Reasons Pubs Should Consider Mobile Apps

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Almost 30 years ago, the internet reshaped the way people interact and engage with published content. Now, mobile devices ­– likes phones and tablets – are doing it again. Estimates show that 60% of the web traffic related to consuming news and publisher content is coming from mobile devices, meaning mobile is a medium that needs to be leveraged.

This said, this is not an “if you build it, they will come” scenario. Publishers need to be conscientious about their decisions, and take strategic action, and right now, the data says that if you are going to leverage mobile, you do so via a mobile app, and here’s why!

1. Boasts better, targeted engagement

The majority of time spent on mobile devices is dedicated to time in applications, not on the general web browser. This alone makes a mobile app a valuable asset if you are targeting mobile audiences, but add the fact that app users average 300% more page views than mobile web browser users, and the answer is clear.

2. Personalized, branded experience

Websites these days are often dynamic, built to fit whatever device a user is on. However, just because the website conforms to the device does not mean it is ideal for it. The experience someone has from sitting at a computer is very different from that on a phone or tablet. Not to mention, on the internet, everyone is just a click away from leaving your content and going to someone else’s content. An app fully immerses the user in your brand while also making the brand experience 100% mobile optimized.

3. App Ads Are Better Than Mobile Ads

To put an ad on a website, especially one that conforms to the user’s device, requires cookies. Think of them like little trackers that follow someone around as they are on the internet. The problem is that many new security protocols, or the user themselves, can block cookies, making many ads not work. App ads, however, are not in a browser, and usually target by device ID, which is much more secure, more detailed (demographic and behavioral data), and also can track location. It is simply a better, stronger ad opportunity, not to mention the guaranteed exposure to anyone in the app itself.

4. More Revenue More Ways

From more ad options to subscriptions, in-app purchases, e-commerce opportunities, and even sponsored content, mobile apps give publishers several new ways to attract readers and monetize them. Combined with the engagement, branding, and data that an app provides, all of which also provide further revenue growth, and the evidence is clear: if you are going to leverage mobile, do so with an app!

Further Information

Contact us to learn more about how you can take advantage of a mobile app.

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E-Learning Proves Profitable for Publishers

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Print publishers are always looking for new profit opportunities, especially in today’s digital age. E-Learning is a digital avenue that can tie into any publisher’s magazine and compliment print. The e-learning industry is already a $165 billion industry (as of 2015), but estimates are showing it being as large as $275 billion by 2022, and part of that epic growth is likely to come from publishers.

Magazines, particularly niche titles, have very specific topics that they showcase an expertise in. After all, that topic is the crux of the content the publisher produces, and why readers are drawn to that title. It makes complete sense that if they enjoy topical learning, readers would likely also have an interest in deeper learning, which is where e-learning has its potential for publishers.

Think of it as advanced content for the reader. Take a yoga title for example. They cover a large amount of content, but what if a reader is new to yoga, and wants help learning the basics. Why should they go elsewhere to access actual training or exercises when the magazine can work with a pro, record a bunch of tutorial videos, and make them an upsell option? That title could even produce new content consistently and have multiple subscription tiers.

E-learning can be leveraged for any topic, or a spectrum of them. The one thing to note is that, like any other potential revenue stream, there is both a time and monetary investment needed to make e-learning a viable part of a publisher’s business. It needs to be thought out, investigation on the topic and competition in that e-learning realm need to take place, and most of all, the publisher needs to know if they have the bandwidth to create the content consistently.

Further Information

For examples and further detail on how publishers are leveraging e-learning, click here.

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New Magazines from Unlikely Sources

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The print industry has had some strange movement over the past decade, especially in the magazine landscape. That said, print has never “died,” nor will it do so a very long time, if ever. The proof is that, while the dynamic of how to make magazines profitable has altered drastically, there are more magazines today than there were 10 years ago. A lot more, in fact!

One of the biggest sources for this boost in new magazines is from the least likely of places: digital and online service organizations. In their industry, print is an uncommon form of distribution, and a way to exercise a unique marketing opportunity. It also allows them to venture into the world of content distribution that, on their digital and online platforms, may not fit their model. Here are two perfect examples.

Case Study: Dating app “Bumble”

Bumble is a popular social and dating app that has been around for almost 5 years. It is a mobile-only application designed to shake up the gender norms re: woman and dating rules, allowing women a place to connect for dating, networking or meeting online. Just recently though, Bumble decided to broaden its focus beyond just connecting people and facilitating communication, by developing a print lifestyle magazine.

