Tag Archives: Journalism

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: Washington Post mobile strategy; Twitter’s future?

22 Oct

For an internal PR piece, the Washington Post mobile insight is really good. Also check out the inside look at Bloomberg’s video strategy.

Meet the Post’s mobile leadership, A Q&A with Cory Haik and Julia Beizer (Washington Post PR)

We’ve hired a lot of key people to focus on our growing mobile audiences: a group of editors with deep knowledge in important verticals — from world news to social and engagement — producers with killer technical chops, designers with intense focus on producing across screen sizes and device types. To do mobile right, you have to think about the readers, the products and the stories together. With this team we’re attempting to do that from the small screen up.

The recent iOS 8 launch unlocked a lot of cool functionality for publishers. We added a Today Extension widget for our iPhone and iPad apps. The widget shows off the top three Post headlines at any given time and allows readers easy access into the app. We also took advantage of Apple’s new interactive notifications feature, allowing readers to dive right into a breaking news story – or save it to read later.

Readers coming to us from mobile devices are now more than 50% of our total audience—and 52% of our mobile readers are millennials.

Twitter’s Audacious Plan to Infiltrate All Your Apps (WIRED)

If Twitter succeeds with this plan, it won’t matter whether or not you use Twitter the product. You will end up using Twitter the company every time you use your phone—even if you’re not aware of it.

The payoff for Twitter will come if it can get developers to embrace MoPub,, its advertising product, because it gets a cut of any ad revenue. So it gives developers these nice tools to sign people up and improve their apps’ performance—and oh yeah, here is a click-to-install ad plug-in to go along with that, which happens to make us money.

While tweets will remain Twitter’s foundation, this is a real strategy shift that’s in many ways similar to Google’s growth out of search.

“It’s not a departure so much as moving beyond Twitter the product and moving into Twitter the company and the platform,” Twitter CEO Dick Costolo tells WIRED. “It’s about helping define the future of the mobile landscape and building an application developer’s platform for the future.”

Inside Bloomberg Media’s digital video business (Digiday)

“What we are seeing now is a new ubiquity of video, especially on desktop,” Paul Marcum told Digiday. “Users are increasingly accepting video as an integral part of their experience.”

…Bloomberg fetches $75 CPMs for its video ads…

The homepage now prominently features the latest Bloomberg videos and a live stream of Bloomberg TV, while news articles more often include video content, like repurposed television clips.

In addition to making better use of its TV content, Bloomberg Media has a 20-person team making digital originals.

“I don’t think [autoplay] is in the best interest of Bloomberg or the advertisers who are taking out these pre-rolls that are just launching automatically. Leaving the user with a bad impression is not good business.” -eMarketer analyst Paul Verna

In August, Bloomberg measured 64 million video streams across its digital platforms, of which roughly 2.8 million were prompted by autoplay.

Bloomberg has forged a number of key partnerships with publishers like Yahoo, MSN and The Telegraph, which distribute some Bloomberg videos to their own audiences. Marcum couldn’t disclose how much traffic these partners drive or the financial terms of agreements but said they provide “a significant overall lift” to Bloomberg’s video business.

Inside Instagram’s Secret Barter Economy’ Influencers swap photos for helicopter rides and champagne (AdWeek)

How paid social has changed social media management (Digiday)

The Someecards formula for shareable native ads (Digiday)

If you’re trying to get people to like and share your native ads, here’s a tip: Make them funny, and maybe add a touch of honesty.


Yahoo Finally Reveals How Much Money Tumblr Can Bring In Ads; Predicts $100 million (AdWeek)

Do Mothers Need Some Time Away from Social Media? (eMarketer)

Half of US mother social media users surveyed—those ages 18 to 64 with at least one child under 18 in the household—said they felt pressure to create an image that their lives were perfect on social networks. This was especially true among younger mothers—whose peers are more likely to access social sites.

The California Sunday Magazine sets out to win the West (CJR)

The Daily Scroll is a roundup of my favorite media reads Monday through Thursday. All excerpts are copied-and-pasted, except for the intro.

Daily Scroll: Facebook’s coming for YouTube; Guardian surpasses New York Times

21 Oct

The Guardian is letting everyone know it’s moved ahead of the Grey Lady on ComScore. Also, the younger the Snapchat user, the more active they are, by a wide margin. Lastly, there’s a huge new study from Pew Research — I just linked to a social media section, but it’s all there.

