Features

Before Twitter and YouTube could respond, millions of users saw video of journalist James Foley being beheaded. An equally large number of people were privy to naked photos of celebrities on sites such as 4chan and reddit, after a hacker illegally stole the photos from the cloud. These were eventually removed, but not before a surprising controversy rose up around these instances: Should social media sites be in the business of censoring content-and, by extension, users?
By - Posted Nov 24, 2014
Native advertising is having its big moment. When done right, it has tremendous pull with consumers. According to Nielsen, native ads produce as much as an 82% in brand lift. An infographic from MDG Advertising says 70% of individuals reported that they would prefer "to learn about products through content rather than through traditional advertising."
By - Posted Nov 21, 2014
Sentiment analysis is like social media therapy. We attempt to learn how our audience feels about us-what are the complaints, issues, suggestions, and praise? We can also learn what they think of our competition, our industry, and our employees. Perhaps the most valuable data in sentiment analysis is what we don't find. It is alarming if your marketing is trying to highlight price, but there's no mention of it online. That indicates the need for a significant reassessment of your efforts. Sentiment analysis also becomes a powerful benchmark of your marketing programs as you can track the change in overall sentiment over time.
By - Posted Nov 19, 2014
Whether you make widgets or wine, sell consulting services or software, deep down inside of you, there's an author waiting to come out. Regardless of your writing skills or lack thereof, you and the business you represent have a story to tell-not a fairy­tale, thriller, romance, or science fiction adventure, but a nonfiction narrative that shares your unique knowledge and expertise with others who are hungry for it.
By - Posted Nov 17, 2014
The mobile payments industry has been plagued by false starts and unsubstantiated predictions. Back in 2008, Juniper Research projected the combined market for all types of mobile payments would reach more than $600 billion globally by 2013. However, by June 2013, Gartner, Inc. predicted the market to be around $235 billion, which was nowhere near the projection from 5 years earlier. Why haven't mobile payments seen the adoption rates predicted in years past?
By - Posted Nov 10, 2014
Social media content can influence purchase decisions, but its role often goes uncredited since posts and tweets aren't usually the last click before a sale. "That's like only recognizing the pro basketball player who makes a shot, and completely disregarding the guy who's part of the assist," says Jason Cormier, co-founder of the digital marketing agency Room 214. New tools and strategies are changing the game, however, by enabling strong social content to more directly impact commerce.
By - Posted Nov 05, 2014
Can a relatively mature technology help content publishers and marketers make website visitors more sticky and allow them to retain digital subscribers while also raising prices? The answer is yes.The science behind what is making the aforementioned possible--predictive analytics--has been around for quite awhile. In its former life, it was known as data mining. Add in Big Data and the rapidly maturing technology looks as if it's ready for its close-up.
By - Posted Nov 03, 2014
Consider that the average Facebook video is approximately 44 seconds long, according to Socialbakers. Yet, even that relatively brief visual message may be longer than ideal. Recently published data by Socialbakers indicates that Facebook videos shorter than approximately 21 seconds performed in the top 25% for completion rates. Additionally, 20% of viewers click away from a video after only 10 seconds or less; 33% of viewers click away in 30 seconds and 45% by one minute. Considering that video converts consumers better than other forms of digital content (71% of respondents to a fresh Vidyard poll revealed that video converts better than text and images), digital publishers, content providers, and marketers alike need to give careful thought to the runtime of their marketing videos, experts insist.
By - Posted Oct 29, 2014
Video may have killed the radio star, as The Buggles famously sang, but, as a recent survey indicates, it may help create the next marketing one. Or so many B2B marketers seem to hope. In June, Demand Metric, in partnership with Ascend2, released "B2B Video Marketing: B2B Benchmarks & Best Practices." The survey-which was sponsored by the video marketing platform Vidyard-garnered 398 responses, representing marketing, sales, and business professionals from around the world.
By - October 2014 Issue, Posted Oct 27, 2014
Social media monitoring really took off about five years ago with many companies hiring chief listening officers to bring the social media discussions into the boardroom. The job description was simple: monitor all forms of social media to see what the buzz was about the company and pass on any complaints, product ideas, or tips to various departments within the organization. However, as we get ready to turn the corner to 2015, some believe a CLO is too passive to be effective.
