Category Archives: social media

Hey Gannett, Why Buy More Papers?

networks

As of this writing, it’s quite possible that Gannett has bought Tronc (a.k.a. Tribune Publishing.) As many media watchers know, Gannett has made a series of offers to Tronc this year. Based on a report from Politico Media today, the deal appears to be all but announced.

Whether you’re inside or outside the media business you may be wondering why exactly Gannett is in such a hurry to snap up Tronc, one of the country’s largest metro newspaper publishers. One thing is for sure, it’s not necessarily about publishing more print newspapers.

Newspapers and journalism have been in the midst of a great deal of industry upheaval and change for the past decade. The future of newspaper publishing isn’t about growing print circulation. Rather, the future is about digital (meaning video, really) content distribution to a valued audience of reliable news and content consumers. Metro newspaper publishers are aiming to deepen their relationships, and drive revenue, by providing their loyal news consumers with more content overall and more mobile-friendly content, to be precise.

Tronc owns the Chicago Tribune, the LA Times, the San Diego Union Tribune, the Orlando Sentinel, the South Florida Sun Sentinel and several other large metro papers. In other words Tronc has audiences in several top ten media markets. According to ComScore, Tronc’s online audience exceeds that of the Washington Post and nearly matches Disney. As you might expect, these are among the largest audiences on the web.

Gannett is already the largest newspaper publisher in the county. The purchase of Tronc, with it’s large online audiences, content distribution network and investments in video production,  position Gannett to be a major player in the future of content, information and entertainment. A future that is, more or less, already here.

Post by Jim Jinks

Advertising is Dead

cemetery

I’m sure on a Monday morning, at the beginning of a long week of anticipated sales and prospecting, the last thing anyone would want to read is that their industry is ”dead.” I’ll admit ”Advertising is Dead” is a strange title for a post, especially given that Mediabids is in the advertising business and our last blog post title happened to be  ”6 great ads that prove print isn’t dead.” Obviously advertising isn’t dead but the way many people still think of advertising -meaning the way many of your clients still think of advertising- is very much dead. This is particularly true at the local SMB level where advertising for the purposes of reach (i.e. to get the word out or simply build awareness) is very much dead.

As we all know, digital has been disrupting the advertising business for many years now. To date, the greatest disruption has been to the newspaper and magazine business but lately the bigger story is the disruption in local TV and radio. SMBs have increasingly relied on digital advertising channels – first it was local search ads and now it’s search plus social media advertising. Why?

It’s not that fewer people can be reached by local TV and radio, quite the opposite.

It’s not that local TV and radio have lost all their considerable powers to influence an audience.

It’s not necessarily about the cost of creating TV and radio spots (although for some SMBs this may be an excuse they frequently give to media sales people.)

It’s also not even about the cost of buying local TV or radio time (although it’s not inexpensive.) If advertisers could better measure the impact of local TV and radio, the sticker price would be less of an issue. In other words, what advertisers don’t want to pay for is the unknowns.

Earlier this year, eMarketer announced that digital display ad spending would exceed search spending for the first time. In 2016, digital display ad spending is projected to increase 23% while search spending would grow another 10% this year. The reasons for the growth in digital display are several: the improvement in the user-experience online (or UX as the fancy people call it); the explosion in smart phone adoption; and perhaps most importantly, the ability to better qualify (and CONVERT) traffic and customers through the use of video, rich media and native advertising online.

As I said, advertising in terms of reach is dead. But advertising in terms of conversion, as the eMarketer article suggests, is booming. It’s all about conversion now, especially at the SMB level. Automakers, soft drinks and snack makers, national quick-serve chains and some retailers still need big reach to drive people into store locations. However, many SMBs are much more interested in the conversion of digital traffic to paying customers. This means a mix of media that allow SMBs to qualify callers and site visitors -such as digital display, search, email, social media and PRINT.

Yes, I subtly added print advertising to the list.

It’s true. Print advertising still has a big role to play in our increasingly digital first world, especially for the SMB market.

At Mediabids, our advertisers have conversion rates that are well into double digits (the average is about 40%.) So advertising, as we have long known it, is dead. But what advertisers want from their investment in advertising hasn’t changed much at all – they want to pay for customers at a cost-effective rate. This means that digital and print advertising is most relevant and still kicking.

