Tag Archives: Daily Scroll

Daily Scroll: Facebook as traffic king; BuzzFeed’s Dubois insight

27 Oct

The New York Times gives some great insight into just how much we rely on Facebook. Speaking Facebook-friendly platforms, the amazing Alice Dubois discusses BuzzFeed’s product strategy.

Facebook Offers Life Raft, but Publishers Are Wary (N.Y. Times)

The social network now has over 1.3 billion users — a fifth of the planet’s population and has become a force in publishing because of its News Feed, which has been increasingly fine-tuned to feature high-quality content, the kind media companies produce.

Loading publishers’ web pages on a mobile device can be maddening, slowed by advertising that goes out for auction when readers click. So while Facebook loves the content, it hates the clunky technology many publishers use for mobile. When it comes to the impatient hordes on phones, speed matters above all else.

“The traffic they send is astounding and it’s been great that they have made an effort to reach out and boost quality content,” said one digital publishing executive, who declined to be identified so as not to ruffle the feathers of the golden goose. “But all any of us are talking about is when the other shoe might drop.”

“We’ve talked about the importance of a united front so that Facebook gets the message that this isn’t going to work, but that could change if somebody cuts a big revenue-sharing deal,” another publishing executive said.

How Facebook Is Changing the Way Its Users Consume Journalism (N.Y. Times)

Facebook now has a fifth of the world — about 1.3 billion people — logging on at least monthly. It drives up to 20 percent of traffic to news sites, according to figures from the analytics company SimpleReach. On mobile devices, the fastest-growing source of readers, the percentage is even higher, SimpleReach says, and continues to increase.

Just as the music industry has moved largely from selling albums to songs bought instantly online, publishers are increasingly reaching readers through individual pieces rather than complete editions of newspapers or magazines. A publication’s home page, said Edward Kim, a co-founder of SimpleReach, will soon be important more as an advertisement of its brand than as a destination for readers.

“People won’t type in WashingtonPost.com anymore,” Ms. Haik said. “It’s search and social.”


With time, notifications will only get smarter, and the companies that best understand this new way of communicating with its users will bring us just the right amount of information at the right time.

The 60-second interview: Alice Dubois, director for editorial products, Buzzfeed (Capital)

Publish is absolutely core for Buzzfeed, and we are not inclined to put a core task in the hands of another company or an outside vendor.

If you’re using a generic, off-the-shelf CMS, those assumptions might not fit your organization’s particular needs, creating frustrating obstacles that users need to work around. With a custom-built CMS, we can make the structure and assumptions work to our advantage, letting people do their work better or faster or more easily.

That said, I don’t think that building your own CMS is a good idea if you don’t have any developers who are able to dedicate a good percentage of their time to working on the CMS. Building a proprietary CMS without developers to maintain, modify and improve it would be crazy. For lots of publishers, a customized version of WordPress is probably great!

CAPITAL: What’s next for the Buzzfeed CMS?

DUBOIS: So much! Some of the things on my mind are a new mobile preview, better .gif optimization, an image management tool, mobile editing and even mobile post creation, and, always, new formats.

Nate Silver’s model shows digital video winning for FiveThirtyEight (Digiday)

The Globe rolls out red carpet for documentary film (Poynter)

On Thursday, the paper announced GlobeDocs, a bid to celebrate the city’s nonfiction film scene. The initiative, headed up by Page, will include a series of free screenings (at least one every month) at independent theaters throughout Boston that will include panel discussions with filmmakers and industry experts. The paper is currently working to identify advertisers to sponsor the screenings, said Boston Globe CEO Mike Sheehan.

The changing face of technology journalism (Digiday)

Why publishers are flocking to explainer videos (Digiday)

From BuzzFeed to Business Insider, explainers have become a go-to gambit for digital publishers, offering to go beyond quick hit news stories and in the process produce content with a long shelf life.

“We sometimes don’t think about news as a service for people,” Melissa Bell, executive editor of Vox.com, told Digiday. “Some people only have a minute in line at Starbucks to learn about Ferguson. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be able to provide that information to them, and explanatory video is one effective way to do that.”

WTF are time-based metrics? (Digiday)

“It still remains to be seen that time is the best indicator for success, [that] an article that someone spends time with is necessarily better for the brand,” said Edward Kim, CEO of SimpleReach, which measures content performance. Kim believes time is a key measurement, but that pushing to adopt a new currency could cause confusion and slow the movement of dollars to native advertising.

Observers don’t see advertisers focusing on time metrics until they’re comfortable with viewability.

The New York Times Co. and Axel Springer are investing €3 million in Dutch startup Blendle (Nieman Lab)

The New York Times Company and German publisher Axel Springer are collectively investing €3 million ($3.7 million) in Blendle, a Dutch news startup where readers pay by the article, Blendle announced Sunday.

The Daily Scroll is a roundup of my favorite media reads Monday through Thursday. All excerpts are copied and pasted.


Daily Scroll: Apps in the future; publishers cooling on Facebook?

23 Oct

The longest article today — “THE END OF APPS AS WE KNOW THEM” — is a great one.

The NYT loves native, not so much programmatic (Digiday)

As The Times’ readership goes mobile, the publication will phase out display ads in favor of native advertising.

“Display has real value, but it feels transitional, specifically when you’re talking about a smartphone-centric world. Advertisements are going to have to be in-stream and intrinsically attractive enough to engage readers,” CEO Mark Thompson said.

“We need to generalize [having our journalists engage readers],” Thompson said. “We need to make sure that it’s not a handful of stars but part of the workflow.”

Publishers cool on outsourcing community to Facebook (Digiday)

To turn the tide, some publishers are reinvesting in their own tech in an effort to build stronger communities on their sites.

“It’s really important to maintain some sort of ownership on those conversations,” said John Longbottom, editor at the English magazine Kerrang! “As great as Facebook is, we need to keep people on the site to bring in more revenue. That’s the black and white of it.”

Barber said that one of the issues with many current commenting systems is that they don’t give readers the sense that their contributions are important and have long-term value. If publishers don’t signal to readers that their comments matter, then readers aren’t going to leave good comments — or comment at all.

Inside Discovery’s digital video journey (Digiday)

“We made a strategic decision early on to invest in original programming rather than attempt to aggregate a staggering scale,” as YouTube multi-channel networks typically do, DDN general manager Colin Decker told Digiday. “If there’s one thing that the founder of Discovery understood, it’s building an audience over time and building a brand.”

“We are always looking for expansion opportunities,” said Decker. “We want our content to be wherever the audience is.”

“The more you own, the bigger cut you take, the better the business model works,” said Paul Kontonis, executive director of the Global Online Video Association.

How video at Vice News engages younger audiences (Journalism UK)

The number of subscribers to the Vice News YouTube Channel passed the one million mark earlier this month, and the media outlet announced plans to expand its news service to seven countries on 17 October.

Vice News launched back in March in reaction to the interest in the “hardcore longform documentary” Vice was already producing, and its YouTube videos have been viewed over 150 million times since.


(Very long but worth the read.)

The idea of having a screen full of icons, representing independent apps, that need to be opened to experience them, is making less and less sense. The idea that these apps sit in the background, pushing content into a central experience, is making more and more sense.

In a world of many different screens and devices, content needs to be broken down into atomic units so that it can work agnostic of the screen size or technology platform.

We’ve moved pretty quickly from notifications as signposts, to containers (cards) that include content, and actions on that content.

The number one way people use your app is through this notification layer, or aggregated card stream. Not by opening the app itself.

I really believe screens of apps won’t exist in a few years, other than buried deep in the device UI as a secondary navigation.

If a publishing company, for example the New York Times, can push content to cards, and those cards can be seen in many different third party places (with revenue sharing agreements) why bother having a website at all? It’s just a huge overhead.

A new problem emerging is an overwhelming volume of notifications. Things will need to be ranked, which will make them more manageable. It’s also a better experience, apps maximising their usefulness in a quick lightweight fashion rather than dominating your attention in a slow heavyweight app-oriented experience.

We’re talking about designing content that may appear on an incomprehensible number of devices and in an incomprehensible number of situations. This will need new design principles, new ways of thinking about researching context.

Worldwide Subscription Video-On-Demand To Grow Nearly 30% In Revenue In 2014 (MediaPost)

Survey: Publishers embracing shift to time-based metrics (Capital)

Of the 25 members who participated in Digital Content Next’s survey, 80 percent said they are already using time-based metrics, and 20 percent said they plan to in the future, 16 percent within the next six months. Among the publishers who gave their feedback were NBCUniversal, Condé Nast, Time Inc., The New York Times, Gannett Co., and ESPN.

Within the small sample set, 60 percent of respondents said they are considering using time-based metrics to appraise the value of and sell ad units. One company is already testing time-based transactions, two will begin testing the method before the end of 2014, and two other before the end of 2015.

Smartphone-Toting Millennials Fuel Demand for Mobile-Optimized Sites (eMarketer)

Among US millennial smartphone users polled, nearly 90% said their phones never left their side—both night and day—and 80% admitted they instantly reached for them right when they woke up.


How UK publishers are rethinking audience measurement (Digiday)

As the publishing industry redefines its business, it’s important it can bring clarity to advertisers about the relationships news providers have with their users.

The Daily Scroll is a roundup of my favorite media articles, Monday to Thursday. All excerpts are copied and pasted. I encourage you to click on the links.