By - Posted Oct 22, 2014
One of the challenges inherent in presenting large quantities of content is the great disparity in how users like to consume it-not to the mention the expanding list of content types. While you may not be able to please all of your users all of the time, there are some rules and trends that can help you create navigable, engaging, and beautiful apps that help spread your content to the mobile masses.
By - October 2014 Issue, Posted Oct 20, 2014
A surprising 54% of businesses spent less than $1 million on digital marketing in 2013, per the results of a recent study by SEMPO and Econsultancy; additionally, the study revealed that almost half of digital marketing budgets were spent on search-with 31% on paid search and 18% on SEO. Other top areas where digital marketing dollars were allocated included email (18%), digital display (13%t), and social media (11%). Many industry professionals, like Michael Baliber, senior vice president and director of media strategy for ID Media, are surprised by the SEMPO survey results.
By - Posted Oct 15, 2014
Big brands have used mobile technologies in an effort to increase awareness, drive sales, and encourage customer retention for quite some time, but recent data shows that mobile adoption has seen a significant increase among small and medium businesses (SMBs) during the past year. In July 2014, Constant Contact released a new infographic based on a comparison of its 2013 "Mobile Pulse Survey" and its 2014 "Mobile Pulse Survey," which surveyed around 570 U.S.-based small business owners and nonprofits that the company refers to as its Small Biz Counsel. The infographic revealed that SMBs are finally hopping aboard the mobile bandwagon with an 11% jump in small businesses adopting mobile technology from 2013 to 2014.
By - October 2014 Issue, Posted Oct 13, 2014
For much of history, the primary obstacle preventing people from connecting with one another was distance. But in the mobile, social, always-on world in which we live today, distance is no longer the major challenge. Instead, our biggest challenge is the lack of a common language. It's the inability to understand one another that prevents us from making meaningful connections. Isn't there an app for that? Yes, there is. Machine translation (MT) hails from the discipline of computational linguistics and aims to help humans who speak different languages communicate with one another. And while MT is not actually an "app," many app makers are attempting to harness the power of automated translation by building MT into their products and services. But there are challenges.
By , - October 2014 Issue, Posted Oct 08, 2014
Any organization with an interest in disseminating its content to a global audience needs to familiarize itself with the basics of machine translation. At a time when the globalization of commerce is yesterday's news, the number of companies with the capacity for international ecommerce has grown considerably. Machine translation is not necessarily reserved for the titans of industry, as many translation service providers are beginning to offer more scalable services to assist even small companies with translation projects.
By - October 2014 Issue, Posted Oct 06, 2014
Analytics is big business-and predicted to become even bigger. In International Data Corporation's (IDC) forecast on the growth of the business analytics market, "Worldwide Business Analytics Services 2014-2018 Forecast," a growth of $51.6 billion to $89.6 billion is predicted over the period. For those companies without inside staff expertise, there also is a predicted increase in the use of outside resources of 12.8%. There are a wide range of analytics readily available to even the smallest organization, many at no- or low-cost. But taking it all in can be like trying to drink from a fire hose. What's meaningful and what's not? Which tools provide the best insights into what's working?
By - Posted Oct 03, 2014
You have probably been hearing a lot about mobile payments, lately-thanks to Apple's foray into the market. As much as you may hear about mobile payments, I'd be willing to bet you've never used it-or seen anyone else flick their phone at the register. Apple hopes to change that, but there are still barriers to adoption.
By - Posted Sep 29, 2014
What will the internet look like in 10 or 20 years? While this is an unanswerable question, it doesn't stop the speculation. Policies pursued (or not pursued) by governments, especially in the U.S., will go a long way toward shaping tomorrow's internet. Recently, several scholars were asked to contribute essays for a special issue of the journal Critical Studies in Media Communication. In the issue, The Future of Internet Policy, the authors are very critical of the U.S. government's handling of the internet and present varying policy solutions for making tomorrow's internet more equitable.
By - September 2014 Issue, Posted Sep 29, 2014
The explosion of smartphones, tablets and touchscreens has certainly benefitted consumers, who now have greater and more convenient access to content than ever before. But the way that content is organized and displayed on digital devices has changed radically in recent years, as evidenced by the increasing popularity of the infinite scroll-a tactic used by publishers whereby articles, posts, and other pieces of content are vertically stacked atop one another, either in full text form or in truncated form with hyperlinked headlines, on a page that seems to run on virtually forever.
