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Does Your Digital Content Play the Dating Game?

IDG Connect 0811 Does Your Digital Content Play the Dating Game?

There is a strong tendency to put the date of publication on digital content assets or mention a time period within them. Doing that changes an asset to have a limited shelf life as the assets time clock starts ticking. And tick it does, as B2B buying team members are less patient then in the past when it comes to assets they consider too old.

Four years ago IDG Connect conducted extensive buyer preference research among enterprise organizations. At that time, buyers stated that a asset was considered too old if it was 14 months or more past its offering or publication date. It’s important to note that once an asset went beyond 18 months, buyers stated that it negatively affected their perception of the vendor. The benchmark was clear, and content management required keeping content fresh enough for buyer needs.

Now that age baseline has shifted, compressing the acceptable limits of content before it is considered old. New global research conducted by IDG Connect among enterprise buyers in the US and United Kingdom reveal that in both markets content is considered old after 10 months and has negative impact on perception after 13 months. But there are some clear ways for vendors to avoid negative perception among buyers who prefer content currency.

1. Avoid Unnecessary Dating: Look at you asset portfolio and confirm your tendency to inadvertently highlight content that is dated with a limited shelf life. Those limitations can come from something as simple as the asset identification system you use. If the date of publication is part of your numbering and tracking method, consider making a change to something that is coded, so you understand from the system the date of the asset but that will not be clear to those that consume it.

2. Set Dated Asset Standards: Set standards for content that requires dating. This can include assets that present market research.  Some content types do require dating. One area is assets that include research where buyers want  assurance that they consume insight that reflects current sentiment or trends. For that type of content, insure that you have set refresh points to update the findings. Vendors should conduct research to periodically refresh their view of market conditions even if it is for internal purposes. But both in  cases for external thought leadership or internal strategy and planning, make it an annual event at a minimum.

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Survey finds teens still tiring of Facebook, prefer Instagram

CNET

Internet analysts at Piper Jaffray have both good news and bad news for the world’s largest social network: Teens continue to lose interest in Facebook but are showing an increasing appetite for Instagram, a Facebook property.

The mixed-bag news comes from the investment bank and asset management firm’s semi-annual survey of upper-income and average-income teens in the US. Piper Jaffray’s spring 2014 report Taking Stock With Teens, published Tuesday, surveyed around 5,000 teens, and includes findings spanning fashion, video games, Apple products, and social networks.

“We saw Instagram take the mantle for the most preferred social teen site,” Piper Jaffray senior analyst and managing director Gene Munster said.

Thirty percent of surveyed teens chose Instagram as their most important social network, making it the top social property for youngsters for the first time in the history of the survey.

“Just to recap the changes over the last six months,” Munster said, “interest level in Facebook went from 27 [percent] to 23 [percent], Twitter 31 [percent] to 27 [percent], Instagram 27 [percent] to 30 [percent].”

Just one year ago, Facebook was the preferred social network for roughly 33 percent of teens, marking a relatively steep decline in interest from an important audience in a short amount of time. The report, then, adds to a mounting pile of evidence suggesting that teens, in search of a more fun zone, are tiring of Facebook.

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Twitter’s Vine Introduces Direct Video Messaging

TechCrunch

Twitter’s Vine has introduced a feature that allows you to message other users directly via video. This adds both a direct messaging channel and video clips to its messages, a big addition to Twitter’s video app.

There is a direct parallel to be drawn here between Instagram’s Direct image messaging feature, obviously — and it goes hand in hand with Twitter’s renewed interest in its direct messaging channel. The allegory is interesting, as there isn’t a lot of public evidence that Direct has had any real traction. Still, it allows Twitter to experiment with video messaging in a separate silo, and it does make some sense to start with Vine before adding video messaging to Twitter.

You create a new Vine message by tapping on the Messages section, recording a video and sending it off. You can send to multiple recipients, but all of the conversations are one-to-one — much like competing messaging app Snapchat. If you send to multiple people, you’ll get separate threads for each one.

Notably, you can send Vine messages directly to anyone in your address book, regardless of whether they have Vine or not. This leverages your “private graph” in a similar way to WhatsApp’s early strategy. Twitter is likely hoping that this will spur growth much in the same way.

Offering a backchannel will also allow users to side-step the increasingly polished and professional community of Vine creators. This doubtlessly creates a barrier that stops some people from sharing because it’s not “good enough” to sit in their feeds. Like Snapchat, this allows people to post silly, stupid or funny videos that may not be as polished — or as pretty — directly to their friends.

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App use dominates mobile browser use, but what does that mean for news content?

Poynter

The latest report from Flurry shows mobile users are spending the vast majority of their time with mobile apps, not with mobile Web browsers. So far in 2014, iOS and Android users have spent 86 percent of time with their devices using apps, up from 80 percent in 2013.

That certainly reflects how airlines, food delivery services, ride-sharing startups, and of course Facebook have embraced native apps over the mobile Web, to the delight of users. But the takeaway might be different for news organizations, whose apps still account for a rather small slice of time spent on mobile.