Daily Scroll: Twitter’s identity; ‘Desktop isn’t dead’

13 Oct

Even though I didn’t pull an excerpt, and it’s from Friday, the David Remnick interview is my favorite link of the day.

The Future of Engagement Is Big Data Plus Big Emotion (AdAge)

Emotional fulfillment, not technology, will be the standout offering of a winning brand. People like technology — but people mostly really like other people.

Here are five keys for businesses and brands to get to the future first:
-Be a creative leader
-Be participatory
-Be visual
-Be fast
-Be emotional

Can Twitter make money out of breaking news or is it a PR platform? (The Guardian)

If anything, the management meltdown has simply served to highlight an ongoing struggle within Twitter over whether it should largely be a conduit for journalism or PR. And whether a technology company, even one with 271 million monthly users, believes it can make money out of breaking news. Twitter’s behaviour over the last few months suggests it doesn’t think it can.

‘Desktop isn’t dead’: tips for multiplatform publishers (Journalism UK)

Knowing not just what devices people use to access content, but also when they do it, is an important step towards digital success.

Journalism’s biggest competitors are things that don’t even look like journalism (GigaOm)

If you want to read an expert’s take on a variety of different topics, or listen in on an interview with a celebrity like President Barack Obama, you don’t have to wait for a newspaper or magazine or TV network to interview that person — you can find something similar, and possibly even better, in the crowdsourced interviews that appear on sites like Quora and Reddit.

Facebook Plays Favorites Among Its Brand Partners Only some get access to new Atlas ad server (AdWeek)

However, Facebook chose to make that info available to a select number of preferred marketing partners at the late September launch of the Atlas ad server. Present were big names like Omnicom Media Group, SalesForce and Shift, all of whom appeared to be in a more special position than other longtime partners. They’ve been given first dibs on connecting to the new Atlas ad server, allowing them access to Facebook’s data to target and measure their ad campaigns for brands. Meanwhile, a number of other advertising technology partners were introduced to Atlas only after launch.

Media People: The New Yorker’s David Remnick (Women’s Wear Daily)

CTRs Aren’t Enough for Mobile Ad Measurement (eMarketer)

Instead, the research suggested secondary action rates (SARs)—those measuring actions such as calls, directions and more information—were better indicators of mobile ad awareness, engagement or purchase intent. Even more so, CTR tended to be completely unrelated, or even negatively correlated, to SAR metrics.

What brands think about when they think about Snapchat ads (Digiday)

Journalism startup Latterly doesn’t care about page views one bit (Venture Beat)

Edward Snowden’s Privacy Tips: “Get Rid Of Dropbox,” Avoid Facebook And Google (TechCrunch)

The Daily Scroll contains links and excerpts from my favorite media reads of the day, Monday through Thursday.

Daily Scroll: AOL doubling down on video; great Awl piece on content strategy

9 Oct

John Herrman nailed it with his analysis of Web content catering to the traffic masses. And I’m a few days late on Andrew Sullivan’s interview, but he has some powerful words for the likes of BuzzFeed and New York Times. Also, NewsWhip’s latest Twitter publisher rankings.

Snapchat CEO Spiegel Says Untargeted Advertising Is Coming Soon (Wall Street Journal)

Evan Spiegel, the startup’s 24-year-old co-founder and chief executive, said Wednesday at a conference that the company will “soon” debut its first ads. The messages will appear within the Snapchat Stories feature, in between the photos and videos shared by users, and will not be targeted to individual users based on their tastes, he said.

The ads will be the first source of revenue for three-year-old Snapchat, a company recently valued at $10 billion by investors.

Several brands, including Taco Bell and food delivery service Grubhub, already use Snapchat to offer promotions and hold contests with their most loyal users.

AOL’s new video head: We’re doubling down (Digiday)

To do so, the company has tapped Dermot McCormack, who previously led Viacom’s connected content group for brands like MTV and VH1, as its new president of video and studios.

“We’re going to try to be a next-generation connected content company. … Social media is an important piece. I really believe the right application of a technology can make a good story great.”

“We have to think about different ways of marketing and making shows. … We won’t win by creating the same type of content as everybody else.”

“In terms of the focus of the company, it is the No. 1 priority: to grow the video advertising business. It’s a huge area of focus.”

“I want to meet the team and get to know everybody. Hopefully James Franco is around. He’s in lots of shows.”

Marketwatch editor: Most stories will now be less than 400 words (Talking Biz News)

The majority of our stories will soon be under 400 words — breaking everything down into short bursts of news and insight that cut straight to what is most important to readers, without all the empty calories and filler journalists love to stuff in the sausage . We will also do longer, deep dives on important stories that warrant such treatment. This is the way the digital news is going: tall and venti, no more grande.

I am looking for reporters who can find the bagel in every story. Tweets are now the atomic unit of journalism. When quizzing reporters on their stories, editors used to say, “So what’s the headline here?” Now we ask, “what’s the tweet?”

Cash and Anxiety on the Weird New Internet (The Awl)

What can Publishers Learn From This? A literal interpretation: SUBLIMATE YOUR IDENTITY ENTIRELY, EVERY MONTH, because nothing else works, and the next PlayBuzz of Viral Nova could appear tomorrow and just totally house you out of nowhere.

Again, this isn’t about changing subjects, but changing containers: Upworthy has been posting similar types of videos for the last two years but its headline templates—or rather, headlines that have tested well—have shifted noticeably.

It’s hard to believe that this is just refinement. One possible explanation: Novel formats fall as quickly as they rise, especially if they contain little of value. Or if they’re just new ways to cry wolf.

For the last few weeks, Alex Balk’s five-year-old “How To Cook A Fucking Steak” post has been hovering near the top of our live stats. We have a few posts that surge like that from time to time, and Steak is one of them, but this is different: Facebook seems to have… found it. Yesterday we had a handful of stories that were doing “well” by our standards, but that were all less popular than Steak. We don’t know WHERE on Facebook Steak resurfaced, or why—some horrible Thug Kitchen effect?—but it just keeps on going. To be clear: We are glad that more people are interested in learning How To Cook a Fucking Steak. But this will end at some point which we cannot predict and, in retrospect, will not be able to explain. And then it will happen again. Drink!

The Biggest Twitter Publishers of September 2014 (NewsWhip)

-BBC and the New York Times continue to dominate the top of the chart.
-Mashable re-take third place, over ABC News.
-The BBC’s Scottish Independence Referendum results coverage was the month’s most-tweeted story.
-Entrepreneur.com and TMZ join the top 25.


How PlayBuzz Went Viral (NewsWhip)

With even a grammar test scoring close to 2m interactions, it’s impossible to leave PlayBuzz out of the viral equation, especially given that they’re now ranked as a top 10 US mobile site. Their rise has been faster, more sustained and more dramatic than other viral names such as Upworthy and Viral Nova.

“PlayBuzz is a content platform designed to allow everyone, from bloggers to major publishers to just any person, to create content that has the potential to become viral and shareable…Content is generated by more than 5,000 major websites, blogs and brands, and then embedded on their sites and apps.”

“That’s why the title and thumbnail of an item are crucial – that’s what most users will be clicking on their feed, not on the post we made on the PlayBuzz Facebook page.”

“Our goal is to always offer new playful content formats that publishers can utilize in order to drive users’ interest and engagement in new ways.”

Vice News teams up with Skype (MediaWeek)

Vice News plans to use Skype’s voice and video technology to enable audience participation and to expand news coverage around the world.

Among possible new formats are roundtable debates with Vice News selecting a topical issue and inviting representatives with differing views to participate. Another possibility under consideration is for Vice News reporters to take questions live on air from around the world.

Haters gonna hate: A guide to the backlash against Vice (Digiday)

Questions about Vice’s millennial reach also touch on the site’s limited reach overall. While Vice claims that it has 150 million unique visitors a month, its comScore numbers give it a much smaller reach of just 9.3 million people. The story is the same on YouTube, where Vice and Vice News have 5 million and 977,908 subscribers, respectively.

The problem? That’s YouTube’s audience, not Vice’s.

“They don’t even own their own voice because all of their scale is on other people’s platforms,” said one media executive. “How can they be worth that much and only have less than 10 million monthly UVs?”

Social Logins May Actually Be a Thing (eMarketer)

According to July 2014 research by OnePoll for Gigya, 77% of US internet users ages 18 to 55 had signed in to sites or apps via social login, up from 45% in 2012.

Respondents were most likely to access a website or app with a social network ID in order to avoid filling out new registration forms—in other words, save a few minutes. Not wanting to create and remember another username and password was also a top reason for logging in with a social ID, cited by 47%.


The Weather Channel’s Secret: Less Weather, More Clickbait (BW)

Neil Katz, weather.com’s editor-in-chief, listens to their ideas and selects the ones he thinks readers will like. Bald and bookish, he speaks quietly but clearly, just like everyone else he works with. He approves the skylines and castles, says “maybe” to the weight loss, and gives enthusiastic approval to a story about a scientist who works in an active volcano, because volcanoes are cool.

Katz calls these types of stories “weather adjacent,” and during the last two years he’s peppered weather.com with thousands of them. He’s changed the way the Weather Channel’s website presents the weather, doubling the site’s traffic even as viewers drift away from the TV network. People come to his website or mobile app looking for the local forecast; it’s Katz’s job to keep them there with headlines such as “12 Spooky Abandoned Hospitals and Asylums” and “What Does Mars Smell Like?”