By - Posted Sep 26, 2014
First fax machines, then email, then smartphones and now "wearables"--a new technological breakthrough that, depending on who you talk to, offers both peril and potential. Some perils: wearables allow employees the ability to easily, quickly and covertly record images and data, which may include confidential information, trade secrets or other potentially damaging information. Wearables also, technically, allow the ability to monitor others' location and physical status, which raises privacy concerns. Add these concerns to issues related to the National Labor Relations Act, and employers are understandably reeling from the potential risk.
By - Posted Sep 24, 2014
By now, it's become commonplace for most of us. We conduct an online search, view a product on a webpage, and the next thing we know, ads are popping up for the same and similar products every time we go online, whether we're on our desktop, laptop, tablet, or mobile device. The world of contextualized ads-or ads that are delivered to individuals based on some context-is exploding. Technology is driving the explosion and making possible some seemingly impossible things.
By - September 2014 Issue, Posted Sep 22, 2014
On Thursday, September 18 the Online Publishers Association held its first event that was open to the public -- and then CEO Jason Kint announced that the organization was changing its name to Digital Content Next to reflect the changing industry. He did this at the end of a long, informative day at Content All Stars, where everyone from keynote Jason Silva to Werner Brell, managing director of Red Bull Media House to Soledad O'Brien shared their content secrets with the audience. Here are a few takeaways and themes from the day's programming that all content creators can learn from.
By - Posted Sep 19, 2014
From online magazines to electronic catalogs, brochures and photo galleries, digital flipbooks provide an interactive, dynamic, and visually attractive format for text, graphics, audio, links and other elements to coalesce into a more engaging and entertaining experience for users. And unlike a PDF, which doesn't always display well on every type of device, a smartly designed flipbook is ideal for multiplatform distribution.
By - Posted Sep 15, 2014
Content creators--especially content marketers--are often complaining about the effectiveness of their content. An IMN study showed that "46% of respondents feel that their content is OK, but leaves room for improvement to position their company as an industry thought leader." But research from InboundWriter looked deeper into what makes content successful or not--and then put that into action.
By - Posted Sep 10, 2014
The SaaS-based ECM market growth will outpace the premise-based ECM software market into 2018, according to a report from TechNavio. The drivers for the market trend are based on the economics of SaaS offerings and the inherent advantage SaaS has over premise-based software in reducing total cost of ownership.
By - September 2014 Issue, Posted Sep 08, 2014
Location-based marketing is nothing new, and it is not solely a digital responsibility, as mobile application developers and marketing agencies may have told you. Since lithography was invented in 1796, large and small businesses have placed posters and billboards along high-traffic roads and pathways in hopes of influencing a passerby to visit a store or buy a product. Direct mail has been proven as a superior location-based tool since the United States Postal Service (USPS) initiated the Zone Improvement Plan (ZIP codes) in 1963.
By - September 2014 Issue, Posted Sep 03, 2014
When a radio station wants to broadcast a program that reaches as many ears as possible-even remote listeners in the hinterlands-it amps up the signal. But when content marketers with branded content to promote seek to swell their audience, it's not as simple as cranking up a dial. Wider distribution of content that's created to grow affinity and brand consideration-and not necessarily to hawk a product or service-requires careful research, planning, and execution to overcome the significant challenges today. Smart publishers, content providers, and marketers need to recognize these challenges and develop effective strategies to connect with the crowds in a landscape that's already overcrowded with competitors.
By - September 2014 Issue, Posted Sep 01, 2014
Thanks to ever-improving technology, ebooks can be produced relatively quickly and economically compared to their traditional print cousins. But with the temptation to capitalize on speed and low cost, it's easy for publishers to cut corners on quality, especially when it comes to things that affect look, layout, and readability-such as proper conversion of text, images, and other elements from a print book to an ebook. And because churning out sloppy electronic copy can potentially turn off customers, content providers are worried.
By - Posted Aug 27, 2014
Although there is some debate about just how many freelancers there are in the U.S., everyone agrees that the number is rising. Writers, graphic designers, photographers, videographers, and other professionals are choosing to work for themselves even as the demand for creative content increases. Meanwhile, brands, non-profits, and small businesses need content for online platforms and other communication channels. The "freelance economy" is creating a new problem: How do organizations that need content find the professionals to create it?
