stadium.

Native ads are getting a direct-response makeover

Digiday

Native advertising is often used by publishers as a way out of being held to the direct-response metrics that have long been associated with banner ads.

Native was supposed to be a premium ad format that would bolster falling digital CPMs, and it has mainly been viewed as an image-building format. But it was only a matter of time before advertisers would start to demand more than just a lift in awareness or improved reputation and ask for ads that directly drive sales or leads.

Case in point: this ad for The New York Times that’s running on Mashable. The ad has a direct come-on to new digital customers, with a “subscribe” button that’s prominently placed to the right of its branded article. It’s part of a month-long campaign the Times is running on Mashable to drive audience growth.

 Native ads are getting a direct response makeover

The practice is more established among B2B marketers, for whom the format is well suited for white-paper downloads and webinar signups. Lexis Nexis, for example, used this ad on Law.com to drum up business for its MedMal navigator product. But consumer publishers are increasingly hearing requests for native ads to include calls to action.

Continue reading… 

2014 U.S. State of Cybercrime Survey

Screen Shot 2014 09 19 at 3.23.49 PM  2014 U.S. State of Cybercrime Survey

CSO and PwC teamed-up with the CERT® Division of the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie MellonUniversity and the United States Secret Service to conduct the annual survey to gain a better understanding of cybercrime trends within U.S. organizations.

The 2014 research found that the number of security incidents continue to surge as well as the cost associated with them. Additionally, organizations are still playing catch-up to combat cyber criminals.

Key Findings Include:

  • The state of cybercrime is not good. U.S. organizations are failing to keep up with the persistence, technical expertise or the tactical skillset of their adversaries.
  • Security for mobile devices is inadequate and poses elevated risks beyond phones and tablets. A large barrier for CSO’s is that mobile devices are viewed as employee devices and businesses are reluctant to push policies to personal devices.
  • Insider threats are not sufficiently addressed and while awareness training would address the most common insider threats, most businesses don’t do awareness training.
  • Insiders who commit cybercrimes typically exhibited pre-cursor characteristics including committing violations of IT security practices and the misusing of organizational resources.
  • There is a significant disparity between SMB (less than 1,000 employees) & Enterprise organizations (1,000+ employees) with differences arising in both practices and types of cyber attacks.

To view slides on this research, click here

Why most people aren’t downloading apps anymore

Quartz

In August, a widely reported report from comScore, a measurement firm, concluded that the majority of smartphone users in the United States download precisely zero apps in any given month.

 Why most people aren’t downloading apps anymore

“One possible explanation is that people just don’t need that many apps, and the apps people already have are more than suitable for most functions,” speculated Quartz’s Dan Frommer at the time. New datafrom Localytics, an app analytics firm which tracks 28,000 apps across 1.5 billion global devices, lends some evidence to this theory.

According to Localytics, the amount of time people spend within apps has shot up by a fifth over the past year, helping app use alone outpace all desktop computer use. Moreover, people are launching apps more often, up from 9.4 times to 11.5 times a month.

Driving this increase in use is the stickiness, to use a Silicon Valley term, of the apps people already use. It will surprise nobody that the categories with the most significant uptick in time used fall into categories of music, health and fitness, and social networking.

Continue reading…

World Tech Update- August 29, 2014

IDG News Service

Coming up on WTU Instagram brings Hyperlapse to the iPhone, Microsoft cuts Surface 2 prices and Google reveals its secret drone delivery program.

 

Tablets with voice calling functions take off in Asia

IDG News Service

Using a tablet to make a phone call may sound unorthodox. But in Asia’s emerging markets, vendors are increasingly shipping 7-inch tablets with voice call functions, according to research firm IDC.

During the second quarter, electronics vendors shipped 13.8 million tablets to the Asia Pacific region, excluding Japan, IDC said on Wednesday. Of those tablets, 25 percent were designed for voice calls over a cellular network. This marked a jump of 10 percentage points from the first quarter.

Voice call tablets are taking off in China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, said Avinash Sundaram, an IDC analyst, who added that it had become a trend unique to Asia.

Although large screen phones are already popular, some consumers in the region have tighter budgets, and want a product that merges all their electronic needs into a single device, Sundaram said.

“They don’t want to walk around with a phone, tablet and PC,” he said. “This is basically addressing budgetary needs.”

Vendors releasing these products include Samsung, which early on incorporated voice call features into its tablets, along with Asus, Huawei and Lenovo. But smaller vendors such as India’s Micromax and Indonesia’s Advan Digital are also fueling the market with rival tablets.

“We definitely see this as a vendor strategy to help differentiate their products,” Sundaram said. Many of these tablets cost between US$100 to $300.

It’s still not known how many consumers in Asia use their tablets for voice calls. But vendors are marketing the features in their advertisements.

“If we look at advertising campaigns in India, Indonesia, they call it a tablet with voice option,” Sundaram said. Vendors could conceivably put cellular features into all their tablets. But bigger companies such as Samsung might refrain from doing so, to better position their smart phone products, he added.

“From a vendor perspective, they want to target every single kind of device, as opposed to selling one kind of device,” he said. “There are no technical hurdles. It’s more about product strategy.”

Where Is Digital Video Viewing Most Popular?

eMarketer

Internet users around the world are tuning in to digital video—whether it’s to watch long-form content like TV shows or movies, short snackable clips, or even branded video content produced by marketers. And according to research among weekly internet users conducted by TNS in June 2014, web users in South Korea are more likely than their counterparts anywhere else in the world to do so.

178307 Where Is Digital Video Viewing Most Popular?

Penetration in the East Asian country reached nearly 96%, meaning virtually anyone who goes online at least weekly also watches digital video with some frequency. Three other countries boasted penetration rates above nine in 10 internet users: Spain, Italy and Mexico. Penetration in China was nearly as high.

It may appear surprising for some of those countries to lead highly developed internet economies like the UK and US in penetration rates, but since the survey was taken among weekly internet users the numbers are somewhat boosted. Overall internet penetration is relatively low in Mexico or India compared to the US—but those who are online are avid digital video viewers.

177922 Where Is Digital Video Viewing Most Popular?

eMarketer estimates that in the US, 77.3% of monthly internet users will watch digital video at least once per month this year, for a total of 195.6 million viewers. Those figures include viewers of any age.