How A/B testing became publishers’ go-to traffic builder (Digiday)

So “An Epic Battle Between Acrobatic Dogs and a Gardening House” got twice the click-throughs from Facebook and shares than the non-epic “Battle Between Acrobatic Dogs and a Gardening House.”

It tested various versions of modules and found that placing them to the right of an article, as in the screen shot below, led to a 28 percent increase in social sharing over the control site.


In one example, BuzzFeed noticed that people coming to the site from Pinterest “overwhelmingly want to pin again,” Nguyen said. The question was, how could BuzzFeed make it easier for them to pin content from the site. So BuzzFeed ran a test with a small number of users where it removed other sharing buttons. “Even if you took into account all the lost Facebook and Twitter shares, the amount of pinning overwhelmingly increased,” she said.

Because A/B testing centers on small changes, it favors an iterative approach to design rather than wholesale redesigns.

BuzzFeed’s Nguyen asserts that while BuzzFeed avoids massive overhauls, its constant small tweaks add up to big changes to the site over time. She does, however, note the risk in assuming that just the results of one test can apply elsewhere on the site. “We’re not a company that’s slaves to the numbers,” she said. “We use data to inform decisions; we don’t use it to dictate strategy.”

Section 2: Social Media, Political News and Ideology (Pew)

(This is just one part of a huge report.)

Facebook is now a widely-used source for news about government and politics. Nearly half (48%) of the panelists say they accessed news about politics and government on Facebook in the past week, about as many as got news about these topics from local TV (49%). (Note that this survey is representative of the 89% of Americans who have access to the internet. Based on the full population, somewhat fewer—39%—get news from Facebook in a typical week.)

And Facebook far surpasses other social media sites, such as YouTube and Twitter, as a source for news about politics and government. Just 14% say they got political news in the past week from YouTube, 9% from Twitter, 6% from Google Plus and 3% from LinkedIn.

Fully 77% of web panelists use Facebook. That compares with 63% who use YouTube and much smaller shares who use Twitter (22%), Google Plus (24%) or LinkedIn (26%).

At the same time that consistent conservatives are less likely to use Facebook than other groups, those who do use it are highly engaged with political news.1 Two-thirds of consistent conservatives who see political posts on Facebook pay “a lot” of (19%) or “some” attention (47%) to those posts. Similarly, six-in-ten consistent liberals who see political posts on Facebook pay “a lot” of (14%) or “some” (46%) attention.

Digital Ad Revenues Hit Landmark High in First Half High of 2014, Surging to $23.1 Billion, According to IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report (iab)

  • Mobile revenues increased 76 percent to 5.3 billion at HY 2014, from the $3.0 billion (15% of total) reported at HY 2013, with the 2014 six month total consisting of $2.7 billion mobile search, $2.5 billion mobile display, and $103 million in other mobile formats
  • Digital video, a component of display-related advertising, reached $1.5 billion, a 13 percent increase in revenue over the first half of 2013 at $1.3 billion
  • Search revenues in the first half of 2014 hit $9.1 billion, up 4 percent from $8.7 billion in the first six months of 2013
  • Display-related advertising revenues in the first half of 2014 totaled $6.5 billion, a 6 percent uptick from $6.1 billion in the first half of 2013, and accounted for 28 percent of digital advertising revenue overall
  • Social media revenues, which includes advertising delivered on social platforms, including social networking and social gaming websites and apps, reached $2.9 billion in HY 2014, a double-digital hike of 58 percent over the same period in 2013, at $1.9 billion
  • The top three advertising verticals continue to account for nearly half of advertising revenue (46%), including Retail at 21 percent, Financial Services at 13 percent and Automotive at 12 percent

Social Proof in the User Experience (NN/g)

People are guided by other people’s behavior, so we can represent the actions, beliefs, and advice of the crowd in a design to influence users.

Facebook video isn’t killing off YouTube — yet (Digiday)

Combined with the introduction of autoplay videos and its unprecedented reach and targeting options, Facebook is becoming the Web’s second most important video platform.

…Socialbakers…released a study last week showing that YouTube’s share of the number of brand videos posted to Facebook was diminishing, as was its share of interactions on video posts.