Post by Jim Jinks

 

The Sales & Marketing Lessons of Clinton-Trump 2016

trump

By all accounts, this has been the strangest Presidential election season ever; the competent but distrusted former First Lady (not to mention U.S. Senator and Secretary of State) versus the blunt, narcissistic, racist and misogynist TV personality/real estate developer with outlandish ideas and a serious lack of policy knowledge. Oh, by the way, they happen to be the two most unpopular candidates ever to run for President – by a wide margin! What are the odds?

Given that there’s a lot of marketing that goes into politics and campaigning, it has always been a little odd to me that political campaigning is somewhat walled off from the rest of the advertising/marketing industry. Aside from the relatively famous Tuesday Team – including Hal Riney, Phil Dusenberry, Jerry Della Famina and others- I can’t say I recall big name ad agency people crossing over to work on Presidential elections. The Tuesday Team, by the way, is heralded primarily for doing Reagan’s ”It’s Morning in America,” one of the most famous Presidential campaign spots ever -see it here.

Fast forwarding a bit to 2016, here are recent spots from Team Hillary and Team Trump:

Hillary -Who We Are

The message is basically together we’ll go far. If we are divided we are less successful and less safe. The images are mostly of the faces of voters that form Hillary’s coalition – minorities and women.

Trump-America Soaring

The message from Trump is that he will bring back manufacturing jobs. The return of these jobs – particularly in the steel industry- will ”make America great again.” Like Hillary, the imagery is of the base -white, working class men.

The irony is that both of these spots are speaking to the fears and aspirations of the working and middle-class. In other words, this election is basically between two similar but sort of different brands -Coke versus Pepsi or Home Depot versus Lowes or Costco versus Sams Club. As many as 20% of voters are still undecided in this election. This high percentage, after over a year of campaigning, speaks to how, through the lens of the voter, these two candidates are not all that different. In short, the working and middle-class are not entirely convinced which horse may ultimately pull them across the finish line. Trump is a master showman and promoter. His skills may well win him the Presidency.

Given Trump’s lack of experience in politics and lack of policy knowledge, and that his target audience is not all that different (at least in terms of class) from Hillary’s, Trump’s success points to a few solid sales and marketing lessons to be learned:

  1. Customers value competence and they want to know your product or service is trustworthy but they don’t want to be preached to or patronized. Believe it or not, competence has been getting equated with ”more of the same” and ”part of the system” in this election. Know your stuff but respect your buyers intelligence. In Hillary’s case, many often feel like she’s condescending (although this probably says more about the voter than Hillary.)
  2. Unfortunately, style does often beat substance. If you don’t have confidence and a belief in yourself, your customer will not have confidence and belief in what your selling. Trump often makes statements that are complete nonsense but he says them confidently and doesn’t back down. I’m not suggesting one be dishonest but confidence is important.
  3. Somehow, at all costs, try to make a connection. People want to do business with people they like. Trump is a billionaire who got his start with a million dollar loan from his father. He’s hardly a self-made man and he literally lives the ”Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.” Yet, working-class guys that have led very hard lives feel like Trump speaks their language. Trump has described himself as the working-class billionaire. He’s made the connection and they’re buying.

 

What do you think about these lessons? If you have others, please share.

Post by Jim Jinks

Top Podcasts for a Better You

Head Phones

I have been one of those people, at times, that has been indifferent to the emergence of the digital age. I mean, I still read actual books…sometimes I even buy hardcover versions! I know. I know. What a Luddite, right?

But let’s be honest, unless you’re a big gamer, the internet has been -until the past few years- awash in advertising and A LOT of one-dimensional content that can be take it or leave it (there are many exceptions, of course.) In fact, among the most heavily visited sites on the old WWW have been newspaper sites -which is great, don’t get me wrong. But newspaper sites are hardly what all the fuss and promise of the internet has been about, until recently. As many of you likely already know, the latest generation of the internet (are we at 3.0 yet?) is about text, messaging and social media apps and accessing video and audio content. It’s the audio content (a.k.a. podcasts) that we’ll talk a bit more about here today.