The magazine focuses on content related to what brings users to Bumble: dating, careers, friendships, and partnership. They even went so far as to create 4 sections in the entire magazine into 4 sections, labeled “You First,” You + BFFs,” “You + Dating,” and “You + Bizz.”  The print publication is exclusive to Bumble’s 50+ million users at the moment, with free copies able to be requested on the app, but the potential for it to scale into the general reading market is likely based on the contributors.

Case Study: Travel site Airbnb

Airbnb took the world by storm by offering an in-house solution to hotels and motels; connect people willing to lend their homes out with people needing short-term vacation rentals, business trip housing, or other travel accommodations. The company focused on helping travelers have creature comforts and feel at home while on the go,  and they expanded that in 2017 with a print publication.

The content leverages anonymous user activity on the Airbnb website to determine locations, events, trips, and travel ideas that are popular, and then crafts custom content for the publication on those topics. It not only provided new revenue options for the already thriving company, but answered a lot of questions that current Airbnb users were asking, and could not find answers to elsewhere.

Further Information

For more detail on about Bumble’s print magazine, click here. You can also check out this article about Airbnb Magazine.

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Publishers and Subscription Video-On-Demand

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As the publishing industry continues to evolve, publishers are beginning to investigate and try new forms of content distribution to add to their mix. Currently, one of the most unique options is subscription video-on-demand.

What is Subscription Video-On-Demand (SVOD):

Cable and satellite are directly delivered program video, requiring the viewer to watch based on the pre-set schedule; if you want to watch 60 Minutes, you have to be on your couch at the right time on the right day. This is what is commonly known as traditional video, and while publishers can leverage it, it is not an ideal medium in most cases.

Youtube is the most common example of video on-demand (VOD), the opposite of traditional video. VOD is a service that provides internet-based video that can be watched anywhere at any time, hence the “cutting the cord” terminology that gets thrown around a lot. Most VOD content is user-generated and would not include content that is normally accessible through cable or satellite.

That is where options like Hulu and Netflix come in. These are subscription video on-demand, or SVOD services. The “anywhere, any time” concept is maintained, and content that would normally be found on cable or satellite is also included. It comes with a small subscription fee, but it is more affordable than traditional video options, and more and more video content producers are starting to include SVOD in their content distribution strategies, if not shifting to this form of distribution only.

How Can Publishers Use SVOD:

Publications are the owners of the subscription market. Sure, not every publication uses a subscription model, but the system was built for and by publications. It is about time it took authority in that realm once again. Subscription video-on-demand is a great place to start!

Video in general is a highly-consumed form of content, which means professional content producers like publishers should be leveraging it. It can provide a unique angle that complements editorial, or can cover content that might be hard to express in editorial. Using video just makes sense for publishers, especially when you consider that with SVOD, your content itself can be monetized.

Second, video does not have to be a massive, terribly expensive undertaking. The attention span for video is much shorter than that for written content, so you only need each video to be a few minutes to generate results. Also, with smart phones that wield incredibly high-tech cameras and numerous, affordable editing softwares, it is easy to shoot and produce quality video content on a budget. Considering that SVOD generates revenue, developing a strategy that balances video content costs can ensure profits from SVOD.

Third, subscription video is easy content to distribute. Publications today already have a social media presence and websites, and both those options have numerous ways to set up subscription-based video content distribution. A publisher can also sell their video content to larger subscription video services, like Amazon Prime, who already have a massive audience and subscription setup, and distribute the content on the publisher’s behalf for a fee.

The SVOD Decisions Publishers Face:

The most important thing for publishers to know is that VIDEO IS NOT FOR EVERYONE! While publishers as a whole benefit from SVOD and video in general, each case is unique; there are audiences who are not a right fit for video content, and visa versa. Publishers should investigate their audience and test before jumping on the video bandwagon.

If video is right for the audience and publication, the next hurdle is picking the content. It is not simply a question of what content the audience prefers, because some topics or content cannot be made into video format easily or in a short-form fashion. The publisher will need to develop a strategy to determine when editorial content can be expanded with video, or when topics can be made into standalone video.

SVOD also brings up the lifetime value issue. Many publications make their money with time-sensitive or time-contextual content. For video, this is a great option, but from a subscription standpoint, the content should be developed to provide value long-term. Of course, if a publisher develops enough video content consistently, this becomes mute, but for the publishers that prefer to do only a few videos a month, long-term value is how you ensure subscribers stick around, and new subscribers buy in.