“Basically, there are no signs of the trend reversing from its current path

Google, YouTube’s parent company, told Digiday it, too, is seeing an increase in upload activity: More than 300 hours of video are now uploaded to YouTube every minute, up from 100 hours last May, according to a Google spokesperson.

Facebook’s superior targeting will attract marketers seeking reach on specific campaigns, while YouTube’s relative cheaper cost per view will make it alluring for brands looking to build more lasting, consistent connections with consumers.

“Their growth isn’t at the expense of either; it’s at the expense of text,” George Hammer, DigitasLBi’s svp of content and social strategy, said. “For more and more of our campaigns, the preferred medium is video.”

Millennial media-consumption habits explained, in 5 charts (Digiday)

New York Times partners with Citi for mobile native advertising solution (inma)

Citi and The New York Times collaborated on a never-been-done-before branding opportunity integrally incorporated into the user experience of The Scoop, a mobile application from The New York Times that aggregates and recommends “the best of New York.”

The Citi Bike sponsorship of The Scoop app provided additional value to users and offered Citi an effective, editorially integrated branding opportunity — all while promoting a programme that promises to reduce emissions, road wear, collisions, road and transit congestion, and improve public health.

Where Can Digital Video Ads Have Consumers’ Attention? Smartphones (eMarketer)

The device on which a consumer views video ads matters far more than mood or location—or even the content genre.

Among US internet users who viewed pre-roll video ads on a smartphone—a group that’s often on the go—64% of those who were highly attentive planned to purchase the product advertised. In comparison, just 23% of smartphone viewers who paid little attention intended to buy.

Nate Silver Develops Video to Demystify Data on ESPN Stats Site (AdAge)

Snapchat’s Audience Is Teen-y (eMarketer)


Among 14-to-17-year-old US internet users surveyed, 36.8% said they used Snapchat at least weekly. Meanwhile, 18- to 34-year-olds trailed by nearly 16 percentage points, and a mere 4.2% of those ages 35 to 54 smiled, snapped and sent.

Google’s product strategy: Make two of everything (arstechnica)

The Guardian overtakes New York Times in comScore traffic figures (The Guardian)

Last month theguardian.com website network recorded 42.6 million worldwide unique visitors, a 12.3% month-on-month increase, according to the latest comScore report on desktop web usage. The New York Times drew 41.6 million worldwide unique visitors, up 8% month on month.

Jill Abramson Teaming With Steve Brill on Startup Venture (The Wrap)

As for the partnership with [Steven] Brill, [Jill] Abramson said, “He and I will be doing one big story a year.”

Gannett earnings strong, but publishing revenues continue a steep slide (Poynter)

U.S publishing ad revenues year-to-date are down 6.3 percent. At Gannett, that difference is more than made up by booming broadcast operations and freestanding digital ventures like CareerBuilder. So revenues for the entire company are up a healthy 13.4 percent.

Gannett’s advertising decline to date (-6.3 percent) roughly matches the industry rate in 2013 (-6.5 percent).

Gannett’s broadcast revenues are up 97.2 percent year-to-date in large part because the operation is much larger after acquisition of Belo’s 20 stations.

Mobile Ads Could Make or Break the Yahoo-Tumblr Marriage (AdWeek)

New York-based Tumblr’s numbers state that 65 percent of its 400 million global monthly users employ its mobile app. And with mobile ad sales exploding for Facebook and Twitter, Tumblr’s millennial prowess looms like an untapped beer keg for youth-minded brands.

BuzzFeed to Retain Seat Among IAB’s Advertising Elite; Blog-born publishers gain clout (AdWeek)

The Daily Scroll is a roundup of my favorite media reads Monday through Thursday. All text is copied-and-pasted from articles. You should click on them for the full story.

Daily Scroll: Facebook, Google dominate referral traffic; why there’s no ‘dislike’ button

20 Oct

Today we finally learn why there isn’t (and probably never will be) a Facebook “dislike” button, and you can probably guess the reason. Also, some worthwhile insight about Facebook’s and Google’s monopoly on referral traffic.

How Facebook and Google Now Dominate Media Distribution (Monday Note)

Many great news brands today see their direct traffic — that is readers accessing deliberately the URL of the site — fall well below 50%.