Sure, only a couple hundred thousand people watch the Weather Channel on any one day, but about 7 million visit weather.com and an additional 13 million look at its app. “This week we did 25,000 forecasts per second—that’s 2 billion in a day,” Kenny says.

Under Katz, the nonforecast part of the website has more than doubled its page views, from 1 billion in 2012—already an anomalous number because of Hurricane Sandy traffic spikes—to 2.4 billion this year, despite the frustratingly calm weather. More than 150 million people have downloaded its app.

Following its expansion, the Weather Channel can collect data about people, not just weather. Last year it launched WeatherFX, an in-house advertising agency that combs through mounds of weather data, matching it to consumers, and sells its discoveries to its advertisers.

The company persuaded advertisers such as Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) and Procter & Gamble (PG) to hand over their sales data for every product they sold, in every store, in every aisle, all over the country. “I mean that literally,” says Vikram Somaya, general manager of WeatherFX. “We said, ‘Give us your data.’ Traditionally, that’s not been met with a whole lot of resounding cheer, right?” But the stores did it. WeatherFX’s team then matched the information with the past 30 years of local weather data and uncovered sales trends so specific they surprised even the data scientists.

…WeatherFX has formed partnerships with more than 200 brands. It figured out how to sell cold and flu medicine in the middle of the summer. It helped Michaels Stores (MIK) promote rainy-day craft supplies by offering coupons and reminding parents a few days in advance. It even figured out that when Seattle has several days of rain followed by four hours of sunshine, “everybody goes crazy,” as Somaya puts it, and rushes to eat a fruit cup—again, it’s that specific—outside.

The only reason any of this works is because the Weather Channel app constantly tracks users’ locations—it has to, otherwise it can’t provide a forecast. And WeatherFX plans to tailor ads not only to a forecast but to an exact location. In Chicago on a warm (OK, less frigid), sunny winter day? You probably want to eat yogurt. And oh, look at that—you’re driving right by a Trader Joe’s, which happens to be having a sale.

A native variety: 7 very different approaches to the tricky business of native advertising (The Media Briefing)

1. Daily Mail 2. Forbes 3. BuzzFeed 4. Quartz 5. New York Times 6. Guardian Labs 7. Washington Post

The 60-second interview: Andrew Sullivan, founding editor, The Dish (Capital)

We currently have 30,200 paying auto-renewing subscribers. Our monthly traffic is between 700,000 to a million uniques, our subscription renewal rate is 83 percent. We also have a pay-what-you want model above a certain baseline. The average subscription when we launched was $34; this year it went up to $39, but with fewer subscribers.

I think the only future for journalism is reader revenue. Without it, you are in danger of becoming a public relations or advertising company disguised as journalism, like Buzzfeed and even The Guardian. Buzzfeed is really an ad agency with some journalistic window dressing. They’re not the future of journalism; they’re the marginalization of it. And The New York Times, alas, is following suit with merry abandon.

Is Instagram Becoming a TV Substitute Like YouTube? (AdWeek)

Consumers Bullish on a Mobile Payments Future (eMarketer)

Consumers remain tepid about paying for goods and services with their phones at the point of sale, although increased exposure to mobile payments is helping drive adoption and growth…

Even in a persistently fragmented market, US proximity payment transaction values doubled between 2012 and 2013 to reach $1.59 billion as more consumers warmed to paying for their daily cup of coffee with their phones. eMarketer projects transaction values will double again this year to reach $3.50 billion and further accelerate through 2016 as more users come on board and make increasingly larger mobile purchases.

Should publishers take down controversial posts? (Digiday)

Daily Scroll: BuzzFeed international insight, Telegraph digital strategy

8 Oct

I love how the Telegraph is starting its morning news meetings. Also some interesting data on the percentage of traffic that comes from millennials at 15 major “news sites.”

Telegraph to use digital content as backbone of paper (The Guardian)

Several sources said the new production system will have the biggest impact, with one describing it as a “templatised” system, so that a relatively small team can produce the newspaper by dropping web content into pre-designed pages.

“The most substantial change I saw [in the briefings] was the creation of a central production department that will mostly treat online as a ‘buffet’ to fill the paper,” said a second source. “Although it has been made clear the paper will still have elements like exclusive news and comment.”

A third source said that the strategy is a “step change” beyond the concept of “digital first”.

“The engine driving the content decisions is the 80 million worldwide unique users per month. But readers of the newspaper will not notice a difference, the paper is still a crown jewel.”

Staff have been told to embrace a new editorial ethos with five main elements:

• One integrated print/digital newsroom.

• Two shifts worked each day, one from 6am and one ending at midnight.

• Three speeds to work at, from fast for breaking news to slower for a feature.

• Four key skills for each journalist: social, video, analytics and search engine optimisation.

• Five deliverable ideas required from each desk each day: including one video, one shareable and one interactive.

In the last two weeks data analytics tool Parse.ly has been rolled out to journalists.

With this approach in mind the main daily news conference has been moved to the earlier time of 8am, with the first 15 minutes led by Gregg Stewart, director of audience development. “It is mashing digital natives and journalists,” said one source.

The newsonomics of the millennial moment (Nieman)

…this generation will spend $200 billion annually by 2017 (and $10 trillion in their lifetime) in the U.S. alone.

Take a look at the chart below, prepared with data from Comscore. In it, we rank 15 representative news sites by the percentage of their unique visitors who are millennials.

Vice 54.3%
BuzzFeed 52.9%
Slate 47.1%
Wired 44.1%
Time.com 42.4%
The Guardian 40.7%
OregonLive.com (The Oregonian) 39.7%
Vox.com 37.2%
ChicagoTribune.com 36.8%
NYTimes.com 35.2%
MSNBC.com 34.2%
CNN.com 32.7%
WSJ.com 30.0%
FoxNews.com 29.8%
StarTribune.com 19.4%

Most notable: Millennials offer huge potential to digitally proficient publishers. Though they make up only 30 percent of the web audience, they routinely make up more than 30 percent of news site usage. They want and use digital news, much of it on mobile. While older readers spread their news consumption more widely among TV, radio, and print, as well as digital, millennials make up the first profoundly digital generation.

MSN’s new web design features breaking news Tweets (Twitter Blog)


Teens flee Facebook for Twitter, Instagram (The Star-Tribune/Washington Post)

Between spring and fall of this year (Piper Jaffray conducts its Taking Stock with Teens surveys semiannually), Facebook use among teenagers aged 13 to 19 plummeted from 72 per cent to 45 per cent. In other words, less than half of the teenagers surveyed said “yes” when asked if they use Facebook.

It surveyed a group of 7,200 U.S. students, average age 16, and accounted for variables such as gender and household income. They are not poor kids: 2,200 of those asked have an average household income of $109,000 (U.S.) and the rest are close to the middle of the U.S. income distribution, with a $56,000 household income.

The teens love Apple: 67 per cent own an iPhone, compared with 61 per cent in the spring wave, and 73 per cent expect their next phone to be an iPhone. Among tablet owners, 66 per cent have an iPad. Android is losing popularity: only 19 per cent want their next phone to run it, down from 24 per cent in April.
Yet only 16 per cent would be interested in buying an Apple Watch for $350 (U.S.).

Facebook Reportedly Launching an App Designed to Hide Your True Identity (AdWeek)

Citing anonymous sources, The New York Times said Facebook is expected to launch an app within weeks that allows people to sign up with pseudonyms and keep their true identities hidden, which could compete with similar secretive apps like Secret, Whisper and Yik Yak. Facebook didn’t comment.

Ranker turns crowdsourced lists into big data (Digiday)

Ranker started in 2009 with a simple concept: create lists about just about anything and let the wisdom of the crowds determine how the items stack up.

Either way, the result is the same: People love lists and sites like Ranker are successfully exploiting that appreciation. Ranker gets over 8 million unique visitors a month, more than double its traffic from a year ago, according to comScore. Quantcast ranks the site as 195th in the list of the largest sites in the U.S., just below The Onion. And while some of that traffic has been driven by social sharing, the bulk of Ranker’s traffic still comes from searches

At Condé Nast Entertainment, marketing digital video costs as much as making it (Capital)

Condé Nast Entertainment, the magazine publisher’s entertainment division, is applying the same logic to its digital videos. C.N.E. generates new programming with more frequency than any network: it releases 10 to 20 videos every day, and it will have produced more than 100 series by the end of this year.

The 60-second interview: Scott Lamb, V.P. of international, Buzzfeed (Capital)

“BuzzFeed has more than 150 million monthly unique visitors and more than 50 million unique visitors come to Buzzfeed from outside the US and is rapidly growing.”

“Buzzfeed’s creative team is in the process of building out their staff to produce branded content in more foreign language markets. But we’ve started each new market as edit-first, followed by the business side when it makes sense to do so.”

“Germany will be launching later this fall, and we’re still working on Mexico and Japan for later this year or year next. We haven’t made concrete plans yet beyond those places, and certainly part of our time and resources next year will go into expanding the international sites we’ve already launched. But we’re looking at world cultural capitals as the next launch locations for Buzzfeed.”

Forbes tweaks native ad program for greater scale (Digiday)

Starting next week, Forbes will let brands republish content from elsewhere. In this way, advertisers won’t be tasked with constantly feeding the beast with fresh content.

