Sunday, August 31, 2014

How tablet advertising differs from mobile advertising: Key metrics

TabTimes reporting:
While tablet advertising is usually considered as part of the broader mobile advertising category, a recent survey points to key differences in formats and performance.
Medialets, who operates a mobile ad serving platform, recently compiled data from campaigns run across its network on both smartphones and tablets from January to June 2014.
Here are some key findings:
  • Tablets get only 12% of all ad impressions served on mobile devices.
  • The average click-through rate on ads (CTR) is 44% higher on tablets than on phones (0.59% vs. 0.41%)
  • The delta in CTR is even stronger for static ads: They are clicked 53% more frequently on tablets (0.81%) than on handsets (0.53%)
  • Interstitials --or full-screen static ads-- are clicked 6 times more on tablets than smartphones.
  • The three best-performing static ad formats on tablets are:
1) traditional 300x250 medium rectangle
2) full screen ad
3) horizontal “leaderboard” banner (728x90 or 994x90)

Research shows that if you remove anonymity, you won’t hear from most of your readers

gigaom reporting:
Many media outlets seem to believe that by forcing readers to use their real identities, they will solve the problem of bad comments — but in reality, all they are doing is making it less likely that most of their readers will ever respond to their content...
Many online publishers and journalists believe that there’s a simple solution to the problem of internet comments — the trolls, the flame-wars, and so on — and that is to require that people use “real” identities, usually by forcing them to login with Facebook or some other external service. But as I’ve argued a number of times, doing this only appears to solve the problem, while creating an even larger one: namely, that by removing the option to be anonymous, media companies will never hear from a majority of their readers.

...As Livefyre points out, there are a number of ways that sites can cut down on bad behavior, including pre-moderation. But the best way — as long-time blogger Anil Dash pointed out in a post in 2011 — is to actually engage in the comments with members of your reader community, and even set up ways for them to help you moderate. Some new-media sites such as the crowdfunded De Correspondent in the Netherlands see their commenters as partners rather than antagonists, or use tools like Gawker’s Kinja platform to make it easier for readers to become contributing members of the community....

Journalism and the internet: Is it the best of times? No — but it’s not the worst of times either

gigaom reporting:

Writer David Sessions argues in a piece at Patrol magazine that journalism is worse because of the effects of the internet — but most of the things that he and others complain about have been a part of the media business for hundreds of years, including clickbait
Having just written what I consider a defense of the internet’s effect on journalism and the media industry, I didn’t expect to have to do it again so soon. But just after Andrew Leonard’s short-sighted piece in Salon about how the internet has crippled journalism, David Sessions wrote on the same topic in Patrol magazine, and arguably did an even worse job of describing the current state of journalism, calling it a morass of “cynical, unnecessary, mind-numbing, time-wasting content.”
It’s not just the over-riding pessimism of both of these pieces that bothers me. It’s the failure to appreciate that the complaints they have are the same ones that have been made about journalism for decades — combined with the unrestrained longing for some mythical golden age of journalism....
..Is this the best of times for journalism? No. But it’s hardly the worst of times either. The fact is that there was no “golden age of journalism.” Journalism has always been a messy and chaotic and venal undertaking in many ways — the internet didn’t invent that. All the web has done is provide us with more ways to produce and distribute both ephemeral nonsense and serious journalism in greater quantities. The good part is that it has also made it easier to find the things we care about. What we choose to do with that power, as always, is up to us.

When it comes to chasing clicks, journalists say one thing but feel pressure to do another

Nieman Journalism Lab reporting:
Newsroom ethnographer Angèle Christin studied digital publications in France and the U.S. in order to compare how performance metrics influence culture....
In my research, I analyze online news in two countries, the United States and France, which have different journalistic traditions. I rely on ethnographic methods, a mix of observations and interviews, to systematically compare what editors and writers say about their work with what they actually do when they are in front of their computers.  ..
Several factors explain why journalists react differently to web metrics, including the size and age of the website, its financial situation, its editorial line, the age of the staffers, their career background (print or web), the management style of the organization, and the country in which this takes place...
In other words, all media sites now rely on web analytics to make editorial decisions. But this does not mean that they all use and interpret metrics in similar ways. In fact, each editorial department makes sense of traffic numbers differently. There is not one but several “cultures of the click.”...
Journalism has a double nature. It is both a public good and a commodity. With the multiplication of web metrics, good and bad, new strategies are needed to protect editorial independence from market forces. The need to find workable arrangements between editorial ambitions and economic realities is as old as journalism itself. It is also the only possible way to secure the future of the media, online.