By - Posted Aug 20, 2014
Many marketing professionals operate under the assumption that their business-to-business (B2B) content marketing practices are up to snuff. But a closer look reveals that these pros often suffer from tunnel vision in that their practices are too narrowly focused on early-stage buyer acquisition and fail to create content that engages buyers over the long term.
By - Posted Aug 13, 2014
Despite the fact that the Author Earnings Reports, published by writer Hugh Howey and his anonymous partner Data Guy, has added fodder to the traditional vs. self-publishing debate, for many independent writers the reports are not at all surprising. The stated primary purpose of the site is "to gather and share information so that writers can make informed decisions." Independent writers, however, are finding that the reports mostly confirm what they already knew, and their decision-making processes have changed very little, if at all.
By - Posted Aug 06, 2014
A recent survey by HubShout, an online marketing firm based in Virginia, suggests that content marketers have some great opportunities to leverage links to boost awareness and drive traffic to their sites. In fact, 33.6% of those responding indicated that the type of native advertising most likely to generate response is links incorporated at the end of articles. These links outrank any other type of native advertising.
By - Posted Jul 30, 2014
Since the 1950s, advertorials and product placements emerged, and, as the internet and online commerce took hold, Amazon blazed trails by serving up book recommendations to users based on their previous purchases and online behaviors. Today, these sorts of activities-designed to deliver advertising content, online or via mobile devices, to consumers who have demonstrated their potential interest in the product or service-are known as native advertising. The practice lives on a continuum between "annoying" and "useful," depending on the perspective of the consumer. The goal for marketers is to land somewhere closer to the useful end of the spectrum.
By - July/Aug 2014 Issue, Posted Jul 28, 2014
Brainstorming about the future of digital consumption can leave you overwhelmed by the possibilities, but data released from YouGov--a global research and consulting organization--sheds some light on the emerging expectations of today's youth. The study found that nearly one in two children, aged 8-15, feel that access to online content and downloads should be free.
By - Posted Jul 23, 2014
According to the "Online Personal Experience" study by Janrain, more than half (57%) of people are just fine with providing personal information to a website and as long as they benefit and the information is used responsibly. Janrain also found that 77% would be more trusting of companies collecting private data if the businesses were transparent about how the information would be used. But that's where the trouble lies. Many content providers are still struggling to use the information they collect in a way that truly improves the customer experience.
By - September 2014 Issue, Posted Jul 21, 2014
Few companies have the potential to dramatically alter the electronic content landscape like Google, which continues to regularly roll out new apps, tools and technologies that make digital publishers sit up and take notice. It's a big reason why Google's annual I/O conference is so closely watched by players in the industry. I/O 2014, held in late June, didn't fail to excite those eager to read the tech tea leaves and develop forward-thinking strategies for success. Here are five of the top takeaways from the conference of importance to content providers.
By - Posted Jul 16, 2014
Most of us are familiar with using social media to post status updates about our vacation, photos of our family, funny videos we find on YouTube, or tweeting about our favorite sports team. However, when it comes to using social media for business purposes, it is important to understand that the rules are different. Anything you post can be considered a form of consumer advertising; as such, you need to be careful not to post misleading or false information. This is especially true if you work in a regulated industry such as financial services, banking, healthcare, law, or pharmaceutical.
By - September 2014 Issue, Posted Jul 09, 2014
There's really no escaping it. No matter how innovative your use of the latest tools and technologies in digital marketing may be, no matter how closely you follow industry trends and implement solutions that reflect the cutting edge in digital marketing practices, it will always come down to the bottom line-at least, as far as your C-level executives are concerned. Being able to demonstrate the dollar-for-dollar benefit that your marketing efforts provide to your organization is the elusive brass ring that marketers are perpetually striving to grasp.
By - July/Aug 2014 Issue, Posted Jul 07, 2014
Have you ever watched teenagers play "Call of Duty" for hours on end and wondered what kind of magic keeps these users so deeply engaged? More importantly, have you ever wondered how you might be able to use this magic to engage your customers? It's not magic. It's gamification. Companies have been employing this technique for years--decades, even--but over the past few years, digital marketers have started to realize that gamification can take their campaigns to new levels.