Learning the right lessons from digital news leaders (Medium)

What the leaders in digital news understand is that success depends on the connection between mobile, social, design, workflow and CMS.

Apple Was Just Granted A Patent For A Digital Newspaper (Business Insider)

Patently Apple reports that Apple refers to the device as a “digital periodical,” and that it can be used for both reading and also advertising.

The device reportedly receives updates via MMS, the technology used to send photos and video clips as a form of SMS message. The patent filing reveals that Apple wants to break down web pages and newspapers into separate video, audio, image and text elements that will each be delivered using MMS. Once the files reach the digital newspaper, they’ll be reassembled into the original page or file.

Funny or Die Launches News Hub (Hollywood Reporter)

“We’ve always done topical pieces,” Abramson tells The Hollywood Reporter. “But by having a new vertical and a new staff dedicated to news, we’re going to be really focused on having a lot more of them.”

He points to The Daily Show with Jon Stewart as a model for how to combine covering the news with comedy. “You can be entertained while getting your news,” he adds.

Initially, Funny or Die News will focus on blog posts that feature coverage of the day’s most important news, longer thoughtful pieces and columns from a roster of real and character-driven columnists. The site will include a blend of stories on a variety of topics, including politics, entertainment, science and sports.

Politico to add new policy shop: ‘The Agenda’ (Washington Post)

In a memo to Politico staffers, incoming Politico Editor Susan Glasser called “The Agenda” a “uniquely POLITICO take on the intersection of politics and policy,” which is one of the most vicious clichés ever to be repeated 1.4 billion times in Washington journalism circles. More from Glasser on “The Agenda”: “One thing we can say for sure is that it will be wonkery with a purpose: smart, timely, original and relevant to the policy debates that are actually on Washington’s agenda, or should be. We’ll plan to feature both outside contributors and original reporting in The Agenda…”

Staffing for the new project is unclear, though Glasser did announce its editor-at-large: Michael Grunwald, a national correspondent for Time magazine, former Washington Post reporter and author of books on the Everglades and President Obama’s stimulus program. Glasser called Grunwald a “stylist with the digging skills of an investigative reporter,” which is about right.

Training the CMS (A List Apart)

Maybe you’re like me: you know what needs to happen in the CMS to create the experience everyone’s bought into on the front end, but you’ve found there’s a big difference between having a plan and actually getting people to execute it in their daily work. The results are frustrating and demoralizing—both for you and for the authors you’re trying to help.

Don’t despair. There’s a better way to get your content guidelines adopted in the real world: put them right where they’re needed, in the CMS itself.

Will Measuring Mobile Ad ROI Ever Get Easier? (eMarketer)

Nearly all marketers increased their mobile ad budget in 2014—93% worldwide, according to a June 2014 study by Forrester Research.


eMarketer expects mobile internet ad spending worldwide to hit $36.46 billion this year—nearly doubling (91.7%) over 2013. Next year, growth will come in at 55.2% to push the total to $56.60 billion, and double-digit gains will continue through at least 2018, when spending on mobile ads will reach $124.87 billion globally.

What it’s like to be a Vice ad agency (Digiday)

Newspapers are being hit by a new wave of scammers targeting their subscribers (Nieman)

Now You Can Get In on the Facebook Ad Network That Made Millions for the Kardashian Game (AdWeek)

The Kardashian game has been a hit since launching and is said to be on pace to tally $200 million in ads and in-app purchases.

As for Facebook, its Audience Network is helping the site expand to mobile advertising outside its own walls.

The Audience Network started with just app-install ads, but it’s branching out with new formats, including link ads, “meaning any advertiser can use the network to drive traffic to its mobile website,” Facebook stated in its announcement today.

N.Y. Times unveils new Lens blog look (N.Y. Times)

Daily Scroll: The Jeff Bezos show; millennial obsession

6 Oct

Here are today’s top reads. Lots of talk about The Washington Post and millennials (eye-roll on the latter).

Yahoo Nears Investment in Snapchat

Yahoo plans to invest about $20 million in Snapchat, which would value the ephemeral social network at $10 billion.

But at a $10 billion valuation, Snapchat also represents a risky investment in a startup that has yet to turn its popular mobile service into a business that generates revenue. The three-year-old company, whose app lets people send messages, photos and video that typically disappear after 10 seconds, has more than 100 million users. Snapchat is planning to debut a new service for vanishing news articles and advertisements in the coming weeks, people familiar with the matter said in August.

Autoplay video ads come to articles

Publishers like Slate and Reuters are stuffing video ads inside articles. The units, dubbed Teads inRead, are tied to scroll behavior, activating only when readers scroll past them. In other words, the ads give publishers all the benefits of video CPMs without the pressure to create actual video inventory.

A typical video ad comes with a CPM that hovers around $20, much higher than rates for display ads. And there’s demand on the buy side as well, as big brands are increasingly looking for premium video inventory to advertise against.

While the inRead ads have been around since 2012, scroll-based autoplay video ads have become the new normal site on the Web. Facebook, for example, has pushed the format heavily on its site and mobile app.

But while autoplay video ads make sense on the revenue side, the jury’s still out on how good they are for the reading experience. Autoplay ads, particularly those that include sound, are notorious for annoying users, which can only mean bad things for both the brands and publishers using them. In the case with Facebook, autoplay video ads ate up users’ mobile data.

Both Reuters and Slate mute their autoplay ads by default, only playing the audio when users mouse over the ads for three seconds.

Perkins said that the fact that the readers can skip the autoplay ads if they want to made the ads a better sell for the site’s editors.

U.S. Online Display Advertising Spend to Hit $19 Billion by 2019 Forrester Research sees big opportunity in mobile and video

(This is full article:) Online display ad spending is expected to increase 90 percent by 2019, from $19.8 billion in 2014 to $37.6 billion, according to new findings from Forrester Research.

Video platforms in particular are expected to be the main driver of the growth. Forrester predicts that the tactic will grow more than 21 percent on desktop platforms and will capture as much as 55 percent of the total desktop display spending by 2019.

Mobile ads targeted to both smartphones and tablets will also be a major online growth area, capturing up to 40 percent of the online display ad spending by 2019—up from 24 percent of display budgets this year.

“Most of the growth in online display will come from three areas that will generate the bulk of the growth by 2019: Programmatic exchange-based trading, video advertising and mobile display,” Forrester noted, in a summary of the report.

Meanwhile, offline advertising is expected to grow just 1 percent during the same period, but will still capture $239 billion in marketing dollars. Cable television will be the offline platform with the most growth—at 4.8 percent—while platforms such as radio, newspapers, magazines and yellow pages are all expected to see declines.

The Washington Post/Jeff Bezos Show

The Washington Post Regains Its Place at the Table

The Washington Post sets new monthly digital traffic record

The editors noted a 34 percent increase in unique readers and a 38 percent jump in page views, in comparison to September 2013.

Jeff Bezos’s New Plan for News: The Washington Post Becomes an Amazon Product

Jeff Bezos wants to turn the Washington Post into a national publication, and he’s going to use his other company—Amazon.com (AMZN)—to help achieve that goal.

For the past few months, a group inside the Post has been working on a new application that will offer a curated selection of news and photographs from the daily newspaper in a magazine-style, tablet-friendly format. The application will come preinstalled on Amazon’s newly updated Kindle Fire tablet, expected to be launched later this fall with the larger 8.9-inch screen, according to people with knowledge of the Post’s plans.

The app will be free for owners of the larger Kindle, at least at first. It will eventually be available for download on other Kindles as well as to owners of Apple’s (AAPL) iPad and various Android devices, and it will carry a monthly subscription fee. A Post spokesperson declined to comment.

Jeff Bezos and the Post Don’t Know the Future of Media, But Are Preparing for It Anyway

“We’re not trying to come up with easier ways to produce the content that we’ve always produced,” said Greg Franczyk, director of software engineering at the Post. “We’re looking at the actual content forms, the story forms, the type of content we’re producing, structuring that content in ways that allows us to do and create user experiences that we haven’t yet dreamt of.”

Prakash claimed that the company brought in record digital revenue last year, but that has not been able to keep up with print declines.

The biggest deal the paper struck had little to do with tech and more to do with licensing — WaPo is launching a partner system to bring its digital content to local publications across the country.

“I think it is much more of a West Coast, Silicon Valley approach where you’re getting more focus on the business. You’re getting more focus on the product, but at the same time, we’re going to be very focused on that product and we’re going to make other business changes that put this business in better shape,” Ken Doctor said.

The Post is addressing those pressures head on with the WPNYC, which is seen as a vehicle for exploring options like partnering with other publications and tech firms. The office started up in March and is now the unofficial headquarters of the company’s attempt to break away from its newspaper roots. It is also an admission that there will have to be less Washington in the Washington Post. Future offices might be in Seattle or Austin, Texas.


What Do Millennials Really Want? From their favorite digital devices to Lena Dunham, here’s what we learned


Who Will Succeed the Millennials? Let’s Call Them the Post Generation These consumers come of age after 9/11, Obama and the digital revolution

Regardless of what you call them, this next generation’s defaults will be diversity, networked communication, globalism, personalization and choice, as well as equal rights and freedom that encompass not only race and gender, but extend to sexual orientation and even recreational drug use. It’s clear that what once were progressive causes will now serve as the status quo for the post generation.

