Programme | Mobile Content Monetisation and User Experiences

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Mobile Content Monetisation and User Experiences

Programme | Mobile Content Monetisation and User Experiences



This workshop is designed to prepare journalists to work effectively with leadership and sales/revenue teams to develop and execute strategies leading to commercial success in a world where mobile devices and mobile experiences have displaced not only print, but “legacy” digital as well.

The outcome of the workshop should be a solid understanding of how mobile digital experiences are changing human behavior, how mobile solutions differ from the traditional, and how digital media revenue tools and techniques, including direct reader revenue, apply to the mobile world. Every attendee should develop an action plan to help the attendee’s organization adapt to this changing landscape.

The workshop will encompass 10 sessions over a two-day period.

Needs analysis

Commerce happens when someone has a need, and someone else can meet that need. What are your products? Who are your customers? What customer needs do you serve? What customer needs do you not serve? Media companies are built on assumptions that may no longer hold true.

In this session we will examine those assumptions and raise questions to be confronted over the course of the next two days.

This is a participative workshop. The purpose of this session is to identify and highlight your needs. You should be prepared to share the experiences you and your company are having in  adapting to the changing media landscape. At the end of this session, we will have identified key issues to be added or emphasized in our subsequent conversations.

Disruption and displacement

The conventional business model of journalism is collapsing at varying rates all over the world. The most dangerous competition is not from other media entities, but from lateral entities you may not initially see as competitors. Your new worst enemy may have started out with SMS messaging, mobile photo sharing, or an email list.

Understanding how these lateral competitors become dangerous begins with a look at disruptive innovation. We’ll quickly cover some business-school thinking about how startups take down empires, and how empires can learn to adapt.

Topics will include:

  • The “jobs to be done” concept

  • How disruptive innovation begins with poor/marginal solutions

  • Why iteration and rapid, inexpensive experimentation are essential -- and so difficult for incumbent media companies

  • Organizational structures for success: separation vs. integration

  • Competing against yourself

Content distribution models

It used to be so simple: We gather information, put it together into a product (print or website), and readers do their job: they read. But it’s not like that any more. The always-connected consumer encounters our content in a variety of settings and forms, some of them completely beyond our control. We’ll look at how that works and how some companies are coping with the new realities, and discuss your experiences and learnings.

Topics will include:

  • Mobile apps: What are their strengths and weaknesses? What about development versus outsourcing? The role of app stores?

  • Mobile web standards: How HTML5 local storage, Web push notifications, AMP and other new technologies are negating many of the advantages of apps.

  • Social media - living in other people’s spaces.

  • Email newsletters

  • Other syndication

  • Embedding branding in content

  • Technical considerations, such as Open Graph markup

Mobile design considerations

Four or five years ago, the mobile Internet was practically a toy -- slow, unreliable, and deployed through devices that were barely usable. Following the pattern of disruptive technologies, things have changed -- connections are now fast, smartphones are now powerful, and batteries last long enough to be useful. But mobile usage still demands design and implementation that recognizes the strengths and weaknesses of mobile devices. We’ll discuss how that plays out and where it’s likely to go in coming years. Our discussion will cover:

  • The importance of adhering to conventions

  • Mobile-first, desktop-last thinking

  • The tyranny of the small screen and fat fingers

  • Non-geometry limitations for the mobile designer

  • CSS/design frameworks such as Bootstrap, Foundation, Bulma

  • Testing: Usability, A/B

  • The bad news about email

Creating content optimized for social


Social interaction is the real core of Internet usage. Our content can go along for the ride, or it can be left behind. Knowing how to surf this wave is a matter of having a strategy, refining it to concrete goals, executing a plan to achieve those goals, and measuring the results. We’ll discuss:

  • Setting apprporiate goals: clickthrough vs independent consumption

  • Writing social posts that are designed for performance

  • Buying your way to success: paying to boost your posts

  • Embedded branding in your textual, audio and video content

  • Embedded advertising in your content

  • Video that’s designed for mobile, social consumption and sharing

  • Search optimization

  • Measuring and reporting results

  • Technical tools for social distribution, including Open Graph tags

  • Native advertising opportunities, pitfalls and policies

Audience management and segmentation

People are not interchangeable -- every person is unique. But people can be grouped into segments based on criteria that are useful to us, and useful to our business customers.

