Digital media disruptions IX - monetization, ROI, and social media pitfalls

Profile picture for user jreed By Jon Reed January 13, 2016
Digital media is still a bumpy ride in 2016. But which stories pass the enterprise gut check? In this edition: the struggle for monetization, the pros and cons of the live stream, and the rise of Medium.

man tempted by TV
Yes - it's time for a new year gut-check of digital media disruptions - the enterprisey review. Rules: pick the impactful stories from my curated digital media collection, give them a hard look from the enterprise side, and, where appropriate, recommend a course of action. Note: this series is NOT geared for the media industry, but for enterprises looking to put down their marketing bullhorn and become digital publishers.

Survey Says: Monetization Will Be Digital Media’s Biggest Challenge in 2016
by: Allie VanNest
key excerpt: "Despite all of the industry noise around native advertising and the use of paywalls or subscriptions to keep publications afloat, only 11 percent and eight percent of respondents to our end-of-year survey, respectively, are anticipating seeing either of these strategies as the main source of revenue."

enterprise relevance: high - if you switch monetization for "content ROI." published a year-end survey of digital publishers. Monetization was high on the list of anticipated 2016 challenges:

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best course of action:

  • Fortunately, most enterprises don't have to grapple with the monetization of media. But the problem of "content ROI" is closely related. (See Barb Mosher Zinck's diginomica piece on addressing content ROI).
  • Tie content analytics closely into lead gen before content investments are made.
  • Mobile content consumption is another key data point from this report. But don't make the mistake of treating mobile and desktop as separate consumption channels. For most enterprise audiences, the greatest value is the seamless transition from mobile to desktop and back again (two great examples of seamless transition are Amazon Kindle and Slack).

Facebook Expands Live Video Beyond Celebrities
: Alex Kantrowitz
key excerpt: "Today, the company is beginning to roll out a feature that allows regular users to broadcast live video directly on Facebook. Previously, this feature was available only to public figures and celebrities via Facebook’s Mentions app."

enterprise relevance: low for Facebook-only, medium for the live streaming trend in general (e.g. Twitter has now announced full Periscope integration, for live streaming on Twitter, starting with the iOS app).

best course of action:

  • Start by looking at the downside of ease of public video streaming on Twitter. Example: rogue live streaming of events that are not open to the public, or where a customer has not approved a public video release.
  • Consider the upside of using live feeds on Twitter and other social channels to add momentum to events (for example, sending field teams out to interview event attendees and stream live exhibitor demos and/or Q/A sessions).
  • Weight the pros/cons of live streaming on accessible channels like YouTube and Twitter versus live streaming on your own web page. If you're looking to capture live stream audiences on your site, make sure the user experience of the stream (such as ease of interactive chat) has been thoroughly planned and tested, including Android and iOS.
  • Facebook live streaming is less of an opportunity/concern at this point given it would likely be used by individuals streaming small or family events to their friends.

How Medium is breaking Washington's op-ed habit
by: Nancy Scola
key excerpt: "'Medium wants to be the default place for people to go when they have ideas of consequence, for storytelling, for conversations that matter," he said. "Breaking paradigms isn't going to happen entirely organically.'"

enterprise relevance: "Medium" - For most enterprises, having a content presence on LinkedIn is more important than Medium (though it might be different for some consumer-facing companies).

best course of action:

  • "Go where the conversations are" is a big factor in marketing strategy. We're paying attention to Medium because of the stickiness and popularity of the platform. If your brand's conversations are happening there, then it may be time to act.
  • Medium does not yet have a sustainable financial model, so caution about over-investing in Medium as a platform is warranted until that model is clear.
  • Learn from Medium from an ease of consumption/UX standpoint. Medium has one of the best user experiences of any blog platform. That's now become a benchmark our own content platforms must measure against.

I drew a bunch of dots to explain why social media is broken.
by: Andrew Golis
key excerpt: "The savviest digital media companies know they’re in an arms race (this 2013 count, even before the first two dramatically expanded, put Business Insider at 300, BuzzFeed at 373 and The Huffington Post at 1,200 pieces published a day)."

enterprise relevance: Medium - unless you're a pure media company, you don't need to compete on volume, only relevance. But this parable about the problem of attention on noisy social feeds is one to take seriously.

best course of action:

  • Monitor engagement levels on various social networks carefully. Look for signs that the algorithms are changing, and experiment with different types of content to determine engagement levels. Be careful of "viral outliers" - content you create that is highly shared but not tied to your core products and areas of topic authority.
  • This Medium blog responds to the Golis piece, sharing the challenge National Geographic faced, and their experiments paying for the organic attention they lost in Facebook feeds.
  • Be careful with duplicate content posting on different social sites. But: do experiment with posting full content versus preview links on different social networks, especially if the full content contains measurable calls to action back to your platforms (such as online course or event sign ups).

Bonus content:

These pieces were picked from my curated channel, enterprise media disruptions. You can also view the entire digital media disruptions series. Almost all the pieces in this edition came to my attention via master curator Den Howlett.

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