17 takeaways on mobile publishing from Monetising Media 2015

mobile desktop timeHow do you reach an audience which is consuming more content on mobile than desktop – and at different schedules to the traditional print model? At Monetising Media last week industry leaders shared their concerns and strategies for succeeding on mobile without losing quality and content. Maria Crosas Batista sums up some of the key takeaways:

Product rather than platform: Lee Wilkinson, Hearst Magazines International

Lee Wilkinson bets on product rather than platform:

“If your audience is the core of a product strategy you are more likely to engage and reach them when your content is out there.”

Consequently, gathering data is important to understand consumer behaviours and habits.

However, he also highlights the need for insight, encouraging his team to experiment on several platforms using different personalities:

“Be unafraid to experiment with platforms and know your skills.”

Wilkinson says that we have to understand how the digital machine works: part human, part algorithm. It feeds on the popular (the more people reference you, the higher the rankings) but the choice is in customers’ hands:

“Don’t compromise that experience. They won’t understand when you’re cheating.”

Focus on the funnel: Robin Raven, The Economist

Raven spoke of his aim to drive the funnel towards subscription purchases. The key business model is to focus on the funnel and get your work out there. How? Freemium.

“The content must be possible to sample.”

However, Raven insists that the content is not the product:

“If your publication won’t make a user home screen… don’t build an app!”

Creating an app is complex, but the most engaging products are habit-forming ones that follow the path trigger-action-reward-investment.

3 guiding principles: Simon Davies, Quartz

Quartz’s Simon Davies talked about their three guiding principles:

  1. Don’t compromise quality;
  2. Capitalise on the mobile mindset; and
  3. Believe in your product.

People are changing their habits and 42% of Quartz’s revenue comes from mobile. But Davies doesn’t see many others adapting to that change.

Davies says that the difference between desktop and mobile is a “personal relationship”. Producing a mobile-first product implies investing in both content and advertising.

“You can’t fake a high quality experience and you have to create advertising that is discoverable but not overwhelming”.

Invest in both technology and content: Colin Bodell, Time Inc

Colin Bodell, Time Inc., insisted on investing in both technology and content in order to take advantage of capitalising on the mobile.

“It has to be a relationship between content generators and engineering.”

More than half of Time’s revenue comes from print, and they must manage it while transitioning to digital.

“Paper generally hasn’t changed but you have to innovate very rapidly to try things out.”

Bodell says to clients: “Tell me what you want to achieve, not how to do it”. The main problem in solving problems for an operational view is getting distracted and not focusing on what you should be doing.

Time reduced cost 53% by moving to Amazon Web Services and similar services, and reducing speed time-to-traffic. Their priorities?

  1. Security;
  2. Be there 24/7/365; and
  3. Latency.

From ‘mobile first’ to ‘mobile most’: Stefan Betzold, BILD

Stefan Betzold, BILD, bets on a multi-platform strategy to attract users across all age groups.

From ‘mobile first’ to ‘mobile most’, BILD is continuously launching products for devices with a strong focus on mobile. They have 7.5 million mobile unique users versus 16 million online.

They are willing to grow their mobile revenues with premium content that in the future will be called BILD+ :

“Numbers prove the success of paid content introduction with 292 thousand paying subscribers nowadays.”

Another challenge is cross-device advertising for packages on all platforms, so that they all look the same.

Their main growing threat is ad blocking, but they started a strategic initiative against them: adblock wall. All users with active adblockers won’t be able to read content anymore.

They also were the first German publisher to have a Facebook Instant Article and they are producing a daily news video format for mobiles.

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