According to last Summer ComScore data, a typical BuzzFeed viewer reads on average 2.3 articles and spends slightly more than 3 minutes per visit. And when she leaves BuzzFeed, she goes back to the social nest (or to Google-controlled sites) roughly in the same proportion. As for direct access, it amounts to only 6% and Twitter’s traffic is almost no existent (less than 1%).

Whether it is 75% of traffic coming from social for BuzzFeed or 30% to 40% for Mashable or others of the same kind, the growing reliance to social and search raises several questions.

Roughly speaking, for a news, value-added type media, the number of page views by source goes like this:
Direct Access : 5 to 6 page views
Google Search: 2 to 3
Emailing: ~2
Google News: ~1
Social: ~1
These figures show how good you have to be in collecting readers from social sources to generate the same advertising ARPU as from a loyal reader coming to your brand because she likes it. Actually, you have to be at least six times better.

Chartbeat tries to fight the smoke and mirrors in web measurement by going public with its metrics (Gigaom)

In an attempt to force a change to that state of affairs, Chartbeat announced on Monday that it is making public all of the metrics, standards and methods of measurement it uses internally — including a detailed breakdown of their weaknesses and limitations.

An Audience of Users (Medium)
We must learn what customers really want, not what they say they want, or what we think they should want.

In my view, most brands and media organizations face three main hurdles:

-Insights into who their users are, how they are consuming content, and why they are engaging
-Time to build relationships across multiple channels with multiple user groups with differing needs
-Understanding of the problem as a “how” question rather than a “who/what” question

It’s about thinking more expansively about the definitions of “audience” and “user,” and finding ways to meet their needs, regardless of where they are on that journey.

New Facebook Tool Lets Marketers Host Real-Time Chats With Celebs (AdWeek)

8 tips from Metro for producing a mobile news app (Journalism UK)

1 Identify your objectives
2 Consider using an ‘off-the-shelf’ app supplier
3 Test before you launch
4 Apple is crucial
5 Think beyond the original source material
6 Keeping your customers happy
7 Expect to work unusual hours
8 The future is unwritten

YouTube Content Creator Channels Help Marketers Get in on the Right Action (eMarketer)


Washington Post Adds a National Tabloid Edition (N.Y. Times)

Local newspapers across the nation can now deliver with their Sunday papers a 24-page color tabloid edition of The Post. A news release said The Post’s insert would include news, including “coverage of politics, policy, national and world events, lifestyle, and the arts along with a wide range of commentary.”

The Dallas Morning News was the first paper to deliver the new edition starting on Sunday.

Here’s Why Facebook Never Created a ‘Dislike’ Button (AdWeek)

“I have the feeling that if there were to be a ‘Dislike’ button is that you would end up with these really negative social aspects to it,” Facebook CTO Bret Taylor says. “If you want to dislike something, you should probably write a comment, because there’s probably a word for what you want to say.”

This is the most important person at Gawker you’ve never heard of (Digiday)

Vice News announces Australian expansion (mUmBRELLA)

Vice’s push into Australia follows hot on the heels of a plethora of other international media organisations including: The Guardian, Buzzfeed, the Daily Mail, Huffington Post and BBC.

16 Months After Acquisition, Yahoo Hasn’t Made Tumblr Uncool (AdWeek)

True to her word, Mayer has let this place alone.
“It’s a very healthy working relationship where we are still able to maintain our independence but also have a lot of great access to the technology and financial resources they have to help us grow our business faster,” said Lee Brown, Tumblr’s global head of brand partnerships.

Foursquare rolls out first ad campaign (Digiday)

The six-week campaign will appear at bus stops, train stations and phone kiosks in Chicago and New York, and at bike share stations in Chicago. It is the company’s first advertising campaign and an attempt to simultaneously rebrand Foursquare and jumpstart stagnant user growth. The campaign’s aspirations are to educate non-users that Foursquare is a personalized local search app and no longer “that check-in company.”

The Daily Scroll is a roundup of my favorite media reads Monday through Thursday.

Daily Scroll: The news app for teen girls; more digital newsroom strategies unveiled

14 Oct

BuzzFeed is redefining another traditional title — publisher. Also, plenty of insight into the digital strategies of newsrooms around the world.