When does giving the reader what they want turn into clickbait? It’s complicated

gigaom reporting:
The outrage over clickbait is really just a symptom of the change from a one-way, broadcast model of journalism to one in which we actually know what readers want to read — and it’s not always what we think they should
The conventional wisdom is that clickbait is the bane of internet journalism, a kind of desperate pandering by revenue-challenged media companies aimed at racking up eyeballs — driven by the relentless economics of pageview-driven advertising. But what is it really? Everyone thinks they know it when they see it, and Facebook is even trying to ban it from the network, but defining it is harder than it seems. In fact, the dividing line between clickbait and serving the interests of the reader is a lot more blurry than the conventional wisdom suggests.
What got me thinking about this again was a Nieman Lab post by ethnographer Angèle Christin, who has been looking at the impact that audience metrics and analytics have had on digital journalism in the U.S. and France. Christin — a post-doctoral fellow at the New School for Social Research — spent two years observing and interviewing journalists and bloggers about analytics, and studying the way newsrooms are being changed by the web.
Many argue that an obsession with metrics has put journalists on a “hamster wheel” and driven the quality of online journalism to new depths (an argument I’ve tried to refute a number of times), to the point where some media outlets don’t even allow their writers to see the metrics related to their work, for fear of distorting their motives. But in many ways, “clickbait” is just a natural outgrowth of the evolution in journalism from a one-way broadcast approach to a two-way model — in other words, from push to pull, or from supply-driven to demand-driven.
...Has this transformation resulted in more clickbait and pandering? Undoubtedly it has. But it has also arguably resulted in more content that readers actually want to read, as opposed to producing reams of newspaper articles that no one ever makes it to the end of, just because some random editor thought it was important. And that’s probably a good thing.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Ferguson’s citizen journalists revealed the value of an undeniable video

dangillmore in guardian reporting:

ferguson men cell phones
There’s a lot of power in these men’s hands. Photograph: Jeff Roberson / AP
In Ferguson, Missouri this week, the public has turned the notion of “see something, say something” back on the state, via a digital tool of enormous power: online pictures and video. Their efforts – which began days before reporters descended when Twitter user @TheePharaoh posted pictures immediately after a police officer killed an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown – have helped bring international attention to both Brown’s death and law enforcement’s disproportionate response to the ensuing protests.
Antonio French, an alderman in nearby St Louis, spent days posting to Twitter pictures and a series of videos of the demonstrations and police actions that he captured on his mobile phone – and was reportedly arrested and then released on Wednesday evening. He is a citizen journalist of the best kind: a credible witness who has helped inform the wider public about a critical matter. Can anyone plausibly doubt that he and the two professional journalists who were briefly taken into custody after police demanded they stop recording were targeted because they were documenting law enforcement actions?
Ferguson isn’t the first example of this kind of citizen journalism, which has been going on for years in any number of other places including Iran, Egypt, Occupy Wall Street and Syria. But the videos, blog posts, tweets, and photos from French and others on the ground have complemented the work of the traditional journalists on the scene – and have reminded us of what is becoming a civic duty in today’s America.

Majority Of U.S. Digital Media Consumption Now Takes Place In Mobile Apps

TechCrunch reporting:
U.S. users are now spending the majority of their time consuming digital media within mobile applications, according to a new study released by comScore this morning. That means mobile apps, including the number 1 most popular app Facebook, eat up more of our time than desktop usage or mobile web surfing, accounting for 52% of the time spent using digital media. Combined with mobile web, mobile usage as a whole accounts for 60% of time spent, while desktop-based digital media consumption makes up the remaining 40%.
Apps today are driving the majority of media consumption activity, the report claims, now accounting for 7 our of every 8 minutes of media consumption on mobile devices. On smartphones, app activity is even higher, at 88% usage versus 82% on tablets.

