By Tom Martin, Founder of Converse Digital
We live in an ADD world. To make matters worse, smart phone proliferation and the glance-and-go behavior it empowers is ensuring that this trend doesn’t stop any time soon. In fact, a recent study of college students that read news on their smart phones found that 56% of students read less than the first three paragraphs and 72% consume 25% or less of a story.
Beyond changing how readers consume publications and information, mobile platforms also present a significant challenge to a traditional advertising-supported publishing model. Smaller screens place a premium on screen space. Combine the limited screen space with an advertising intolerant consumer in a glance-and-go mode of information consumption and you have the perfect storm for disruption of the entire publishing industry.
Or do you?
Like any disruptive technology, mobile presents the publishing industry with an opportunity. In this case, it’s an opportunity to reinvent their relationship with readers. Mobile savvy publishers can move beyond an episodic, transactional relationship to create true communities around their publishing brands. They can move from being top of mind once a week, month or quarter to being top of mind each and every day. By harnessing their knowledge and making that knowledge available on demand via mobile devices, publishers have the opportunity to become the trusted resource for information and recommendations in their niche.
This new relationship era presents new advertising opportunities for publishers. Once a publisher has curated a community of readers that interact with the publisher, the publisher can monetize access to that community.
Here are three examples:
1. Paid Access — publishers can engage their community of readers to discuss a particular advertiser’s product or allow the advertiser to sponsor a standing chat or conversation the publisher already conducts. In return, the advertiser pays the publisher for guaranteed access/impressions.
2. Research — the focus group isn’t dead, it just moved online. And with tools like the mobile friendly Google Hangout, publishers can create virtual “focus groups” where brands can engage or just watch as their customers talk about their product, category or competitors. Best of all, today’s busy consumer can join these Hangouts from the palm of their hand. What’s that worth to an advertiser?
3. Contextual Marketing – your smart phone always knows two things about you – where you are and what you’re looking at right now. That means the mobile-friendly publisher can sell highly targeted ads along three dimensions – demographic, geographic, and time-of-day.
The future of publishing is in flux but one thing is certain: Mobile is here to stay and the smart, profitable publisher will learn to leverage the unique attributes and opportunities mobile provides to create new and lasting revenue streams.