BuzzFeed’s Growth Czar Is Now Its Publisher (Re/code)
That doesn’t mean “publisher” in the traditional sense of the role, Peretti points out in an internal memo you can read below — “She isn’t the heir to a newspaper baron and she won’t be responsible for the business, selling ads or physical newsstand distribution.”

Instead, Nguyen is heading up every part of the company that isn’t editorial, ads or video — “tech, product, data and everything related to our publishing platform,” Peretti writes. That means she’ll now manage more than 100 people — about a sixth of BuzzFeed’s total headcount.

This app is nailing mobile and social storytelling for Gen-Z (Digiday)

You may not know about ShowMobile, but hundreds of thousands of teen and pre-teen girls are turning to the mobile app for an entertainment fix.

ShowMobile’s six-person production division has already developed one popular franchise: “HitStreak.” The weekly episodes live on YouTube, but fans need to stay tuned to the ShowMobile app’s HitStreak channel to get the full story — a medley of comedy, drama and music.

With its Disney-style content, ShowMobile’s userbase skews young and female: 82 percent of users are girls, and 66 percent are between 13 to 17 years old. The average user launches the app five times a day and spends ten minutes in the app, according to the company. Most HitStreak episodes top 100,000 views on YouTube.

10 ideas from the FT for digital change in newsrooms (Journalism UK)

Changing newsroom culture at the FT, La Stampa, Trinity Mirror and Le Soir (The Media Briefing)

“No longer just a newspaper, but the producer of high quality information distributed on all platforms.”

Newsroom culture is largely defined by the people who work in it, and when most newsrooms needing to transition from print to digital are heavily weighted towards older journalists, that can leave them disconnected from a big segment of their potential audience who have different expectations from news outlets.

Belgiam newspaper Le Soir decided to tackle this issue with a surprisingly simple approach – hire young journalists. Under the trendy digital title #25, brought in a dozen young journalists, all under 29, and gave them carte blanche to get involved across almost the whole paper – the only exception being the op-ed section that features on the front page.

MacLeod says that it’s important to shape training to the needs of journalists. Initally the FT ran short lunchtime courses – which it was assumed would be convenient for busy journalists. They eventually found out that most preferred day-long intensive boot camps.

Inside Gannett’s editorial innovation lab (Digiday)

Scaling those editorial products is increasingly possible because the company, under its digital chief David Payne, has been breaking down silos between USA Today and its community newspapers with a common CMS and shared video production studio and news desk.

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

Coverage at the test sites will be determined by listening to readers and gaining a deep understanding of audience analytics. “We’re going to use research as the guide to make decisions and not the journalist’s gut,” The Tennessean’s Stefanie Murray told Poynter.

Reporters at Gannett are outfitted with “audience dashboards,” Marymont said, allowing them to look at “real-time and long-tail data.” Reporters will be tasked with paying more attention to audience feedback both with short-term changes to underperforming stories, like adding interactive elements or tweaking headlines, and with long-term tailoring of beat coverage.

The idea is that newsroom positions focused specifically on audiences and new kinds of content will better allow the newsroom to cater to reader needs.

All five sites — not just The Tennessean — will require staffers to reapply for jobs in the newsroom, Marymont confirmed. But she said the word “reapply” isn’t the right way to look at it: “No one is reapplying for an existing job, because all the jobs have been redefined.”

“We’re giving our employees first crack, of course,” Marymont explained. “Some may look at it and not see a role — I hope that’s a small number. Some may interview for the new jobs, which are very different, and may not have the skills — I hope that’s a very small number.”

Digital Newspaper Readers’ Eyes Shift to Mobile (eMarketer)

The percentage of mobile-only digital newspaper readers more than doubled between August 2013 and August 2014, while the portion of unique visitors who only looked at news on desktops and laptops dropped 16%. But not all mobile users had ditched their PCs—the number of readers who looked at digital news via mobile and nonmobile devices rose 48%.

Should HBO Open A News Division? (Variety)

“We are not a news division,” says Michael Lombardo, HBO’s president of programming, in an interview. Even so, the network recognizes a “huge appetite to be engaged with an opinion, as opposed to being fed facts.” HBO isn’t looking to compete with “NBC Nightly News,” Lombardo says, but “we continue to work at shows that resonate in what I’ll call the ‘non-fiction’ area, and I think you’ll see more from us.”