Starting in 2015, especially with the popularity of Serial (from the makers of This American Life on NPR), podcasts have really begun to emerge. National Public Radio, the New York Times, Slate, ESPN and several other media outlets have really started to focus on podcast content, not to mention a myriad of other smaller players. After all, the production of podcasts doesn’t necessarily require much of an investment beyond a microphone, a server for storing the files and the time involved. As a media salesperson or an agency staffer, why should you care about podcasts?

Podcast audiences, generally speaking, are still relatively small so selling ad space in them or looking at them as a cornerstone of a media plan is a ways off..in terms of really being a part of the marketing conversation. But as a media seller or an agency staffer, the real value of podcasts to us is more basic – inspiration and education.

At the risk of sounding a little new age, listening to podcasts (like reading books or watching films) can help you be a better you. The exploration of ideas and hearing different perspectives on things that are happening in our world, will only help you -as a media seller- to make connections with others and -as an agency staffer- to be able to think of old problems in new ways. If you haven’t started to take some time for podcasts, the time is now. At the very least, if you’re still something of a Luddite like me, starting now you can still claim to be an early-adopter (even if it’s just barely the case.)

If you’re unsure of where to get started with podcasts, here are five from the worlds of journalism, business, culture, politics and entertainment to consider:

RadioLab

TED Radio Hour

The MOTH

SLATE Political Gabfest

WTF with Marc Maron

 

Post by Jim Jinks

 

Millennials & Boomers

Berlin Wall

I’m of the Gen-X generation. If you don’t really know what that means, don’t worry about it. Despite the fact that MTV, Ferris Bueller and the fall of the Berlin Wall happened on our watch, marketers are almost entirely consumed by the habits of the pre- and post Gen-X generations. You may know them by their more traditional labels – Baby Boomers and Millennials. In fact, based on how much time those of us in marketing and media spend thinking and talking about boomers and millennials, the Gen-X generation is a apparently a mere footnote of demography.  Yes, I’m a little annoyed about this, but I digress.

In print media organizations, especially, there’s a great deal of concern about how the media consumption habits of boomers and millennials differ. People with an axe to grind (digital, TV and radio media sellers, for example) are fond of saying that print’s audience is dying off….as if only older Americans read print. This is, of course, not the story.

The media consumption habits of millennials and boomers do differ, in some ways. But in terms of ”old” media, the differences are not all that significant. In other words, there’s no Berlin Wall separating the two largest generations of the past hundred years (just us Gen-Xers.)

Based on a recent study by Jacobs Media Strategies, these are the percentages of use (at least once per week) for each demographic:

Boomers – Radio (89%), Newspapers (86%) and TV (81%)

Millennials – Radio (80%), Newspapers (71%) and TV (72%)

Also, the Jacobs study reports that tablet, text and Smartphone usage are not all that different between these two groups.

Of course, the spread (15%) between boomers and millennials, for newspaper usage, is widest but it’s not that much different than radio and TV. My point is that the media habits of younger Americans and older Americans, on a macro level, are not that different and it’s untrue that newspaper readers are simply dying off.

But if you’re determined to claim that millennials are so different than the generations that have come before them, I will offer that in terms of podcasts, streaming video, streaming audio and social networks, millennials do use these media by a wide margin over boomers. However, it’s probably just a matter of time before boomers adopt more millennial-like media habits, with regard to these newer technologies. The rapid adoption of Smartphones and tablets among boomers, shows that sometimes old dogs can learn new tricks.

Post by Jim Jinks

 

 

 

 

Inspiration and Authenticity are Key Factors in Social Sharing

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Have you been watching the Olympics?  Following along with the games can be a great distraction from less inspiring and hopeful news stories this summer.

Despite declined ratings, NBC has sold over $1.2B in ad time.  And though we’re now seeing viewers experiencing the Olympics in ever-changing ways (live streaming, in-app viewing, online recaps, etc.), advertisers are still adjusting to this new media landscape.

Yesterday, AdWeek examined the popularity of Under Armour’s Michael Phelps ad and what makes it one of the most shared Olympics spots ever.  (See original article here)

One key takeaways is that “inspiration” is a critical emotional response that encourages social sharing among millennial men (ages 18-34).  Most sharing, unsurprisingly, comes from Facebook and Twitter.