By - June 2014 Issue, Posted Jun 30, 2014
Social media management and compliance tools are promising approaches that allow companies to stay within the law but still communicate with customers. Experts say tools alone are not enough to prevent a social media faux pas-a solid social media management strategy is paramount. The evidence suggests that businesses are in the early stages of social media risk management. Social media for business may not be the Wild West any longer, but it takes prudence to stay on the right side of the law.
By - Posted Jun 30, 2014
Business intelligence focuses on internal data. It's the information that companies have stored in data warehouses including financial, pricing and customer information. Market intelligence (also known as competitive intelligence), is more about looking externally at market conditions, trends, opportunities and threats; as well as at the competition, market shares, penetration strategies and go-to market models. While both are needed in order to run a business, traditionally, organizations have looked at BI and MI separately. However, given the big data movement happening today, it's becoming more important to combine both sets of data in order to get the complete picture of what's happening both internally and externally with an organization.
By - Posted Jun 25, 2014
One of the more recent movements in the technology sector--which has emerged as a bona fide standard practice in numerous industries--is cloud-based computing. Without even thinking about it, in fact, many of the most routine activities that businesses have come to rely on-think Gmail or Salesforce.com-are built on cloud-based principles, where information, storage, and processing are housed and managed in off-site data centers as opposed to a company's own local servers or hard drives. For publishers contemplating moving aspects of their business practice to the cloud, there is plenty of experience and expertise to rely on during the course of the decision-making process; indeed, they may already be deeper into the cloud than they realize.
By - June 2014 Issue, Posted Jun 23, 2014
The government is sitting up and taking notice of what it calls a growing threat to online safety and security: malware attacks. And if the industry isn't more careful, it may be forced to abide by stricter rules and oversight governing online advertisements that could come down the pike.
By - Posted Jun 20, 2014
Being an omnivore can have its advantages-as evidenced by the evolutionary dominance humans have enjoyed over other animals that only eat meat or plants. Likewise, being an omnichannel marketer may give you a leg up on your competition in the survival-of-the-fittest game of appealing to contemporary consumers, say the experts.
By - Posted Jun 18, 2014
Just in time for the World Cup, Sporting News Media released its fourth annual survey on U.S. sports media consumption, and reveals the demand for utilizing a second (and even third) screen to enjoy sports has heightened and more people are actually turning to the web to watch live sporting events than ever before.
By - Posted Jun 13, 2014
Twitter has been around since March 16, 2006 and, Ashton Kutcher and Ellen Degeneres aren't the only ones to have leveraged this tool to gain massive exposure. In the digital content world there are a number of authorities that were early adopters and have built significant networks on Twitter - and other platforms. Earlier this year, Twitter unveiled a tool that would allow audiences to find the first tweets of, well, anyone. But a lot has been learned since those first tweets, and we decided to ask some industry influencers what they've learned.
By - Posted Jun 11, 2014
Imagine you are walking out of a store where you just bought some jeans. As your feet hit the pavement, you get a text. The text reads, "Spend just $10 more and you will qualify for a $100 gift certificate!" Is this great? Is this creepy? Is this effective? No matter your stance, this is the very, very new reality of real-time marketing.
By - June 2014 Issue, Posted Jun 09, 2014
If you are involved with any type of enterprise software, you've probably considered some sort of cloud-based deployment model. Publishing is no different, and in Real Story Group's numerous advisory engagements with customers, discussions about the cloud are becoming increasingly common.
By - June 2014 Issue, Posted Jun 04, 2014
Digital has taken the world by storm, upending the world of traditional advertising and requiring 21st-century marketers to become savvy about a broad range of digital advertising options that can include anything from SEO to social media to mobile. There's much to understand, much to keep track of, and much to stay on top of. That's the bad news. The good news is that digital advertising, unlike traditional advertising, is far more trackable, allowing marketers to determine what is working for them and driving the results they desire and what may not be as effective.
By - June 2014 Issue, Posted Jun 02, 2014
How many tools does the average marketer use in a typical workweek? According to a recent report, 53% of mid-sized companies use five or more marketing technology solutions, while 15% use 10 or more.If that sounds like an exaggeration to you, take a minute to think about it. If you enlist the help of a social media marketing platform, a content management suite, analytics to track web traffic, a CRM system, and email marketing solution the tools adds up. However, it doesn't always end there.
By - Posted May 30, 2014
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