Attention Brands: This Is How You Get Millennials to Like You Looking at what resonates with most marketers’ dream demo

In its study, Hashtag Nation, Havas notes that this loyalty aspect is very good news for marketers: “Today’s youth are significantly more apt than their elders to recognize—and value—the role brands play in their lives.” But this can be a tricky relationship to maintain, the study notes, as 40 percent of respondents ages 16-24 complain that brands don’t take them seriously enough.

“Brands also need to recognize that they’re now dealing with a generation of consumers who are much savvier than their parents were at that age,” the study concluded. “Young people have an innate understanding of marketing and of their value as consumers. And they’re significantly more likely than older generations to believe they have the capacity to help a brand succeed or fail. And why would they think that? Virtually every day they see some evidence of the power of ordinary people to effect change, whether it’s using Twitter to foment a rebellion in the Middle East or using social media to compel a company to behave better.”

The Yahoo/DigitasLBi/Razorfish/Tumblr study included a list of tips for content marketers trying to reach this dream demo:

Set the mood. Give them a repository for a particular emotion, or bond over a universal human experience.
Help them escape by giving them a glimpse of the good life, inspiring them, and “reinforcing the millennial values of embracing life and finding happiness along the off-roaded path to adulthood.”
Fuel creativity and play with absurdist mash-ups, artistic installations and carefully curated memes that are the tight fit for a brand’s attributes.
Spotlight pop culture, especially using nostalgia nods, superfandom and celebrity musings.
Help them succeed with how-tos, lifehacks and any content experience that makes them feel smarter.
Help them discover things and see topics in a new light, which “taps into millennials’ desire for discovery.”

Tapping Millennial Political and Social Passions Ahead of the Midterm Elections These agencies specialize in Gen Y

Social Media, the New Press Release

The Times has a team of reporters, editors, and aggregators working on Watching as a part of the homepage team. But Watching is also a 24-hour affair, so reporters and editors in London, Paris, and Hong Kong also contribute and help manage the feed.

…Watching can highlight and display what we’d normally call “user-generated content”: tweets, photos, and other atomic units of social media.

The second interesting thing about Watching: It’s at least the third place where the paper created a job that could be called “staff aggregator” this year alone. Three new products from the paper in 2014—the NYT Now and Opinion apps, and Watching—curate stories from other publications for readers…(Though the paper announced…they are shuttering the Opinion app.)

But still: What’s emerged from the Times in the past year is a clear decision to use aggregation, curation, and the linky power of digital journalism.

Love it? BuzzFeed Wants to Help You Buy It Too

Below each GIF or illustration is a blue button that says “Love it? Buy It!” that directs readers to a L’Oreal retail page where they can buy the product used to construct that particular hairstyle.

L’Oreal USA’s Vice President, Digital Innovation, Content and New Ventures Rachel Weiss said the e-commerce integrated posts helps create a more seamless experience for a customer that wants to know how to get a particular look.

“We want to make beauty fun and accessible for everyone and create content that they care about for beauty,” Ms. Weiss said. “BuzzFeed can help us do it at scale like we’ve never done before.”

Not all of L’Oreal’s sponsored posts with BuzzFeed will be e-commerce enabled, but BuzzFeed said it will experiment with different types of posts to carry the “Love It? Buy It!” button. There are currently no plans to test the e-commerce capability with other partners, but if it proves to be successful the click to buy button could be extended to other brands, Mr. Wiedlin said.

Pinterest Pushing New Editorial Product With First Co-Marketing Campaign

Pinterest is rolling out its first co-marketing campaign on Monday to promote a new editorial product called Pin Picks. The social scrapbooking service has partnered with roughly 10 media companies, including eHow and Funny or Die, as well as YouTube star Michelle Phan.

“What we’re finding is not only that the content [media companies] create is helpful to us, but Pinterest has grown into being a place where we’re driving lots of traffic and interest back to them,” Mr. Rubin said. BuzzFeed has said that Pinterest is now its second-biggest traffic driver behind Facebook.

How BBC Worldwide views the shift to ad automation

The industry also needs a few more common standards about what constitutes an audience segment that works across different media owners from the buy side and the sell side. This will help build liquidity in the system.

If you let people drop cookies on your website and just let them use that data however they like, don’t be surprised if they use cookie-matching to model a look-alike audience and buy around you.

How (LinkedIn’s) Dan Roth became the most powerful editor in business publishing

Hacked Screenshots Show Friend-To-Friend Payments Feature Hidden In Facebook Messenger

The psychological addiction behind Facebook’s success

As David Cohn exits, Circa looks to double its editorial team
(Current team size is 11.)

Google’s Newsstand move may force the hand of Apple, leading to more aggregated content apps

Bloomberg has launched its new politics site

Daily Mail launches MyMail hub and membership scheme

Here’s What 8 Digital Execs Predict for Mobile in 2015 From new data-tracking tools to growth in video

Daily Scroll: Independent goes BuzzFeed?; marketing wearables; New York Times cuts staff

1 Oct

Copy-and-pasted excerpts from top media reads today.

How The Independent got its BuzzFeed on

That means taking a page out of the book of digital native publishers with high-metabolism, social media-optimized content with the newly launched i100, a site heavy on visuals that offers social media-oriented twists on the news, explainers and viral Web commentary.

Its change in tone comes with a fresh site layout, complete with responsive design, infinite scroll and social sign-in. Reminiscent of reddit and Foursquare, signed-in users get to up-vote content to the front page and get badges and rewards for interacting, too.

It’s two months in, and the i100 has attracted 1.9 million unique users in August, according to the group’s digital editor, and has gathered 29,000 Twitter followers and 12,000 likes on Facebook. What’s more impressive: It’s done that with an edit team of just three.

“We encouraged the i100′s team to speak the language of the Web and connect with people emotionally.”

“Site editors have an increasingly sophisticated understanding of attention analytics; not just what’s being clicked but what users are genuinely engaging with,” said Paul Hill, strategy and engagement director at digital marketing agency Further. “That’s influencing editorial priorities.”

“The key question for legacy media companies hoping to engage new audiences is whether it’s about brand extension — carrying their core proposition and values into new formats — or creating new brands that seem disconnected from the parent media group,” he added.

As for the quality and standards issues, Broughton brushes them off, pointing to maintaining a legacy mindset as a bigger threat for news publishers.

“Where publishers go wrong is that they have a dedicated social media team but expect results from the way they package up what is still fundamentally print content produced with a certain mindset. What we’ve done is try to maintain the quality of our reporting but have our stories speak to people in an more authentic way.”

The Wearables Marketing Mistake to Avoid

Wearable device shipments are expected to grow by triple-digit percentages this year; International Data Corporation projected the number of wearable device units shipped worldwide in 2014 would total 19.2 billion units—a more than 200% increase. Yet enthusiasm is tempered by two factors. First, significant growth is not surprising in a new tech category, especially one that encompasses a large swath of device types. Essentially, there is a wearable for every major body part. Second, the “magic” product—one that attracts a majority of consumers—has yet to come to market. Many suspect that Apple Watch will be that product when it launches in early 2015. But at this point, penetration among US consumers is low across all subcategories of wearables.

Ignoring wearables is a mistake, however. The early-adopter set is gravitating toward these devices, signaling the US market is ripe for the next tech innovation.
 And forward-looking businesses are already active in 
the space.

“Interaction on these devices will not be through two-thumb typing,” said Atul Satija, vice president of global revenue and operations at mobile advertising network InMobi. At most, he added, “interaction has to be a single-finger touch that is more of a ‘yes/no’ command.”

Ultimately, the goal of the message sent to the wearable should “give just enough information for the user to make a decision whether or not they want to take that next action—getting out their phone,” said Kira Wampler, CMO of real estate search site Trulia. Aiming for any complex interaction on the device itself is not likely to succeed.

New York Times Plans Cutbacks in Newsroom Staff

The New York Times plans to eliminate about 100 newsroom jobs, as well as a smaller number of positions from its editorial and business operations, offering buyouts and resorting to layoffs if enough people do not leave voluntarily, the newspaper announced on Wednesday.

Mr. Sulzberger and Mr. Thompson said that even with the cutbacks — 100 positions comprise about 7.5 percent of the newsroom staff — The Times would continue to expand and invest heavily in initiatives that supported its growth strategy, like digital technology, audience development and mobile offerings.

But they also said they had decided to wind down NYT Opinion because it had not drawn a substantial audience. And while praising NYT Now, a new app aimed at younger readers, they said that as a lower-priced subscription offer, it had not proved as popular as they had hoped.

Despite those cuts, the newsroom staff has grown to about 1,330, approaching its largest size ever, according to the company, up from about 1,250 at the end of last year. Some of that growth is a result of adding jobs for digital efforts, like web producers and video journalists.

What Time Are The Most Viral Stories Published At?

What we find here is that many of the most shared stories were published between midday and early afternoon east coast US time, or 4 to 7pm UK time.

We know that mobile visits soar after 4pm, in direct opposite to usage of desktops, largely an office-place platform.

…the trend on Twitter favours news and current affairs above most else.

Obviously, breaking news doesn’t wait, but the above data indicates that there’s no need to trip over yourself to be pushing your biggest stories out first thing in the morning.

Are Tablets Just as ‘Mobile’ as Smartphones? Market researchers say yes, but ad players think it’s controversial

“I think that it is critical that we separate the phone from the tablet in [the mobile-ads] discussion,” commented Richard Guest, president, U.S. operations at Tribal Worldwide. “The tablet is, most likely, the future of advertising because of its potential to serve as the lean-in, immersive companion device to traditional television screens.”