App Users

The report also details several interesting figures related to how U.S. app users are interacting with these mobile applications, noting that over one-third today download at least one application per month. The average smartphone user downloads 3 apps per month.
However, something which may not have been well understood before is that much of that download activity is concentrated within a small segment of the smartphone population: the top 7% of smartphone owners accounting for nearly half of all the download activity in a given month. Those are some serious power users, apparently.
But no matter how often consumers are actively downloading apps, they certainly are addicted to them. More than half (57%) use apps every single day, while 26% of tablet owners do. And 79% of smartphone owners use apps nearly every day, saying they use them at least 26 days per month, versus 52% for tablet users.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The newest important person in newsrooms: audience-development czars

Digiday reporting:
The New York Times’ Innovation Report pointed out the need for audience-development specialists to get Times content in front of more readers. While the Times called for a new, cross-departmental approach to this function, other news outlets have already been putting more muscle behind the role.
In the past four years, The Washington Post two-person search-traffic team morphed into a nine-member staff that also oversees a new breaking-news desk. Slate hired its first director of traffic and social media strategy a few years ago, Katherine Goldstein, now editor of Vanity Fair’s site,, which it has grown to a three-person team. Time Inc.’s Time and Entertainment Weekly have added audience development czars (and czarinas) in their newsrooms as well.
The Times itself is starting to apply the recommendations from its own report. Last week, it named Alex MacCallum assistant managing editor to be in charge of “expanding The Times’s audience and deepening its engagement with Times journalism.” Executive editor Dean Baquet and editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal, to whom she’ll report, said in a memo that she’ll build a team using search, social and other strategies to grow audience..

Friday, August 8, 2014

Content Can't Be King Without Context

MediaPost reporting:
Making context integral to content
In this framework, context is the measure of matching a user’s profile with relevant content in the right environment. As targeted advertising and programmatic buying become de facto in ad sales, systems need to become more sophisticated and more human. Brands need to move beyond targeting people based solely on who they are, and shift toward targeting based on what that individual is doing right now.
Content (advertising or otherwise) needs to be responsive to the total environment in which it is served. Digital advertising and content recommendations precisely targeted to the right users are complex processes, but emerging technologies manage the complexity and source insight from existing and real-time behavioral and contextual data.

6 things publishers need to know about UK media consumption, from Ofcom's latest report

the Mediabtiefing reporting:
As usual it's packed with useful survey data that helps answer some of the questions publishers have about the way in which their consumers approach media in the digital age, so we've picked out six of the most important points. The full report is worth reading for more detail, however.

1. A laptop still most important device for connecting to the internet

2. Newspapers won't be missed 

4. Most social media activity isn't about new 



Are newspapers doomed? It depends

Newsosaur reporting:
So, yes, some newspapers will fail, as they run out of relevance, readers and revenues. Since the Great Recession, we have lost such titles as the Rocky Mountain News, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the Tucson Citizen and the Manassas (VA) News & Messenger. But newspaper failures, as demonstrated by the demise in 1978 of the estimable Chicago Daily News, are not new news. 

So, where does that leave us? Hopeful but worried. Here’s why: 

The future of newspapers – or, more precisely, local news ventures that may or may not involve putting ink to paper – will depend on whether the people running them are up to the considerable challenge of creatively disrupting their businesses before an ever-growing phalanx of digital competitors destroy what’s left of the still-enviable commercial might and journalistic value of their enterprises. 

Unfortunately, the industry’s track record is not good. In the two decades since the Internet burst into common consciousness, the leaders of the newspaper industry have failed to recognize the need for profound change, much less manifested the grit to go for it. Rearranging the deck chairs by shuffling newspapers into free-standing entities won’t, in and of itself, change the troubling trajectory of the newly liberated publishing units of News Corp., Tribune, Scripps, Journal Communications or Gannett.  
As painstakingly (and painfully) detailed here, the weekday circulation of newspapers fell by 47% in the last 10 years to the point that only a quarter of the nation’s households take a daily newspaper. Print and digital advertising sales fell by 55% in a decade. In spite of aggressive efforts by most publishers to increase the fees they collect from print and digital readers to offset the ad decline, the industry’s total revenues slid 35% in the last 10 years, dropping the average pre-tax profits of publicly held publishers by 37%. 