Confessions of a site designer: ‘We’d like to see more trust’ (Digiday)

The challenge in the content world is that people copy each other without knowing something is going to be successful or whether it’s right for their brands.

Upworthy Claims It Can Deliver Its Positive Spin for Brands (AdWeek)

Upworthy’s advertising package, the Upworthy Collaborations program, is a “strategic bundle” of digital media methods that it knows works for its readership. The company claims that on average, brand content gets 3.5 times more overall views and 2.9 times more attention-minutes above the site average. In addition, these sponsored materials get three times as many social shares. And, according to Marcus, the company is seeing a 50 percent to 100 percent lift from topline brand awareness—and a 15 percent to 25 percent increase in positive associations with the brand.

How News UK digs into data to build its subscriber base (Digiday)

The company has unified its digital and print subscriber data to retarget ads, devise new products, personalize its content. But doing so has meant investing in skills most newspaper groups have never had to have.

To that end, the company’s new recruits have helped identify over 400 different scenarios where a customer interacts with a brand like The Times — 38 of which heavily influence subscriber cancellations. From there, its teams are using its customer analytics to figure out which factors improve customer satisfaction at each point.

Beyond just retaining the readers it already has, the company is also using data to improve customer acquisition. Readers who have considered a subscription but abandon the sign-up process are targeted with ads encouraging them to reconsider.

Dallas Morning News focuses programmatic strategy on selling audiences (inma)

How are journalists at risk of vicarious trauma from UGC? (Journalism UK)

Reddit’s general manager Erik Martin departs following $50M raise (Venture Beat)

Kushner out as Register publisher, remains CEO (L.A. Observed)

Making Sense of Owned Media (HBR)

So what are the elements of an owned media strategy? Think content, community, and context.

Twitter Partners With Bank to Offer Money Transfers via Tweets (All Twitter)

“(S-Money) offers Twitter users in France a new way to send each other money, irrespective of their bank and without having to enter the beneficiary’s bank details, with a simple tweet,” said Nicolas Chatillon, chief executive of S-Money.

Facebook comments: now with stickers (Inside Facebook)

Facebook is rolling out support to add stickers (a popular messaging feature) to comments on personal posts, as well as posts in groups and events. It does not appear that stickers can be posted on a page’s post. This works on both desktop and mobile.

The Daily Scroll are verbatim excerpts from my top media reads Monday through Thursday.

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: BuzzFeed’s social strategy; how Facebook, Google, Apple track you

7 Oct

Note: Haven’t had a chance to read the Jeff Zucker profile.

Love Jonah Peretti’s insight into BuzzFeed’s social vs. search stance. Enjoy.

The Biggest Facebook Publishers of September 2014 (NewsWhip)

-Leaders the Huffington Post have almost 53.5m total interactions.
-BuzzFeed (2nd) put daylight between themselves and Fox News (3rd).
-Mirror.co.uk breaks into the overall top ten for the first time, with 11.2m interactions.
-BBC News, the New York Times and the Guardian all make strong gains.
(Daily Mail is 15th)

How A Google Mistake That Killed BuzzFeed’s Traffic Turned It Into A Social Media Powerhouse (Marketing Land)

By the time the error was resolved, BuzzFeed had shifted direction. Rather than try to balance content aimed to do well with both social and search, BuzzFeed was forced to focus entirely on social to get through the search slump — and it kept that focus going forward.

It especially helped because Peretti’s view is that it’s hard to make content that works for both search and social. That video of cute kittens, for example, isn’t something people are necessarily searching for, so checking that it has the right keywords associated with it doesn’t help.

Today, Peretti says that BuzzFeed gets 75% of its 150 million unique visitors per month through social media. And as for Google and SEO, it’s something he said that BuzzFeed doesn’t really think about.

Still, there’s no doubt that social has emerged as a new and welcomed major traffic source for news publishers as well as other sites alongside search. As BuzzFeed learned, social means an insurance policy against a search catastrophe — just as search can provide a balance for those who might get hit by some social change.

The cookie is dead. Here’s how Facebook, Google, and Apple are tracking you now (Venture Beat)

For Menlo Park, Calif.-based Facebook, it all comes down to the billions of metric tons of highly personal metadata the company has amassed from its 1.3 billion users, such as shoe size, hair color, where your grandmother is buried, and where you went to school, for example.