Authenticity is another key brand attribute that elicits shares: “Especially with younger viewers, over three-quarters will lose trust in a brand if an ad feels fake. Under Armour’s recent campaigns are all consistently authentic. They’re doing a really nice job of drawing this out and creating new content that all work really well together in their content stack, in this authentic way of portraying athletes and their origin stories, showing the things that you don’t always see” says  Devra Prywes, VP, marketing and insight at Unruly.

Here, The Drum looks at more campaigns from brands like Nike, P&G, Minute Maid, and Nissan.  And you can find all the Olympics coverage from AdAge here.

GO USA!

Top Marketers to Follow @Twitter

I started using Twitter, somewhat, back in 2011. It wasn’t until 2014 that I began to be more of a daily user and started to publish tweets on a regular basis. Twitter launched in 2006 so I was a relatively late adopter -perhaps I should have little to say- but it’s 2016 and especially if you’re a salesperson for a digital and/or print publisher, you really need to be using Twitter by now.

Twitter

It really is an invaluable tool for keeping up with the news of the day, especially in both the publishing and marketing industries. For one thing, your publication’s editorial department is using Twitter. Second, many of your clients are likely using Twitter and the advertising agency buyers you call on are for sure using Twitter. Why aren’t you?

In a less than scientific survey of media reps, these are the three most frequent reasons for not using Twitter:

  1. Why would I use it if I don’t know who to follow?
  2. I don’t think anyone would care what I tweet so why bother?
  3. I already get plenty of industry email newsletters…I don’t have time for Twitter!

Let’s start with #3.

Are you reading those industry email newsletters? If you’re following the knowledgeable people that actually aim to offer their audience valuable insights and support, then it’s relatively easy to glance at Twitter -here and there throughout the day- without it taking too much time or being disruptive to your workflow.

Regarding the second objection to Twitter (”I don’t think anyone would care what I tweet.”), you may be surprised at your own value to others in your industry so don’t hesitate to tweet out if you have an original thought or something to say. But also, no one is forcing you to tweet. You can use Twitter, and it is still valuable to you, even if you never ever respond or share anything on Twitter.

Now #1 is indeed a valid objection and I can relate. Twitter is a little intimidating at first, because after all, we don’t know what we don’t know. But for those of you ready to try something new and you’d appreciate a little help in taking the leap, here’s a few leading voices in marketing to consider following, be inspired by and perhaps learn from on Twitter:

@jeffbullas

@kimgarst

@jaybaer

@dharmesh

@JoePulizzi

Of course, there are at least forty other thought leaders one could follow. But once you get started you’ll learn quickly how to curate your own list.

Be well and good luck!

Post by Jim Jinks (@JimJinksCT and @Mediabids)

 

 

Have News Publishers Become Dangerously Dependent on Facebook?

Social media 2 thumbs up likes

In an interesting post on The Monday Note the author Frederic Filloux outlined the tough spot news publishers have found themselves in when it comes to distributing their content on Facebook.

On the one hand, content producers need all the article distribution and eyeballs they can get, and Facebook provides them, en masse. According to Filloux, “Today, Facebook drives about 40% of all referrals and Google drives about 35%.” That’s an insane amount of referral traffic, and much the reason why newspapers and magazines started using Facebook’s “Instant Articles” platform to publish content directly to users. That, and the fact that Instant Articles purported to provide the reader with a better, faster article loading experience to aid in ease of reading. Ideally, this would provide a huge amount of traffic to the articles, and eventually provide ad revenue either via the publisher’s site direct or through Facebook Ads itself.

Alas, it seems things may not be working out as planned on the publisher side, as Facebook recently changed their News Feed algorithm to display news from friends and family first, while lowering the priority of Instant Articles. Essentially, publishers can post articles all day long, but Facebook ultimately controls how many people, and exactly who, the content will be display to.

How publishers will react to this remains to be seen. Have they become so dependent on the Facebook traffic that they will pay the increasingly high ad prices to maintain and grow the audience they’ve been working to engage? Facebook hopes so. Will they pull back on Instant Articles and refocus on different distribution methods? A definite possibility.

If you’ve thought about publishing via Instant Articles, we’d highly recommend you read Filloux’s piece on the tenuous relationship between Facebook & content providers – it is very insightful. Find his full post here: https://mondaynote.com/news-publishers-facebook-problem-6752f1c35037#.bjqhs54ze

Post by Jess Greiner