In January, Flurry reported that overall mobile use grew 115 percent in 2013, while the news and magazines category grew just 31 percent.

Cory Bergman of Breaking News has argued that news organizations need to offer apps with real utility in order to capture a bigger slice of the pie. As hewrote for Poynter, “simply extending a news organization’s current coverage into mobile isn’t enough.”

The value of apps like Breaking News and Circa, which aggregate information from all kinds of news sites and make use of push notifications on mobile devices, is that they offer features beyond what mobile websites do. That’s not the case for lots of other native news apps that merely mimic the Web experience.

But what’s interesting about many of the news apps that solve problems — Breaking News with its customizable alerts, Facebook Paper with its news-reading capabilities, and The New York Times’ forthcoming NYT Now with links to outside news sources — is that they are still deeply integrated with the Web. They connect users to Web content.

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Yahoo reportedly launching YouTube rival

Computerworld

Reports are circulating that Yahoo is looking to launch a video site that would go up against Google’s behemoth YouTube.

The rumors largely stem from a Re/Code report late last week that cited anonymous sources saying Yahoo is looking to not only launch a YouTube competitor in the next few months but also is trying to pluck some of the video-sharing site’s stars and favorite networks.

A Yahoo spokeswoman declined to comment on the report.

However, Yahoo, and its CEO Marissa Mayer, have been trying to gain some traction in the online world, pulling the company back to the top where it started years ago. Yahoo was once an Internet pioneer but the years, and competitors like Google and Facebook, pushed the company back into the shadows.

Mayer, who was a top executive at Google before coming to Yahoo, wants to turn that slide around. Grabbing some of the audience from YouTube would be a huge step in making that happen.

“If Yahoo wants to be at the center of people’s entertainment, they need a video service,” said Patrick Moorhead, an analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy. “YouTube is a free-for-all video service from cat videos to trailers to real content. Yahoo has a chance to provide less, but better content.”

Earlier this month, Mayer, speaking at the annual 4As conference, said she is focusing the company’s time and money on search, mail, mobile, social media and video.

There have been earlier signs that Yahoo wants to step up its presence in video. Last May, reports circulated that Yahoo was in talks to acquire Hulu, a video site known for streaming TV shows and movies, for as much as $800 million. The purchase never came through as Hulu’s owners canceled plans to sell the company.

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The latest publisher subscription model: memberships

Digiday

A digital media riddle for 2014: When is a subscription more than just a subscription? Answer: When it’s a membership.

In response to incredible shrinking ad revenue and mounting pressure to diversify their revenue streams, publishers are increasingly building out tertiary businesses like brand content studios and research products. But at a handful of niche outlets, publishers are experimenting with something more akin to the public radio model: more inclusive membership experiences for its most-avid readers.

Adherents of the membership model —  from the National Journal, The Guardian and tech blog Pando – claim memberships can both pull in more dollars and develop more engaged audiences. It is, they say, more than just a semantic variation on the subscription.

“Memberships are a fundamentally better way for us to serve our audience. We can start a dialogue with our audience and ask them what’s keeping them awake at night and give them solutions,” said Poppy MacDonald, publisher and co-president of National Journal, the Atlantic Media-owned magazine aimed at Washington insiders.

National Journal’s membership program, which it started three years ago, gives readers perks like weekly policy summaries, access to its policymaker database, and networking events for “modest four- to high-five-figure investment” a month. Reader response has been significant by itself, MacDonald said, but it’s also had ancillary effects on the National Journal’s existing subscription businesses: The magazine’s membership program has helped boost its formerly slumping magazine renewal rates to “well above” the 85 percent industry average.

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What went wrong at Digital First Media — and what’s next?

Poynter

The announced shutdown of Digital First Media’s national newsroomWednesday and the probable sale of its 75 daily newspapers later this year is a significant jolt to those who believe a viable business model for rapid transformation of legacy operations is close at hand.

CEO John Paton’s explanation in his blog that the company has decided to dismantle Project Thunderdome “to go in a new direction” barely hints at the converging economic troubles.

Most basically, the very able editor Jim Brady (a Poynter National Advisory Board member) and his lieutenants were like a crack auto racing team trying to succeed in a highly competitive field driving Chevy Cobalts.

The two companies that were merged into Digital First, Journal Register and MediaNews, have both been through bankruptcies, Journal Register twice. Both had been under-invested for years in content management systems and other essential technology.

Steve Buttry, who was just months into “Project Unbolt” to hasten the break from print habits to digital, told me the four pilot papers for that project all had different CMSes, none of them especially good.

It is myth, embraced by digital future-of-news enthusiasts, that Web publishing is close to free. Paton seemed of that view early in his tenure when he asked newsrooms to use mainly free tools to put out their reports for a week.