In this session, we’ll look at how the old mass-media metrics of reach and frequency are being eclipsed by inferred interest and intent, how advertising networks are collecting personal and behavioral data on individual users of media sites, and how this data is being used in the delivery of commercial messaging without regard to associated content or media site identity.

Topics will include:

  • Audience-centric media management

  • The pitfalls of basic audience metrics

  • ZAG segmentation

  • Identifying key behavioral audience segments and tracking/reporting on them

  • Segments that are useful for management decisions

  • Segments that are useful in the sales process

  • Real-time data

  • The problem of background noise

  • Measures of engagement

  • The multiple-device problem

  • Why our measurement tools don’t meet our needs

  • Barriers created by organization structure

  • Barriers created by technologies and vendors

Participants should emerge from this discussion with a clear idea of which segments should be tracked and reported in the ordinary course of business, how exploring usage data by user segment can lead to discoveries and new ideas, and when to be wary of data.

Reader revenue, traditional and non- traditional

Traditional media companies have adopted digital-media revenue strategies that often simply mirror the old models: advertising and circulation sales. After years of struggle, a few major players are having success with direct reader revenue, but most are not, and in many cases a “digital reader revenue” strategy is really a defensive, print-centric posture.

We’ll take a deep dive into the strengths and weaknesses of:

  • “Hard” paywalls

  • Metered access

  • Single copy, single article

  • Membership models and voluntary payment

  • E-Editions -- the surprising value of digital replicas of print products

  • Podcasts

  • Vlogs and Patreon

  • Niche products, both paid and free

  • Email-delivered services

  • Product bundling and packaging for subscriptions

We’ll also discuss technical challenges, risks and mitigation strategies associated with these approaches.

Advertising revenue, traditional and


From the “first banner ad” in 1994 to the psychographic targeting of Cambridge Analytica, advertising has evolved into forms that are alien to traditional media. In this section we will discuss the severance of advertising delivery from content, the emergence and the side effects of sophisticated, data-driven delivery tools, and strategies for coping with these changes.

Areas of discussion will include:

  • The beginning: content-adjacent buttons, banners, etc.

  • Advertisers become digital destinations

  • The evolution and growing sophistication of targeting

  • The value of overt and imputed data

  • Data “silos”

  • Ad blocking, cookie rejection and data privacy

  • Lead generation

  • Affiliate sales

  • Production studio model and outsourcing

  • Selling decoupled from delivery: networks without a website, SEM/SEO services

  • The brutal realities of network advertising

  • Commoditization and real-time inventory auctioning

  • Native advertising -- an old idea becomes new again

Journalists and other content producers should emerge from this discussion fully prepared to engage with revenue and sales staff to create products and services that are designed for commercial success.

Looking ahead

So far we’ve covered much of the current situation, but what about tomorrow? We’ll take a look at how technology is shaping users and some of the developments on the horizon.

We’ll discuss:

  • Mobile domination of the user experience

  • How social sharing is displacing the journalistic voice

  • Rumors, “fake news,” and actual fake news

  • Governments and corporations strike back

  • Artificial intelligence and machine learning

  • Voice interfaces, smart speakers

  • The Internet of Things

Action plans

Our final session will combine recapitulation with brainstorming. Based on two days of discussion, what are you actually going to do? How will it be different than what you did last week? We’ll discuss:

  • Key learnings

  • Goal setting

  • Measurement and KPIs

  • Course evaluation and followup

Download the brochure

Mobile Content Monetisation and User Experiences