Eric Bader, CMO of RadiumOne, said tablets are “absolutely” part of the mobile marketing ecosystem.

“‘Mobile’ is not a description of a particular device; it’s a segment of consumers that are readily moving,” he asserted. “As far as advertisers are concerned, much of the consumer behavior taking place on a tablet is similar to a smartphone, less the phone calling. What illustrates the mobility of the tablet is when it’s so commonly used during a commute.”

…researcher Gartner predicts there will be 320 million tablet sales in 2015 versus 316 million desktop/laptop units.

Less Than Half of Snapchat’s Users Are in the U.S. But still no advertising on the app—yet

Some may think that Snapchat could be a gold mine of revenue for millennial-focused marketing, but Emily White, chief operating officer at the mobile messaging app, acknowleged today that monetization efforts aren’t coming soon.
“We’re certainly thinking about marketers, but we’re [in the] early days,” White said, during an interview at the Mobile Marketing Association’s SM2 Innovation Summit in New York.

How to Improve Strategic Partnerships (It’s Important)

The most-cited challenge/complexity in developing and managing strategic partnerships was actually keeping the partnership alive and rewarding for both parties, noted by 45% of respondents, while a close 42% had a similar issue: building an ongoing win-win relationship.

Publishers give the movie review a refresh

So for its review of “Gone Girl,” starring Ben Affleck, Time created a format that gives you an analysis that lets you decide whether to read it with spoilers or without.

Similarly, the Los Angeles Times has shifted its reviews coverage…It has added video coverage of reviews and recaps, too, with its weekly Talking TV water-cooler-style banters between its critics and writers.

Entertainment Weekly covers some 40 TV series. With 45 percent of its audience visiting its TV recaps, they’re one of the site’s most popular features. So EW recently gave the recaps their own tab on the site.

With video content in high demand by visitors as well as advertisers, the format also turned out to be a good fit for returning TV shows with complex plot lines.

[TIME’s] desire to expand its breadth of content was also behind the launch of a contributor network, whereby it has a network of passionate contributors writing about shows that have a small but loyal following.

“It’s an indication of the way we’re working much more closely with the tech team to create editorial experiences,” Mark Parolisi, technical lead at Time Inc., said.

Why Thrillist brought its Facebook ad buying in-house

Relying on a third party didn’t allow Thrillist to quickly refine its strategy mid-campaign. So Thrillist opted to have a two-person in-house team buy the majority of its Facebook ads.

Granted, Thrillist is not the largest advertisers the world — Newcomb said the site spends “millions” on media per year, but declined to further elaborate — but the move is illustrative of how technology has allowed certain brands, especially direct-response-focused ones, to control media buying themselves, and the threat that poses to the traditional agency model.

“Certain kinds of media buying are becoming more commoditized and the barrier to entries are lower, so there’s arguably less value for having intermediaries,” said Jason Goldberg, Razorfish’s vp of strategy.

Bringing matters in-house appears to have worked, as Thrilist’s number of repeat customers has increased 9 percent since the change. Thrillist spends half of its ad budget on Facebook, Newcomb added, and while it no longer uses AdParlor, it will continue to use ad tech AmPush to manage its app install campaigns on Facebook.

What happens when you combine WhatsApp with YouTube

Montreal-based 5by plans to introduce its own messaging product next week, with one key difference from those aforementioned apps: Its new platform lies at the nexus between messaging and Web video.

“People do not want to broadcast everything on Facebook; they just want to easily send things to people they care about,” 5by CEO Greg Isenberg told Digiday. “We leverage this behavior to make it easier for people to find, share and discuss videos.”

Attached to each share is a conversation thread, in which up to 12 participants can chat about the content — or whatever else comes to mind — in a space below the video player.

“The reason we limit conversation to 12 people is because that’s the maximum amount of people you can have at a dinner table,” said Isenberg. “The quality of the conversation is really important to us.”

5by draws “hundreds of thousands” of daily video plays across iOS, Android and the Web, said Isenberg, who declined to disclose more specific engagement or user-base figures. Whatever engagement is now, the inclusion of in-app sharing and messaging features is a clear attempt to boost it, encouraging people to return to the app more often.

Folks can still share 5by content through their social network of choice, email or SMS.

“The first thing we look for in partners is really great content,” said Andrew Levine, head of partnerships at StumbleUpon and 5by.

“Ultimately, if we become the de facto place to find and share videos, there’s a million ways to skin the cat in terms of how to monetize it,” said 5by CEO Greg Isenberg. “For now, it’s really about building the community.”

Google+ is the Social Underpinning for All Things Google

The biggest problem is the narrow perception of Google+. Most people look at the network in the same context that they do Twitter and Facebook. What they don’t realize is that Google+ is the platform that makes Google products social.

While Google+ is much more than a social destination, there are still more than 300 million active monthly users on the site.

LinkedIn checks its Pulse with refreshed reading experience on desktop and mobile

LinkedIn is making it easier to read and share content from LinkedIn Pulse, and is looking to emphasize content with “clean, uncluttered text” set against prominent images.

Reddit Closes $50 Million Round, Will Give 10% Back to Users

“We’re planning to use this money to hire more staff for product development, expand our community management team, build out better moderation and community tools, work more closely with third party developers to expand our mobile offerings (try our new AMA app), improve our self-serve ad product, build out redditgifts marketplace, pay for our growing technical infrastructure, and all the many other things it takes to support a huge and growing global internet community.”

However, the most notable development with this round of funding is that the investors agreed to give 10 percent of their shares back to the community. Details on how exactly this would happen are sparse, but Wong offered this tentative plan:

“We are thinking about creating a cryptocurrency and making it exchangeable (backed) by those shares of reddit, and then distributing the currency to the community. The investors have explicitly agreed to this in their investment terms…

We want to emphasize that this plan is in its earliest stages right now and could totally fail (if it does, we will find another way to get the shares to the community somehow), but we are going to try it because… well, because we are reddit and we do these kinds of things.”

Daily Scroll: CNN’s video strategy; mobile ad growth challenges

30 Sep

CNN’s big bet on original digital video

In April, CNN Digital Studios started rolling out the company’s concerted foray into original Web video, debuting a 15-second news recap built for Twitter. Before April, when Digital Studios debuted its first projects, the vast majority of CNN video was TV programming, sliced up and repurposed for a digital audience.

CNN has an enviable digital video footprint, averaging 234 million monthly video starts across all its digital platforms this quarter. The company declined to disclose how many of those views come from the Digital Studios group, which employs about a dozen producers and calls in other resources from around the company.

“We completely got rid of the notion that digital doesn’t stack up to the quality of television,” said CNN’s video development vp Chris Berend. “The bottom line is if it looks great, it tells a great story and it’s great journalism, then it belongs on any CNN screen.”

“Our early discussions with CNN Digital Studios indicate a willingness to create or co-create those kinds of stories with our brand clients, where and when the story provides real value, news and information to the audience,” said Dominic Sandifer, president of Greenlight Media and Marketing.

“We’ve done three super high-quality series, they’ve delivered millions of impressions, some really important sponsorship business, so it’s been a really great success story so far in terms of getting off the ground.” -Berend

On the hunt for attention, media outlets gamify the news

Last week, Al Jazeera launched “Pirate Fishing,” an online game that puts players in the role of a journalist as he investigates an illegal fishing trade.

And while Al Jazeera might have been able to tell that story via video or text, putting it in game form gives it the sort of engagement that other story forms couldn’t match.

“We felt that process of evidence gathering would be interesting to pass onto viewers and bring them deeper into the story.” -Al Jazeera reporter Juliana Ruhfus

Gannett-owned Des Moines Register has also taken a stab at interactivity. Last week, it unveiled Harvest of Change, an interactive game that uses an immersive 360-degree format to tell a story about how Iowa farmers are dealing with demographic, economic and environmental changes. The team even made the project compatible with the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, which Facebook recently acquired for $2 billion. (Note: This was available to interact with at ONA.)

“It’s important for us and our journalists to not allow a medium to develop that we’re not going to at least explore,” said Anthony DeBarros, director of interactive applications at Gannett Digital. “It’s important to understand how we can be a part of an emerging medium.” DeBarros said that Gannett’s next goal was to figure out how to scale certain parts of Harvest of Change so that it can easily replicate the process for other projects.”

For print-turned-digital publishers, the situation is particularly dire, as people are spending just 6 percent of their media consumption time on print media, according to recent data from Kleiner Perkins analyst Mary Meeker.

BuzzFeed plans to take the push into games even further. Earlier this month, BuzzFeed announced plans to build its own dedicated game development team. BuzzFeed product vp Chris Johanesen told TechCrunch the plan for the team was create something closer to BuzzFeed’s existing quizzes rather than expensive blockbuster titles. “We wanted to create things that people would play with rather than just consume,” he said.

These projects don’t seem to be particularly scalable, however. Ruhfus said it took her eight-person team over a year to release “Pirate Fishing.” Likewise, the Harvest of Change credits over 20 people who had a hand in its production.

Still, Ruhfus said that news organizations should be constantly pushing boundaries with interactivity, especially if they want to attract younger audiences. “Readers today want to participate. They don’t just want to be talked at anymore,” she said.