The social network relies on its SSO (Single Sign-On) to follow the movement of users. SSO allows you to use your Facebook credentials on third-party websites and apps. When you do this, Facebook is watching, following, and cataloging your destination points. This data drives, to a degree, what ads turn up on your Facebook news feed.

Like its Facebook friends just down the freeway, Google also relies heavily on its SSO. Logging into any of your Google accounts ties you to the entire Google network, which is massive.

Together with the information it already has from its many web properties, including YouTube, Gmail, Voice, and Search, the company can compile a dossier, as it were, of your digital history. The websites you visit tell Google plenty, and the information comes in handy no matter what device you’re using.

Longer stories draw more attention, but with diminishing returns (Digiday)

Ironically, it turns out the ideal sweet spot for people’s Web attention span is about the length of a prototypical newspaper article.

Now some publishers like The Economist and Financial Times are trying to push the idea that the time readers spend on their sites is more valuable a metric to advertisers than the size of their audience or pageviews.

So Chartbeat looked at how reading time corresponded with ad-viewing time. The result…shows that ad time definitely increases with reading time. But the ad-viewing time doesn’t keep up with the reading time because there are gaps on the page where no ad is in view.

If We’re Going to Give Facebook Our Data, At Least It Can Do Some Good (Wired)

People reveal a lot about themselves on Facebook, but will they really want the most intimate details of their physical lives packaged and sold? For Facebook, health information presents ethical and regulatory challenges that may not always seem worth the trouble in the context of a quarterly earnings report.

But if users aren’t going to use their leverage to get Facebook to stop exploiting our trust, maybe we can at least get Facebook to exploit us for better ends.

But if users won’t use their power to force practices they don’t like to change, perhaps we at the very least can act as constituents to demand companies like Facebook do more, to take advantage of their unique power to effect genuine innovation, not just better photo filters.

How The New Yorker Finally Figured Out The Internet: 3 Lessons From Its Web Redesign (Fast Co.)

Because the tools are no longer getting in the way of producers doing their job, NewYorker.com is now able to publish a greater volume of stories every day. The site used to top out at 10 or 12 stories each day: now, it publishes around 20 per day.

Different types of readers have different metabolisms, Mitchell says. A person who reads the New Yorker in print might primarily do so on weekends, while someone who reads on the tablet might only read it in bed at night. The smartphone New Yorker reader might just be getting a skim here and there in between trains. And all of these different types of readers need to be kept in mind when you’re designing.

The most important design lesson other publications can learn from NewYorker.com is simply to respect your content enough to put it first, and to let people enjoy it.

“We had good data that showed that if people get through a story from beginning to end, they’re more likely to talk about it, and therefore more likely to share it,” Thompson says. And that means designing a site where everything besides the content fades into the background.

“Even if I didn’t think making our stories as readable as possible was good for traffic and subscription numbers, I’d still do it,” Thompson says.

Google’s “In The News” Box Now Lists More Than Traditional News Sites (Search Engine Land)

Google has confirmed that new “In The News” box appearing in some of its search results now lists content from more than just the traditional news sites. Discussions at Reddit, blog posts, videos and more from non-news sites may turn up.

Should publishers take Web design cues from print? (Digiday)

Designers, however, aren’t convinced that taking so many print cues is the most effective strategy. Bloomberg Businessweek’s bold, often off-kilter design layouts work well on print, but they’re much harder to pull off on the Web, where the design canvas is more limiting and where readers are trained to expect certain kinds of page structures and formats.

Joe Zeff, creative director at ScrollMotion: “On the screen, though, Bloomberg Politics has the potential to give its readers epileptic seizures.”

“When you’re on homepage, the site has already gotten your attention. That job is done,” he said.

In the end, the best-designed sites aren’t those that are the most splashy, but those that consider and respond to how people actually read online. “Your content is going to sell your product, not your page design,” Maccarone said. “The new homepage might be cool when it launches, but it’s only cool for the first week. People often just stop coming.”

Denton: ‘no other company has grown more consistently’ than Gawker Media (Poynter)

Jeff Zucker Has Endured Cancer, Hollywood, and Being TV’s Wunderkind. So Why Not Take on CNN? (N.Y. Magazine)

How The New Yorker Festival Has Become a Magnet for Brands (AdWeek)

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