Posts Tagged ‘ media businesses ’

Are You Part of a Media Company with an Agency or and Agency with a Media Business?

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It seems an article publishes weekly referencing media companies purchasing or building digital agencies in an effort to diversify revenue and expand knowledge base around new technology. Another popular topic these days is about agencies altering their model in order to fit the new model of advertising. A model that includes content marketing and usage of digital tools. 
So, we have media companies trying to act more like an agency and agencies trying to act more like media companies. The reality of this situation is related to primarily designing, creating and selling ads that have impact. Both media companies and advertising agencies want to be experts. Display ads still exist and in some cases still work great, but they are only part of a solution. In today’s ever changing advertising industry it’s critical that an advertiser feel they are getting an all encompassing solution that recognizes the need for a great ad that can reach an audience through search engine tactics, social media, content marketing, blog posts, programmatic, email blasts and a combination of other digital strategies. 

I mentioned a need for a great ad but what is a great ad? Creatively speaking it has to be compelling, eye catching and quickly convey the desired message. Now the hard part. Is it through video, photography, illustrations, blog posts, content written for a specific audience, social media, etc.?  The answer is all of these outlets plus more. More. More. More. But how can a media company or an agency pivot to survive and thrive in this marketing world?

It has to begin with a mindset change. Agencies typically focus on starting with creative design and messaging, then partnering to outsource many of the activities related to distribution of the creative. Some agencies focus on media buying to ensure all bases are covered with distribution sources or aggregation of inventory for distribution. Media companies typically try to remedy the issues with all the new ways to advertise by focusing on, developing or outsourcing a laundry list of products so no matter what an advertiser requests, they have a product to offer.

In order to succeed in today’s market at an agency or media company, the mindset must be to blend. Agencies and media companies have to first start by presenting an advertiser using the worn out term, consultative selling. Agencies can’t just sell the creative and focus on the ads doing all the work and media companies can’t load up the menu with digital products and have sales or marketing representatives choose the right ones for an advertiser. Today requires anyone wanting to help a business navigate the ever changing digital marketing world or marketing in general, the ability to listen to an advertiser and conceptualize what needs to happen on social media versus search engines versus content marketing versus websites versus mobile devices and more. It’s really all about the campaign and desired impact. A thought process around the audience and how they consume information and ultimately the assets needed are the key elements long before a discussion of the tactics or products used to facilitate the desired impact.

I know this may sound simplistic, consultative selling versus product selling but there’s a reason media companies are forming or building agencies and agencies are building out content and digital teams. Media companies want to be part of consultative selling which includes the creative elements including video, photography and design. While agencies are looking to be part of the entire campaign including developing content beyond just an ad and recommending distribution using their own resources  It all starts with a marketing representative listening and building a campaign with multiple elements instead of just selling products the agency or media company has to offer.

It’s critical for success of a media company or agency you let the client win with a successful campaign.  Sales incentives for product sales or legacy knowledge should never drive the decision process in getting to a win for the client.

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Display Ads Don’t Work Anymore: NOW WHAT


I attended several meetings last week in the Bay Area and met with several companies including Google and Pandora.  I’m always energized after spending time with businesses whose sole focus is on the pursuit of digital and the monetization of those efforts.

During the meetings we spent a lot of time talking about the ever changing consumer behavior as it relates to interacting with advertising.  As we all know, display ads are still a major component of most online efforts but with each passing day the advertisers that pay for those ads are asking for more clarity on the success rate.  Jason Del Rey of AdAge wrote a good article on the subject that talked about click throughs becoming irrelevant as a way to measure the success of digital display ads.  Advertisers are starting to talk more about the interaction with the ad which includes hovering over the ad, listening to audio, playing a game integrated in the ad, or other activities.

I am seeing more and more advertisers asking to have their message put into the context of content on the page.  Check out how SAP ad is relevant to content. Advertisers are also asking how social aspects of the content can be integrated into advertising.  Think Facebook.  In other words, the old way of thinking about display ads as relatively static messaging has to change if we want to continue selling to advertisers.

Buzzfeed’s Jonah Peretti  wrote a good article that talked about the importance of moving beyond display ads.  I particularly took note of this quote:

“Peretti sees display ads as artifacts of an earlier Internet era when people went to portals to find content. That era — and its skyscraper and banner ads — has long passed as readers instead turned to search and, more recently, to social networks to find stories.”

I believe the issue of display ads not working as well as they once did is becoming even more critical when you consider the impact of mobile and tablets. Most publishers are seeing desktop page views flattening out and most growth is coming from smart phones and tablets.  Now think about display ads on a smart phone.  It’s a small screen and many advertiser websites are not optimized for smart phones, creating a bad experience.  The answer?  We often create mobile landing pages for our advertisers.

On the tablet, display takes on a whole new meaning.  Using a tablet is an engaging process; consumers are much more interactive using the device. They spend more time, look at more pages, and click on more ads. They are more likely to click on an ad if it takes advantage of the device’s technology, with interactive and social elements. Most advertisers can’t create interactive ads. They need an agency or the publisher to do that for them. Therefore we create tablet landing pages and build interactive and social elements into ads for our advertisers.

So, what’s a publisher to do? Here are some recommendations:

  1. Create mobile and tablet landing pages for your advertisers
  2. Integrate interactive and social elements into ads
  3. Offer advertisers an immersive experience, giving them a role in the content on the page

There are no easy solutions. For anyone. And after sitting with the Pandora execs, one thing I know is no one has it all figured out.  Pandora is doing a great job in getting an audio advertisement to your music station every 20 minutes.  The ad includes a leave-behind display ad.  However unless you have the phone in your hand or you’re sitting at your desktop you won’t see a display ad unless you need to access the screen itself.

And Pandora’s ads are typical display ads that fill the screen on a smart phone, similar to a static display ad. Pandora has a compelling message and audience reach story.  As they evolve in the space my bet is they come up with even more compelling interactive ads for mobile devices.

Everyone has a chance to be successful in the mobile and tablet space as long as they don’t treat it like desktop.  Pandora is making sure they don’t, and my guess is they will be a big winner in selling digital ads for their service.

Google is also really pushing the envelope in thinking about mobile and tablet, but their real knockout punch is still Search.  They are constantly evolving with more progressive advertising on mobile formats and no longer thinking about it as a display ad.

It is going to take a combination of social, display, integrated messaging and interactive elements to win this battle.  My message here is that even the big guys haven’t figured out the secret sauce as display ages and new formats evolve and progress for all our mobile devices.  Keep trying new things and don’t get caught trying to repurpose old formats.

Audience Acquisition with iPad Product “The Peel” Is it working?

Back in May 2011 we launched our tablet publishing effort (The Peel) seeking to attract a younger demographic utilizing Apple’s iPad.  It has been an exciting, yet daunting task.  Today, I am happy to say we are making great progress.  When we set out on this journey, we laid out milestones that we wanted to reach within a year.  The key milestones were 20,000 loyal users and a primary audience in the 35-45 year old demographic, 50,000 downloads, deep user engagement of at least 8 minutes per session and advertiser acceptance.  I have been receiving calls from industry friends fairly regularly since the launch of The Peel asking how we are doing.  Many of those calls from traditional media businesses still trying to figure out if they should pursue an audience acquisition strategy similar to what we have done.  We believe we are heading in the right direction with this product.  As The Peel continues to show good results, we will be adding another tablet product focused on a traditional newspaper audience in the 50+ age demographic.   I thought everyone might like to see how we have done after 8 months of publishing The Peel, so I included an infographic on the topic.  Our strategy is paying off.

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