From digital player to digital success

As far as media offers are concerned, ‘digital’ does not automatically imply ‘successful’ – not by a long shot. In the interest of success, it can be helpful to take a look at online marketing.

‘The user’s attention is extremely limited and difficult to attract,’ ‘print media is experiencing a critical loss in significance and digital offers cannot compensate the revenue loss’, ‘content creators need to address their target groups on the appropriate channels’: these comments and others of a similar variety have been heard often enough by you and I and others involved in media digitalisation. And knowing they are true doesn’t make matters any easier.

Perhaps the situation in the media world can be summed up as follows: Digital offers are a question of good form. Publishers and enterprises test out various ideas hoping to monetise these, but there is a lack of long-term sustainable ideas to date. The users themselves – the reader, the listener, the viewer – have long been at home in the digital world; they readily consume the goods of the digital age, but their willingness to pay is limited. The media specialists feel the consequences on a practical level: the target groups are increasingly less interested in one publication with interesting themes, but prefer instead to research a specific theme via numerous, mostly digital, sources. This makes it difficult to sell subscriptions.

Online visibility is a work in progress

Most media specialists have long gone digital with a corresponding expansion of their print issue, e.g. a web portal or a magazine app for smartphone and tablet. A good, very important step. However it is difficult for individual offers to grab the user’s attention at the appropriate moment: a continuously available supply of more-than-abundant content on practically every theme can be daunting competition. With numerous advertisements and attention-grabbing actions, large publishing houses may manage to keep potential customers aware of their product. But for middle- size and small media specialists – including for instance enterprises whose customer magazine serves to maintain and strengthen customer relations, but is not part of their core business – this is barely feasible. With broad-target campaigns the scatter loss is very high – for a trade magazine with a clearly defined target group of limited interest and simply not affordable.

The media specialists are, in principle, faced with the same problem that all companies have been faced with since the Internet made it both possible and lucrative to do targeted searches for products and service providers (including the relevant internet evaluations). Gone are the days of word-of-mouth and long-term customer relationships – nowadays the cheaper competitor is a mere one-click away. What’s more, if a potential customer is looking for a suitable provider, then you need to rank accordingly in the search engine results in order to be relevant. Very few look beyond the first page of search results – time is short and attention is scarce. Companies have to continually work on maintaining or improving their online ranking with the help of SEO, AdWords campaigns, and social media storytelling.

Digital success: media specialists become online marketers

What does this mean for digital media offers? The answer is that it’s exactly what they need. A magazine app does not find readers per se just by virtue of its existence and digital access to the print version contents. On the one hand, content in a digital magazine can be presented in a much more user-friendly mode, with integrated audio files, for example, or short teasers to listen to. It makes the offer more attractive. On the other hand, however, it’s crucial that the offer be found by the targeted customer at the right moment.

Online marketing can achieve this. The recipe includes a customised mix of SEO, website optimisation with a view to the user experience (in other words: just a few clicks to the right offer), online promotion through advertising and AdWords, and target group analysis. The latter, in particular, has a special significance: there are numerous ways in which an online campaign can be streamlined; key point: avoid scatter loss. Is the aim to win over more print subscribers to an additional online offer or should completely new readers be gained? Is the target group more likely to be found on Facebook, or is Twitter their info source? How mobile-savvy are the target group and what are the competing digital offers? All typical questions that many media makers have certainly already asked themselves. If the answers can be translated into a flexible, adaptable online campaign that can reach the users where they are, digital revenue will grow.

An exciting topic, which deserves more detailed consideration. In my next blog post I will describe some key criteria of target-group analysis that have a direct impact on the online campaign.


About Jens Gützkow

Jens Gützkow is co-founder and Managing Director of PressMatrix. Founded in 2011, the company supports publishers in the development and implementation of digital monetization models. Jens Gützkow and the start-ups he co-founded contributed to this development from its infancy onwards; long before the first app stores, he was involved with mobile app development. He launched a video platform with an innovative sales concept and, among other projects, supported the EU research project “P2P Next”.

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