But in his most recent manifesto/speech to the Online Publishers Association in January, he said he was looking for another $100 million to invest in the company’s digital activities on top of an earlier $100 million.

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A Call for Digital Content Standards

IDG Connect 0811 A Call for Digital Content Standards

IT buyer frustration with finding the right marketing content to make informed purchase decisions is of great concern. Irrelevant content is a reality to a degree, but when buyers have to unnecessarily consume it because its title or description is unclear, general, or positioning fluff, it adds length to their decision timelines. For vendors, our voice of the buyer research continues to show that such low relevance is a big barrier to inclusion among a shortlist of finalists. Content creators must clarify the potential relevance of any given asset up front by giving each one some profile information for quick consideration by buyers and/or systems.

Without the ability to pre-judge a piece of content, buyers will be forced to waste more and more time wading through assets that don’t help, which adds over 20% to the time it takes to make decisions.   Want evidence? Only five years ago, buyers found relevant content about fifty percent of the time. New IDG Connect research of enterprise buyers within the US reveals the relevance hovers just over forty percent and it adds about 3.5 weeks to the buying cycle. Add on that buyers want to self-search and are busy and impatient and one thing is clear: vendors, agencies and media organizations must take more responsibility to speed the process of how one confirms the degree of relevance of a piece of content without requiring its consumption to do so. That process of force feeding is simply unfair.

IDG Connect proposes standards around how digital content is cataloged and profile information is shared with buyers and automated systems to speed getting relevant content to those who need it most. A content identification method can be simple and powerful to help increase the value of offered content.

The need is all about unintelligent assets. Beyond a clever title, they carry little that identifies them by audience, buying stage or the recently minted term persona.  Here is how we can do this.

Document-based assets should have a given location that lists its profile attributes. Rich media should do the same through abstract or description information that are attached to audio, video, tools or games. Your identification tag does not have to be like those of every other vendor. In fact, you choose attributes from among many to label the asset. You do this based on how you segment your audience and look for those attributes that will be most helpful. The ultimate number offered will be driven by the product or service, its complexity, the audience and asset scope. Here are some examples where I’ve defined the attribute for example purposes:

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Late to the enterprise mobility party, Microsoft arrives with big plans

CITEworld

After last week’s launch of Office for iPad, the announcement of the Microsoft’s Enterprise Mobility Suite, and the news from the company’s BUILD conference this week, it seems that Microsoft has finally gotten to the enterprise mobility party in terms of devices and in terms of infrastructure.

With Windows Phone 8.1, the company is finally building a range of enterprise security and management capabilities into its mobile platform. Microsoft is also making it easier for developers to write code that crosses all of its platforms, something that’s useful for consumer, business, and enterprise app development.

While most of the focus this week has been on devices and developer resources, Microsoft is also making some powerful plays in terms of enterprise mobility infrastructure. When I spoke with Microsoft vice president Brad Anderson back in January, it was clear that Microsoft had high aspirations in terms of entering the enterprise mobility space. At the time, Intune’s mobile management capabilities were far from complete  – and, for iOS and Android, they still are below the benchmarks of many EMM vendors at this point. But it was clear that Microsoft was going to be making rapid improvements and expanding the scope of its capabilities.

The scale of that strategy came into focus as Satya Nadella announced Office for iPad alongside a new vision of Microsoft as a “mobile-first and cloud-first company.”

The Enterprise Mobility Suite builds together a range of technologies that are likely to add up to being more than the sum of their parts.

The suite builds on the multi-platform mobile management capabilities that Microsoft began implementing last year and advanced in January. Those capabilities, part of the company’s  Intune cloud-based device management solution, included support for managing iOS and Android devices in addition to devices running various flavors of Windows.

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The Ins And Outs Of Buying Media Via RTB

MediaPost

RTB is growing even faster that we expected. eMarketer predicts that U.S. advertisers will spend $8.69 billion on RTB ads by 2017. RTB’s growth isn’t just from display advertising — it’s now rapidly expanding into mobile and video, and some even predict that it will eventually move to TV.

There are many ins and outs of buying media over RTB, which can be confusing for brands that are just beginning to enter the marketplace. The variables in pricing, management systems and types of campaign deliveries can be daunting. Here’s what we’ve learned along the road to successfully delivered ad impressions:

Valuing a Bid

There is a level of sophistication that brands must take into account when it comes to bid management, and I’m not convinced it is as prevalent in the market as many may think. It’s pretty obvious that flat-bid pricing exists, since many bids are won around “round numbers” like $1 or $1.50. If the market was truly using really variable bid pricing, it would be highly unlikely for those bid numbers to remain as static as they do. Although publishers setting (round number) floors on their pricing is one reason that prices don’t fall further.

Sophisticated players value every bid differently as they let the data inform/determine the market value of the person you are bidding for. Data such as context, time of day and ad sequence all add up to give a specific value at any given moment in time. The only way to do this is to have optimization engines that can calculate bids based on outcomes you are looking for (CPA, CPC, or other metrics).

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