The biggest challenge for publishers looking to leverage SVOD relates to distribution. SVOD may be easy to deliver, but it does take skill and setup if a publisher wants to rely on their own channels, and not a service like Amazon Prime. The system to accept payments and manage the subscriptions needs to be built or integrated into the existing subscription system. The means to host all of the video content needs to be dealt with. Most importantly, a strategy to drive traffic and sell those subscriptions needs to be made (bundle with print subscription, offer exclusive content to increase the value, etc.).

In general, video and SVOD provide value when executed well and for the right reasons. These decisions all help determine the worth to invest in SVOD, as well as how to ensure it has positive ROI if implemented.

Further Information

To read more on how publishers can leverage subscription video on-demand, click here. For information on how publishers can make use of video in general, click here.

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2019 Strategy & Ideas from Top Publication Execs

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A recent Folio: article covered an incredibly powerful story for magazines regarding the 2019 year. The article features 9 media executives, all of whom have print publications, and details on the strategies they have in mind for the new year. Here are some of the general takeaways:

What did they learn from 2018:

The lessons and ideas these executives took from the previous year run the gamut. That said, there was one overarching theme for almost all of the executives: people are the most important aspect of keeping print and publishing a thriving industry.

2018 was a year where newspapers and magazines alike sought to lower overhead and drive more revenue. One of the big pushes was to decrease staff (the largest expense, on average), and increase advertisement sales. While this helped solve issues for some, overall it scared the industry. Content does not write itself, and quality content is hard to come by these days. Losing staff means more strain and work for those left, and when quantity is forced, quality suffers.

The executives all agreed that putting faith and energy and money into their staff can make the difference. To quote the original story: “the difference between success and failure will come down to the most important capital we have: people.”

What are they focusing on for 2019:

First and foremost, the 9 mentioned executives were all from businesses that avoided the heavy cutting of their staff. Thus, they were able to maintain quality content and look for new innovations for 2019.

So on top of optimizing the way they use their personnel, each executive has their own action plan for 2019. Some of the executives are planning to relaunch their brands to drive new engagement. Others developing new business models to expand their streams of revenue. Some are investing in new content solutions of entirely new product lines. What is important to note is that, across the board, all of them are looking at 2019 with positivity, and as an opportunity for growth and progress.

Along with positivity, they do also share a drive to expand beyond the pages of their publications, print or digital. Each of these executives is incorporating an idea that has been slowly adopted by the printing industry over the past decade: convergence. Simply put, specialize in one thing, but build an expertise and offering in complementary areas to your specialty. From events to storefronts to agencies, each executive and their publications are broadening what they do, to better serve both their audiences and other businesses.

Further Information

To read the original Folio: story, click here.
Executive Perspectives: How 9 Media Leaders are Strategizing for the New Year

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Facebook Instant Articles Further Improved to Help Publishers

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Facebook has had a lot of ups and downs when it comes to working with publishers. In the past year, everything from “fake news” catching algorithms to video metric misinformation has plagued the media giant. However, there have been some beneficial strides as well, and Instant Articles is the greatest of these.

Instant Articles are a way to directly connect professional editorial content to the Facebook newsfeed. The idea is to simplify the ease of access for readers to high-quality content. Content providers include magazines, newspapers, and other professional content producers. Instant Articles provide another means to monetize Facebook by providing subscription models and advertising capabilities as well.

The idea behind Instant Articles was always to help content producers reach readers where they actually consume content, social media. For that reason, each time Instant Articles are optimized, it is either for the improvement of access to content or to make providing content easier.

The most recent improvements to Instant Articles include cutting down development time for publishers, making it easier to integrate with the subscription/paywall system, and a call-to-action screen to urge readers to follow a publisher on Facebook. Future improvements include the ability to target posts specifically to subscribers, integrate existing website subscriber lists, and to adjust the content distribution algorithm for continued improvement of reach to ideal readerships.

It is important to remember that social media channels exist for the benefit of the end user, the readership. That means Facebook will implement changes to improve the user experience at the expense of helping publishers and other organizations. Therefore, publishers need to be wary and protect their brands. It is best to consult with a social media professional who specializes in working with publishers.

Further Information

To learn more about what Instant Articles are, click hereTo see more information on the recent updates to Facebook Instant Articles, click here.

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Image courtesy of Facebook Instant Articles
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