Aug. 7, 2014, 11:16 a.m. Dutch_windmills-cc Turning a profit in the Netherlands: How a Dutch hyperlocal network has grown

Niemann Journalism Lab reporting:

Gannett exec: Goal of reshuffled newsrooms is to invest ‘fewest resources necessary in production

Poynter reporting:
As five Gannett newspapers institute sweeping changes across their newsrooms, the goal is to better attract an audience of 25- to 45-year-olds, a Gannett executive told Poynter via phone.
That means reaching readers beyond print.
Freeing up resources for quality reporting that’s responsive to online audiences will allow the newspapers to be “each community’s top source of investigative journalism, of public-service journalism,” said Kate Marymont, Gannett’s vice president for news. How are these newsrooms able to double down on reporting? “We’re going to invest the fewest resources necessary in production,” she said....

Monday, August 4, 2014

The New York Times’ new app strategy seems lackluster at best — so what does it do now?

gigaom / Matthew Ingram reporting:
Among the other less-than-optimistic news from the New York Times in its quarterly earnings report earlier this week — the fall in revenue, continued slide in advertising income, and so on — the company also announced some numbers related to its new mobile apps, NYT Now and NYT Opinion. Unfortunately for the Times, the apps have so far failed to set the mobile world on fire. In fact, when looked at in relative terms, they have more or less disappeared without a trace.
As Ryan Chittum at the Columbia Journalism Review and analyst Ken Doctor have described, the Times reported that it added a total of 32,000 digital subscribers in the second quarter — a number that includes all the people who signed up for digital access to the newspaper, as well as those who paid for NYT Now, NYT Opinion and Times Premier, a service that gives subscribers access to members-only discussions and other customized features.
The Times didn’t break out any specific numbers for the apps, but it did say that they and Times Premier accounted for the bulk of the 32,000 number, which for a major international media entity is a vanishingly small figure — even Chittum, who has been an unabashed fan of the NYT’s various paywall strategies, admitted that the company’s new offerings are “off to a poor start.” The NYT Now app doesn’t even show up in the list of top 1,000 apps for the iPhone, and is ranked fairly low in the media category as well...
...So what happens now? As Doctor points out, even with the paywall revenue, the Times is still taking on water faster than it can bail the boat: print-advertising revenue fell another 6.6 percent in the most recent quarter, and all of the digital growth barely managed to fill a fraction of that gap — $42 million in revenue from the paper’s digital-only products was a tenth of the Times‘ overall revenue of about $400 million, the bulk of which comes from print advertising.
...For my part, I think the Times might want to experiment with highly personal apps — either by offering high levels of customization for readers, or even by offering apps that are dedicated to a single NYT writer such as Nicholas Kristof: a kind of central portal for all that writer’s content, with customized levels of engagement for users...

Want to increase your readership? Forget about Twitter and stop posting so many stories, says the Telegraph

gigaom /Mathew Ingram reporting:
In the arms race that is the social web, every publisher large or small is trying whatever weapons they can find to rise above the noise and increase their readership: some, like The Independent or the Daily Mail, have chosen to go the clickbait route and try to duplicate the success of ViralNova or BuzzFeed. But Jason Seiken, editor-in-chief of Telegraph Media Group, says the newspaper publisher has seen a significant increase in readership by doing two somewhat surprising things: paying less attention to Twitter, and posting fewer stories.
Seiken told The Guardian that the site saw a 20-percent increase in traffic in June, with daily unique browsers hitting almost 4 million, and he attributed this jump to some of the strategies the newspaper has been focusing on over the past few months — including developing the paper’s Facebook audience, which has almost tripled in size to 1.6 million, rather than focusing on Twitter.
The Telegraph executive said that in the past, the paper had not spent as much time on a Facebook strategy because of what he called an obsession among journalists with using Twitter. “Journalists are all on Twitter, and obsessed with it, so that is where the energy had gone,” he said. “An assumption had been made without looking at data” on where readers were actually coming from.
Interestingly enough, Seiken said the Telegraph had also been deliberately reducing the number of stories it posted, and focusing instead on putting more resources into fewer pieces. “We actually created that huge traffic jump in June producing fewer stories, not more,” he told The Guardian, adding that the paper had changed the way the newsroom worked in order to become more efficient. “Seemingly mundane things make a huge difference – things such as better planning, more creative story conferences, and using audience data to decide what to stop doing.”