How Fox Sports conquered social media

Still, Fox Sports is holding the middle, having grown its traffic 15 percent in the past year. Since January, it’s also more than doubled its Facebook likes to 5 million and grown its Twitter followers to 937,000 from 623,000. McDoniel shared a few of Fox Sports’ secrets of its success.

Breaking news is a commodity with a short shelf life. Fox Sports discovered that most social activity that occurs around breaking news takes place in the first two hours, so speed is paramount, whether it’s breaking the story itself or aggregating someone else’s coverage.

To capitalize on its growing mobile and social audience, Fox Sports launched a short-form video series, @theBuzzer, in April. Fox originally went for short, skit-based videos lasting under 2 minutes. Over time, it learned that breaking news in videos lasting under a minute was a better way to serve the news-seeking audience and cheaper and easier to produce.

By targeting stories to the audiences that are likely to be interested in them, based on where they live or teams they’ve liked in the past, the site can maximize its chances of getting that content shared. (Note: We do this, too.)

By posting in high volume, Fox Sports believes it gets enough social traffic by organic means.

Google Unveils New Ads Built With Mobile in Mind They instantly adjust for every screen size

Among the new offerings will be mobile lightbox engagement ads, which “dynamically resize to fit any screen size.”

Other new formats include an anchor ad that sits at the bottom of the screen of a user’s mobile device, staying there unless the user dismisses it. There also is a new glossy, magazine-style text ad format.
Google described the new styles as “big brand ads, built for mobile and resized for every screen.” The company is offering an auto-resizing tool for the Google Display Network, as well as improved Flash-to-HTML5 conversion tools.
It said the changes would become available over the coming months but did not specify which services would be released first.

7 Big Challenges That Threaten Mobile Advertising’s Meteoric Growth Plenty of hurdles before it can rule the industry

1. Embarrassingly poor creative ad formats.

2. Mobile ad formats are still leaning toward direct response due to the format limitations.

3. The shift from banners to video needs to happen but won’t occur overnight.

4. “In many cases, it still operates with a ‘push mentality,’ where consumers are considered wading around like ducks for a piece of bread.”

5. “If there might be any downfall to mobile advertising, it would be consumer indifference,” contended Bob Dorfman, Baker Street Advertising creative director. “Today’s digital consumer is smarter and wiser to advertising and knows when they’re being jobbed.”

6. “In addition, the agencies who control the bulk of large brand spending will want to make their advertising purchases in familiar ways, and that means buying audiences—not networks, publishers or clicks.”

7. “The No. 1 problem is ineffective ad targeting. Now, users can opt-in to [personalization] based on in-app behavior, social media and location.”

The state of ad retargeting, in 5 charts

Retargeting is growing as an area of marketing spending. In a survey by Marin Software, 88 percent of marketers said they were using it, with Google search and display being the dominant retargeting tools. Of those that didn’t use the tactic, more than half said they planned to within the next 12 months.

AOL, Publicis Group Expand Partnership Into Programmatic Video Agencies can tap into premium reserve and private marketplaces

“AOL is transforming as a company and as a partner into a programmatic advertising platform, and today’s announcement is another big step in our strategy. Publicis is a global leader in digital advertising, and we are excited to advance our global partnership into video and linear TV on the ONE by AOL platform,” said AOL CEO Tim Armstrong in a statement

Study: People Are Not Most Attentive When Watching TV at Home Better recall on smartphones

…many brands have turned to mastering the six second Vine video.
The problem with this approach is that it fails to consider context. Reach and frequency have long been the standard metrics in advertising, despite the fact that devices, platforms and content are not created equal.

…while fragmentation is rampant, consumers are watching all forms of digital video content across all devices pretty much all the time.

…a smartphone led to greater message recall—41 percent versus 39 percent for tablet and 37 percent for desktop.

Programmatic, real-time and talent: What we learned at Advertising Week

The distribution and business models for online news may be changing, but trust and credibility still matter. Hence sites like Mashable hiring veteran journalistic stalwarts like Jim Roberts. “You have to build trust with the reader,” Mashable founder Pete Cashmore said during a panel called “What is Newsworthy?”

That said, delivering the news online today requires a different skill set from the past. Greg Coleman, president of BuzzFeed, said at his former employer The Huffington Post, “If you were a great writer and lousy at social sharing, you were out.”

But advertisers have to be careful about trying consumers’ tolerance for pre-roll video. Too much pre-roll video advertising is still running too long. And the advent of wearables holds out promise for call-to-action ads, as long as the screen is big enough.

But the banner is too ingrained as a monetization vehicle to be written off just yet. “I do see the evolution of social video and video on mobile taking reliance on the banner to a new low,” said Brian Blummer, svp of monetization, Keek.

Having the right talent is the most important key to successfully navigating a media company in today’s fast-changing environment. Media CEOs said they spent a surprising amount of time dealing with human resource issues and that their biggest mistakes came down to a failure to manage and to make personnel changes quickly enough.

Who wins the video ad popularity contest, mobile or desktop?


Does it matter that some New York Times editors and writers don’t tweet? Yes and no

Foreign correspondent Damien Cave and others echoed a common refrain, which is that just because a New York Times reporter or editor doesn’t tweet a lot doesn’t mean that they aren’t listening to readers and following conversations about stories — a point that deputy digital editor Amy O’Leary also made. Others noted that there are lots of different ways to respond to readers and engage with them, including Facebook, email and in person.

What is increasingly clear to me is that interacting and engaging are part of a journalist’s job now, regardless of what platform they use to do it. And it’s not enough to respond to an email, which only two people (the sender and the receiver) will ever see. To achieve the full effect, it has to be done as publicly as possible — that’s where the transparency part comes in.

Why Rumors Outrace the Truth Online

The problem, however, is that the spread of rumors, misinformation and unverified claims can overwhelm any effort to set the record straight, as we’ve seen during controversies over events like the Boston Marathon bombings and the conspiracy theory that the Obama administration manipulated unemployment statistics.

To see just how these false and unverified claims are shared, Craig Silverman, a journalist and fellow at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, has developed Emergent, a tool that tracks the dissemination of rumors online on topics ranging from a Microsoft acquisition (true, Mr. Silverman says) to a supposed pumpkin spice condom created by Durex (false, Mr. Silverman says).

What’s even more striking, though, is how initial false reports can be circulated much more widely than later corrections. For example, the Snopes page on the jetliner story has been shared only 735 times since it was revised to classify the rumor false, a small fraction of the circulation of articles endorsing the claim.

Daily Scroll: Facebook’s Atlas; Chartbeat’s attention measure, N.Y. Times native strategy

29 Sep

Let’s see how long I can keep this up: a daily compilation of important media industry reads. Just keep scrolling until you see something you like, and certainly click through for the full stories.

Facebook’s new people-based ad technology

Facebook’s improved Atlas ad server will be fully unwrapped this week, and one digital advertising CEO called it “marketing nirvana.”
It’s the biggest step in unleashing Facebook’s reservoir of data to deliver ads outside its walls and across apps, the mobile Web and desktop, rivaling the infrastructure of the likes of Google, which has dominated digital advertising for a decade.

“We’re not sharing information with marketers about who you are,” a Facebook representative said.
For now, marketers will be able to target basic demographic data like age and gender, but eventually Atlas could include more interest-based data of the kind already used to target ads on Facebook.

Atlas is just Facebook’s latest ad platform that extends the social network’s reach beyond its own properties to be able to hit Internet users when they are spending time outside its walls.

MORE: Facebook Will Use Facebook Data to Sell Ads on Sites That Aren’t Facebook

The most tantalizing notion I’ve heard this week is that Facebook has talked to Twitter about joining up, and that the idea remains a possibility.

But some smart people I talk to suggest that what’s really at play here is data, not dollars: If Facebook can convince more publishers to let it into their ad business, it’s ultimately going to glean information that will makes its own ads, on its own properties, much more powerful

How Facebook and Google are taking over your online identity

People eventually got sick of carrying a headful of IDs (usernames and passwords) around every time they want for a little stroll online; so in 2008 Facebook and Google said to the others, “Look, let us be your gatekeepers. We can check people’s credentials and let them in for you.” Your Facebook or Google accounts suddenly became passports, giving access to all territories. In return for their service, these identity providers note the details of your comings and goings. It’s like if your government monitored where your passport was and sent you restaurant recommendations.

Between them, Facebook and Google account for over 80% of social log-ins…

The most tantalizing notion I’ve heard this week is that Facebook has talked to Twitter about joining up, and that the idea remains a possibility.

It’s clear why websites and apps use social login. Some 60% of respondents said they had abandoned a purchase on a website or mobile app because it required filling out an online registration form. And nearly two-thirds of respondents said they were likely to use social login on their phones instead of creating a new username of password, suggesting convenience is what drives use.

Chartbeat gets certified to measure attention, tries to move advertising away from clicks and pageviews

Chartbeat CEO Tony Haile says the certification came from the Media Ratings Council, the national standards body that decides what can be used as a currency for advertising in the U.S. After a nine-month auditing process that investigated every part of Chartbeat’s analytics engine, the council said the company is now accredited to measure attention metrics for both display advertising and content.

“But now it’s official — so now, there can be an attention economy, in which both publishers and advertisers buy and sell attention minutes or metrics as a measurement.” -CEO Tony Haile

Chartbeat looks at a variety of factors…But the crucial one is to sense whether someone is actually looking at the page, and it does this by tracking movement or interaction — based on the fact the average user touches the mouse or keyboard at least once every 4.8 seconds.

