Digital media disruptions XI - Digital ads debated while Facebook eats... the world?

Profile picture for user jreed By Jon Reed March 22, 2016
In this edition: are digital ads effective, and will Facebook swallow all media? Plus: Hollywood studios freak out, and - can comments be civil? Analysis and action steps included.

Yes, it's time for another gut-check review of digital media disruptions - the enterprisey review Rules remain simple: pick the impactful stories from my curated digital media Scoop.IT collection, and give them a hard look from the enterprise side, where eyeballs still count - but only if they're the right ones. I'll mix in a few action steps for good measure.

Is the online ad industry in a pickle, or not?
by: several discerning bloggers
key excerpt: "Like all advertising, digital advertising is annoying. No sane person voluntarily signs up for any kind of advertising, but we tolerate it in other media. TV ads and radio ads and newspaper ads may be a bother, but they're a minor bother. Online advertising has gone way beyond that and become a plague. It hounds us, tracks us, interrupts us, slows us down, costs us money and is more than just a nuisance, it's a scourge. The result is that there is a rebellion going on among consumers." - The Ad Contrarian, Why Online Ad Industry Can't Reform Itself

enterprise relevance: Highest for those balancing ad budgets with other forms of marketing. The state of the online ad industry is a high stakes debate. "The Ad Contrarian" and other digital ad haters point to high fraud rates and the threats posed by ad blockers. Our own Stuart Lauchlan posted an unexpected twist, ITV boss – digital’s losing its sex appeal to TV advertising.

Granted ITV, a UK broadcaster, has a big 'ol dog in the fight, but it's clear digital ads are losing their sheen. On the other hand, eMarketer recently predicted a 12 percent rise in digital ad spend in 2017. This is going to take a while to play out.

best course of action:

  • Balance any advertising spend with media investments that create content assets for community growth, lead gen sign-up and social sharing.
  • Abandon digital ad spend for "branding" and so-called "impressions" - content works better for that. Focus any digital ad investments on keyword/interest/demographic targeting based on pay-per-click.
  • Make sure pay-per-click analytics can then tie those clicks into lead scoring and attribution, to avoid "false positives" and paying to clicks of irrelevant audiences.

Facebook is eating the world
by: Emily Bell, Columbia Journalism Review
key excerpt: "Social media hasn’t just swallowed journalism, it has swallowed everything. It has swallowed political campaigns, banking systems, personal histories, the leisure industry, retail, even government and security. The phone in our pocket is our portal to the world. I think in many ways this heralds enormously exciting opportunities for education, information, and connection, but it brings with it a host of contingent existential risks."

enterprise relevance: Highest for pure media companies, moderate/medium for others. Facebook is a big existential threat for many publishers, or if not a threat, an entity that must receive its vig, kind of like the hulky mob guys that used to collect a payment from the corner store. Now pure publishers are considering publishing their content on Facebook's streams and settling for revenue shares.

The future of journalism is a huge civic issue but for most enterprises, their question is about how much to invest in Facebook and how to avoid getting burned. As the Ad Contrarian recently mocked, even massive fan counts like Coca Cola's 100,000,000 do not guarantee engagement.

best course of action:

  • Facebook is the elephant in the social media room and must be reckoned with.
  • Don't assume your key audience is on Facebook or wants to hear from you on Facebook.
  • Experiment with different forms of engagement on Facebook (content posts, embedded videos, targeted ads). Double down on what works without overcommiting.

Hollywood Is Not OK With You Watching New Movies at Home
by: Julia Greenberg, Wired
key excerpt: "Either way, the current system seems ripe for change. Theater ticket sales are flat. DVD sales are dwindling. Studios are looking for ways to bolster their bottom lines. At the same time, movie lovers have become accustomed to an on-demand world; we want what we want when we want it, especially when it comes to entertainment."

enterprise relevance: Depends on who is disrupting who. This piece details a financial tug of war that pits consumer behaviors against an archaic but still powerful system. Timing that right is the thing. And: constructing a viable business model around the change. We see this impacting cable TV also, with the once all-powerful ESPN now backtracking on its bundling stance.

best course of action:

  • Identify the areas in where shifts in mobile demand/consumption could threaten existing models. Learn from the media mistakes of obsessing with piracy versus bold re-invention.
  • From a content standpoint, unless there is an absolute need to force consumption on one channel (e.g. a premium on-the-ground event), give as many means of (frictionless) consumption as possible.

Want to Save the Comments From Trolls? Do It Yourself
by: Klint Finley, Wired
key excerpt: "Comments sections are an endangered species. It seems like not a month goes by that some media company decides to drop its comments section. And it’s not just old stodgy media companies like Reuters and CNN—startups like Mic and Daily Dot have decided to ditch comments too."

enterprise relevance: Medium, depending on commenting/engagement plans.  The abusive/vulgar comments that plague big media sites are the flip side of the problem many enterprises have: losing all their commenting to social platforms. Either way, it leads to the same reaction: shut down comments and turn the conversation over to Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Sidenote: this piece also covers a startup called Civil Comments which has an interesting twist on reader-managed comment curation.

best course of action:

  • Don't abandon comments in haste. On-site community/engagement is too important a riddle to give up on. Facebook and LinkedIn provide insufficient data on who is commenting on your posts and where.
  • Ruthlessly push to make commenting as easy as possible. We've had our difficulties with this at diginomica; commenting has been a bugaboo of ours as well. We've now revamped that commenting system, see Den Howlett's No Comment post for more backstory on what we did and why.
  • Comments are a content/moderation investment. Comment and malware spammers are trying to storm the gates, so be prepared for some level of human intervention.

Bonus content: A couple more from the diginomica coffers:

These pieces were picked from my curated channel, enterprise media disruptions. You can also view the entire digital media disruptions series.