The next big thing

Technology promises to provide opportunities this year on two major fronts. LACHLAN BENNETT spoke to representatives of a number of industry sectors for a clearer picture.

The next big thing

When innovation in publishing is discussed, two main topics crop up: new devices and data.

While programmatic advertising has become the vehicle carrying bottom line benefits for publishers, it is data that is in the driver’s seat. Data enables efficient targeting with programmatic inventory that can bring real benefits for newspaper media clients, particularly when delivered on a large scale.

Data-enabled targeting is the primary focus of the premium digital ad exchanges set up by publishers in Australia and New Zealand last year.

Mark Challinor, International News Media Association president, says advertisers will need to prioritise data more than ever by developing their own first-party data – if they have not already done so.

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“With an ever increasing number of programmatic advertising platforms, there will be more opportunity to gather data, better targeting across platforms plus much creative experimentation with native and newer rich media ad units,” he said

“All this gives unprecedented use to behavioural data/ analysis.”

Mr Challinor also raises the point of transparency. “Advertisers – and publishers – are looking for better transparency in programmatic advertising.

“While advertisers want return on investment and to see exactly what they are paying for, publishers want access to data for analysing which types of ads and which brands are getting more bang for their buck with their ad inventory.”

He said advertisers should look to share resources with programmatic partners that share data and offer better targeting and pricing options.

Simon Smith

Simon Smith, managing director of Fairfax Media content marketing studio MADE.

Simon Smith, managing director of Fairfax Media content marketing studio MADE, sees data playing an even bigger role than it already does in the industry.

“Not necessarily the big data story but it’s actually the small data story. It’s the story about personalisation of content,” he says“It’s about how we use and bring together the science of the data plus the creativity of the content.”

Alisa Bowen, News Corp Australia’s chief technology officer, says there’s a “whole new horizon” of internet- connected devices that are becoming increasingly mainstream for consumers, such as intelligent appliances and connected cars.

“I think as an industry we are going to need to speed up our understanding of what those platforms do for consumers and what role they play in their lives and how their content could feed into them,” she says.

Alisa Bowen, News Corp Australia’s chief technology officer.

“We also really need to speed up our capability for interacting with both the manufacturers, the inventors and the innovators that are powering that whole ecosystem now.”

Ms Bowen said publishers increasingly needed to understand and develop for the multitude of content-distribution platforms out there – as well build relationships with the providers from both a content and revenue perspective.

“The latest that we need to be engaged with is the messaging platform.

“There’s an enormous audience there communicating very actively and some really mature commerce applications that we’re starting to see come through those platforms.”

Mark Challinor says wearables and all manner of devices that might be classed as mobile in this Internet-of-Things era will become more prevalent.

“We will start to expect ‘connected everything’, all more of an experience, more creative, more personalised, and all in real time.

“The GSM Association mobile device tracker says that numbers of mobile handsets are expanding seven times faster than the human race itself (there are already more phones than humans: 7.5 billion vs 7.2 billion at end 2014) and expectations are that 36 per cent of revenue for Apple in 2016 will be attributed to the Apple watch.

“I think people will start to find that wearables make mobile easier … everything hands free with no need to reach into your handbag or pocket.”

David Murphy, editor of Mobile Marketing Magazine, says virtual reality, spurred by the increasing affordability of headsets, will provide big opportunities for publishers to bring big stories to life “if they are prepare to make the investment”.

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“There’s also an opportunity to generate the revenue from print with off-the-page sales enabled by augmented reality, turning print into an interactive medium,” he said.

Other opportunities presented by mobile evolve with every passing week, but there is a need to develop or fine tune mobile and wearable/watch strategies to present content on the smaller form.”

MarkHollands

Mark Hollands, chief executive of The Newspaper Works.

Mark Hollands, chief executive of The Newspaper Works, sees premium digital exchanges, such as News Corp Australia’s Multi-Brand Exchange and Fairfax’s mobile exchange, Apex, gaining real traction as advertisers question programmatic strategies that don’t value premium, or quality web and mobile sites.

“Pressure will grow on media agencies, the industry sector that might go through the greatest changes in 2016,” he says. “Everyone will be complaining that they can’t find enough skilled people to run programmatic campaigns and might struggle to meet demand.

“There’ll be angst about ad blocking, but a mixture of publisher and tech provider strategies will mitigate this issue and there’ll be more important things to talk about. Consumer behaviour will change faster than most companies can keep up with – a back-handed way of saying: more disruption…even for the disrupters.”

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