“This gives brands exactly what they want in a transparent way — they want the attention of their audience, and this gives them that in a completely measurable way. And for publishers, they want to know that they’ve created something valuable that holds people’s attention, and this tells them that.” -Haile

Going native at the Times

“The best way to preserve editorially independent, high quality journalism is to preserve the business model. And I think the idea of branded content that shares a form factor with editorial is a great first step.” -Meredith Kopit Levien, Times advertising chief

The signature development of Levien’s tenure so far, and one that is seen as a key piece of the Times Company’s growth blueprint, has been “Paid Posts,” a digital advertising platform by which brands can purchase explicitly labeled web real estate that resembles Times storytelling. Native is a fast-growing segment of the $43 billion U.S. digital advertising market, with 66 percent of American agencies and 64 percent of marketers as of September 2013 saying they planned to spend on native during the subsequent six-month period…

The most successful campaigns have netted hundreds of thousands of views, said Levien, and the content creation alone, not accounting for media placement, has run Times advertisers anywhere from $25,000 to upwards of $200,000, according to sources familiar with the rates.

But the overall success of Levien’s stewardship will hinge on how effectively she confronts the economic realities that have depleted the Times’ advertising coffers from $1.3 billion a year at their peak in 2000 to around $666.7 million in 2013. With the exception of a 3.4 percent bump in the first quarter of 2013, Times advertising revenues have been in a state of perpetual decline for more than three years, with a 4.1 percent slide to $156.3 million in the second quarter of this year. That includes a 6.6 percent drop on the print side…

“I think you’re gonna see some different things from us than what you’d expect in an advertorial.” -Levien

Ello, Ello? New ‘No Ads’ Social Network Ello Is Blowing Up Right Now

In March a new social network launched promising the opposite business model to Facebook, i.e. not selling ads based on user data and instead relying on, perhaps, paid premium features to keep going. Ello then sunk without a trace until, in the last 24-48 hours or so, activity on the site completely blew up.

(I am https://ello.co/gerick)

The Guardian: Introducing our new live blogs

The new page balances breaking updates with an at-a-glance summary.

Readers who are new to the story or just looking for the last big development should find this a much quicker way of getting up to speed. Each key event can be clicked to jump to the full update in the live feed.

Polish newspaper launches interactive data journalism site

“The text is a comment attached to the data,” said BIQdata editor Vadim Makarenko. “This is a new approach when it comes to media in Poland. A lot of NGOs do it right now, but not media. This was the first website of its kind.”

Digital Media to Take Center Stage at Advertising Week
BuzzFeed, Instagram, Automated Ad Buying to Dominate Chatter at Annual Conference

ZenithOptimedia predicts that Internet advertising will command about 24% of the $523 billion that is expected to be spent on ads around the globe in 2014. This year, for the first time, Internet advertising will exceed the combined share spent on newspapers and magazines, Zenith predicts

One Push Notification Too Many Will Make Consumers Delete Your iBeacon App

“We tried small test groups and found that, surprise, surprise, when the phone buzzes too much, consumers ultimately don’t come back and delete the app. They’re done with it.” -Todd Dipaola, co-founder of inMarket
It turns out message overload arrives quite quickly, according to inMarket, which released a study that found that any more than one beacon push per location was too much.

A report from Adobe said that more than 50 percent of mobile marketers are using iBeacon technology or plan to do so within the next year.

In these early iBeacon test stages, many retailers, brands and marketing agencies are using the beacons to glean valuable insights into shopping behavior.
The marketing can come days or weeks later, Alyssa Meritt, head of strategic consulting at Urban Airship, said.
“This is a tremendous opportunity to learn about consumers, and it can be a tremendous competitive advantage.”

How social media is reshaping news


1. How do social media sites stack up on news?
Roughly two-thirds (64%) of U.S. adults use Facebook, and half of those users get news there — amounting to 30% of the general population.

2. How do social media users participate in news? Half of social network site users have shared news stories, images or vidoes , and nearly as many (46%) have discussed a news issue or event. In addition to sharing news on social media, a small number are also covering the news themselves, by posting photos or videos of news events.

3. How do social media users discover news? Facebook is an important source of website referrals for many news outlets, but the users who arrive via Facebook spend far less time and consume far fewer pages than those who arrive directly. The same is true of users arriving by search. Our analysis of comScore data found visitors who go to a news media website directly spend roughly three times as long as those who wind up there through search or Facebook, and they view roughly five times as many pages per month.

4. What’s the news experience like on Facebook? Our study of news consumption on Facebook found Facebook users are experiencing a relatively diverse array of news stories on the site — roughly half of Facebook users regularly see six different topic areas. The most common news people see is entertainment news: 73% of Facebook users regularly see this kind of content on the site. Unlike Twitter, where a core function is the distribution of information as news breaks, Facebook is not yet a place many turn to for learning about breaking news.

5. How does social media impact the discussion of news events? Our recent survey revealed social media doesn’t always facilitate conversation around the important issues of the day…And Facebook and Twitter users were less likely to want to share their opinions in many face-to-face settings, especially if they felt their social audience disagreed with them.

Can Mobile Rule the Ad World? After early struggles, the small screen may ultimately emerge as the winner

Image: AdWeek

Mobile sales figures at both Facebook and Twitter are soaring, with each enjoying double-digit gains per quarter. Meanwhile, the process of advertising on mobile devices may have just gotten easier. Facebook today will introduce Atlas, which is designed to help marketers track campaigns across smartphones, tablets and desktops. Also this week, Nielsen is expected to pitch the TV networks a measurement tool that will pair mobile views with TV ratings. Google is also set to debut rich media ads for mobile.

And for the first time ever, cable and satellite subscriptions last year declined versus the year prior…

“There’s a big acceleration of millennials expecting content on demand and optimized for any device,” pointed out research guru Jason Dorsey, who specializes in Gen Y. “It would be naïve to say that TV doesn’t reach them, but when looking at how they take in entertainment and information via mobile devices, TV is not where it is at.”

Magazine Metrics Expand Beyond Ad Pages to Digital Monthly report from the MPA will measure 147 periodicals’ reach beyond print

Beginning in October, the MPA will also publish a separate report tracking magazines’ audiences on social media platforms including Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Google+. All data will be collected by third-party groups like GfK MRI, Ipsos, comScore, Nielsen Online and SocialFlow.

Apple devices account for majority of internet traffic on smartphones, tablets; Safari is top browser

According to research by Adobe, the majority of US mobile website traffic on smartphones in June 2014 came from Apple devices, with a 54% share. In comparison, second-place Samsung accounted for 24% of visits to consumer-facing entertainment, financial services, media, retail and travel websites during the month. Apple really shined when it came to website traffic on tablets, with 80% of visits.

Why Time is expanding its circle of publisher friends

Time.com, for instance, is in the midst of a traffic explosion, with its multiplatform audience soaring 90 percent to 25 million monthly uniques in the past year, according comScore.

Time has around 30 content partners, from just three or four a year ago.

“We have massively diversified the range of outside contributors to Time,” Edward Felsenthal, managing editor, said. “It’s a way to draw on the expertise that’s all over the company and to reduce duplication. And save money, frankly.”

Time’s partner strategy is likely one reason that Facebook has more than tripled as a source of referral traffic, to 16 percent in the first half of this year, per Omniture.

For now, Time seems intent on keeping its site less porous than others have. The outside content comes from reputable news sources or from contributors it has solicited. Moreover, Time.com doesn’t plan to let the partner content exceed 10 percent of the site’s overall traffic.
“We don’t post anything we haven’t read or asked for or approved,” Felsenthal said.

How Tribune Publishing is evolving its programmatic approach

“Prior to the construct of a private marketplace, it was very difficult for the buy side to identify that premium inventory they were looking for,” Lori Tavoularis, managing director of revenue partnerships, said. Going to a private marketplace “definitely increased the amount of conversations and business we were doing with agency trading desks and with agencies.”

Meanwhile, she said the programmatic effort has helped Tribune attract non-endemic clients that hadn’t advertised with the publisher before, like Kayak and Priceline.
“We have been narrowly focused on our book of business,” she said. “Now, with programmatic, you’re finding that even though someone might not be a traditional advertiser, your audience might be a good match for them. Programmatic and DSPs have kind of changed that.”

How Shane Smith Built Vice Into a $2.5 Billion Empire 2014 Brand Genius winner for media

In the past year alone, Vice Media has launched a full-fledged news division, announced plans for a 24-hour news network and raised $500 million from investors A&E Networks (“It cannot be underestimated their ability to reach a very hard-to-reach audience,” says A&E CEO Nancy Dubuc) and venture capital firm Technology Crossover Ventures.

We want to do three things. We want to make good content, we want to have as many eyeballs as possible see that content, and we want to make money so that we can keep paying to do that content.” -Shane Smith

According to Smith, Vice’s ad inventory is sold out on every platform, including its booming YouTube channel, across the next eight months. “Even when Vice was at its craziest and most zany and salty, we were still 50 percent ads,” says Smith. “I think that the skill lies in getting the brand what they want, which is brand lift, while also getting the content that we want out there, rather than the content that [brands] want or that everybody thinks that they want. Our success lies in finding brands that are sophisticated enough to realize that they should sponsor that content.”

%d bloggers like this: